While on my annual version of the Griswald family vacation this week in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea (admittedly no Wally World adventure), I took some good natured teasing from family and friends over the most recent Fourth of July holiday. Evidently, I run with a crowd that doesn’t post Blogs, Tweet, IM or live on Facebook. So, I had to explain the rationale behind Blogs and why I was Blogging. It was one of those explanations that elicited bewildered stares, half hearted interest and a yawn (or two). But trust me, I delivered an impassioned argument.
So I must apologize to my clearly enlightened and tech-savvy reader when I state the obvious: the power and relevance of social media has never been greater. Those of us who ‘live’ in the world of technology cannot escape this reality, and this new reality presents even greater risks and challenges to corporations. Think about it. Today, I don’t just tell a few friends about a bad experience – I tweet, blog, Yelp, and post a note on my facebook page — from my PC, mobile phone or tablet – from my office, home or local Starbuck’s hotspot – all of which can touch thousands of people…in real time. Gone are the days where I only complain to a few close friends about a poor customer service experience. Social media has ushered in a new reality that puts at risk a company’s image, brand, customer loyalty and ultimately their revenue. These colliding dynamics are forcing companies to rethink how they provide an immersive, differentiated and compelling customer experience on-line. And Adobe is in the center of that discussion.
Recently, I visited a large telecommunications company in the Asia Pacific region. I met with the Director of Creativity and Innovation. This person’s charter is to “electrify” (his words) the experience between the company and their customers. For me, the most intriguing aspect of this position was the fact that he was hired by the CEO. Make no doubt about it. Customer experience is a C-level priority. All of this is quite simple and really makes perfect sense when you think about it. Just look at our personal lives: if an application or web experience falls short and doesn’t deliver to our expectations, then we shout NEXT! But if an application enraptures and delights us, then we keep coming back. Corporations are beginning to acknowledge that customers are defining their loyalties and brand preferences based upon the experiences that they receive on-line. In order to survive in this new reality, corporations must accelerate their move from black and white, data centric experiences to high definition applications that customers love to use. Now, this director of “creativity and innovation” literally came out of his shoes when we demonstrated how other companies are leveraging Adobe technology to change the game.
As for further evidence of this movement, I just listen to my family and friend bad mouth a given web experience, vowing never to return again…or when I greet the UPS man at the front door as he delivers yet another shipment from Zappos.com. Now if only my family and friends would truly embrace this galactic Inter-Web thing (the Internet) and start yelping/blogging/tweeting there would be a lot of companies feeling the sting of delivering a woeful customer experience. And this tsunami is gaining speed.