The Chief Marketing & People Officer part 2

Posted on February 16, 2011

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THE NEW ORGANISATIONAL THINKING

So, I finished the first post with some thoughts about how ‘control is no longer ours’, and it really isn’t. If anything that’s been underlined by a book I am reading at the moment by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler entitled Empowered. The opening chapters describe neatly how an open and networked organisation where employees are given permission to fix problems for customers can trump the closed organisation everytime. And this is what we are moving to.

What it means for organisations I think is the need to throw off any command and control ways of thinking. That’s easier said than done, and not wise if you operate an airline – I’m not up for Captain’s making empowered decisions to fly a different route today. All organisations still have their promises that they must keep for customers, but they need to provide for freedoms within those promises so that employees can deliver for customers.

But organisations can begin to hunt down ways to enable employees to act on their behalf. Simple social networking tools that enable employees to hunt out dissatisfied customers and address their needs is a start – look at Best Buy’s “Twelpforce” or Eurail.com who won Mashable’s award for social media.

As their campaign manager Chantal Sukel put it: “Soon we noticed that customers knew where to find us to discuss travel plans, ask questions and get inspired by others’ experiences,” said Sukel. “When the number of fans and interactions grew, I set up a small and dedicated team of travel professionals who since then assist our fans. Social media works faster and more effective than e-mail support, which is why this way of communicating has rapidly become an important part of our customer service.”

This can also be replicated with internal networks. As long ago as 2005 Vodafone were running a phone network called CAST that enabled customer service agents to call on experts internally to help them resolve customer queries. Networks within networks and networks that enable employees to help customers work.

CIPD research still shows that what employees want from employers is security. What better way to begin to outline security by giving employees that chance to work directly with customers and resolve issues. This is surely a great KPI. It’s not the only thing that will deliver security, but it’s where marketing can begin to employ the power of people and people can begin to build a firm’s marketing prowess. As John Bernier in Fast Company outlines, if you can unleash your employees using social media you can make a real difference.

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