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Listening to customers through social networks

As CEO of a company, you may often wonder what social technologies like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace really bring benefit, or how to create profit from technological society?

Many CEOs have ever tasted "bitter fruit" of social technology. For example, the company's reputation could be "marred" by some videos on Youtube or product brand and the company is likely to be attacked by the posts on Twitter. Forrester also a victim. Because of inaccurate information that Forrester has become the object of anger vented on Twitter. Therefore, it is easy to sympathize with skepticism and wary of the business world for social networking.

Nonetheless, considering the many ways social networking is very useful for the development of the company. However, within the scope of this article, let us study in depth a specific way to make a profit from social networks that I called Sigma society. If the 6 Sigma is a management philosophy focused on improving processes to improve the social product, the Sigma-based feedback from society to make this work.

george colony

CEO George Colony is the company's technology and market researcher Forrester Research. During the past 30 years, George has consulted for many other CEOs on the impact of technology on business. This article was culled from that experience.

Sigma society will use social networks as a means of creating favorable conditions for existing customers (and potential customers) can provide continuous criticism, analysis and recommendations product for the company. This is truly a powerful tool to help enhance the value of major products.


Sigma society has three characteristics:

1) Listen:

Please closely monitor the social channels to detect whether weak or strong signals from the market about the product. Zappos shoe store and clothing online as well as JetBlue - Cheap airline of the United States has assigned staff in charge of this task.

The problem is that: Many companies have used social networks to gather and resolve customer complaints, but do not know how to market information about the product and use it in the right place at the right time. Sigma social data will be screened before a product manager or staff research and development put into use.

2) Encourage feedback:

Make positive use of social channels to attract customers to participate in creative activities or product improvement. French bank Credit Mutuel and international corporations pizza Domino's Pizza in America have made great strides on products by harnessing the social networking program.

Credit Mutuel further improved to better service their bank. Domino's Pizza also makes much more tasty than pizza. One of the simplest ways to solicit feedback is: create a section on the company website so that customers can provide ideas. Starbucks site is a typical example.

3) Marketing:

Please convey the message clearly to customers that the company is listening, and are responding by changing the feedback of customers. In other words, make sure the world knows that your company does not pretend to feedback from customers. That is what Toyota is doing well.

In the pursuit of social philosophy Sigma, CEOs need to take note of the following. First, the Sigma society requires that we have high determination, rather than a weak heart. We will be actively and openly discussed with the whole world about the defects and shortcomings as well as other matters of the company. In fact, whether we actively open or not, public opinion will remain constant evaluation of products. So better to be proactive.

Second, note the work done. Sigma society is not one-way mode of communication. Sigma social participation means that we are initiating a conversation is highly interactive and constantly with hundreds, even thousands of customers on the basis of real time.

So, do not use Sigma social until the company is willing to maintain a dialogue first. In other words, be allocated staff, budgets, plans and strategies to effectively realize social Sigma efforts. The poor performance of social Sigma will harm the brand reputation and corporate levels more severely than not using it.

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