Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Converged Communications - who, why, where, when.

As much as ten years ago the buzz word in the telephony industry was convergence - no one was really sure what it was and what to do with it, it was a mixture of telephony and Instant Messenger in those days.

Riding my bike into the office in the mornings gives me a great opportunity to reflect on things, plus the oddest ideas just seem to pop into my mind, it must be something to do with wearing ear plugs and petrol fumes...  This morning I was thinking about conversations we were having in the office last week with Marketing and Communications people.

On one side of the fence we have the Marketer's (I always get this impression of a French gascoin, with feathered hat, sword, shouting "one for all..."), who want to 'get out there' and interact with the customers, and on the other side the Communication people, who need 'a strategy' before they will commit to interactions.

They are both right.  Yes we do need to interact with our customers.  Yes we do need a strategy.
Who are our customers?
What medium do they prefer?
What content do they want?
Who is responsible for providing the content?
Who will do the 'interaction' thing?
Where does the return for the effort come from?
When is the best time to interact with the customers?
Who has the budget?

The biggest issue that an organisation faces, seems to be the possibilities for interacting with customers is expanding at a phenomenal rate, 10 years ago no one had heard of Facebook, it was Friends Re-united, 5 years ago no one had heard of Twitter, 2 months ago no one had heard of Google+ - so how can you come up with a reliable strategy when the playing field is changing on an almost daily basis?

The question I was pondering this morning is 'who will be doing the interactions'?  From the Marketer's perspective, they would need to interact with customers, should the Communications Department be the ones talking to customers?  In fact neither is the best option, most companies have already the perfect people for interacting with customers, those on the front line - Customer Services.  Our Customer Services Department already interact with our customers, by telephone and e-mail, all day every day - so they just need the tools to add the extra strings to their bow for Tweets, Video Calls, Hang Outs and whatever comes over the horizon tomorrow....

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