BtoB

BMA annual: Social media empowers both employees and customers

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Chicago—Josh Bernoff, senior VP-idea development at Forrester Research, opened up his “Unleash Your Employees” general session with some examples of his own experiences in dealing with customer support reps at companies he does business with on Wednesday at the BMA annual conference here. He shared a bad experience with a Bank of America rep after he was given euros rather than pounds sterling as he was leaving on a trip to the U.K.—a mistake he didn't learn about until he arrived overseas. He then shared a good experience with a Best Buy rep that resulted in his spending $1,100 on a variety of electronics at a store where he'd gone just to buy a power adapter. “Only an empowered worker can serve an empowered customer,” Bernoff said. Access to social media is one way customers are becoming more empowered, he said. For example, in 2007 only 18% of Internet users surveyed by Forrester had created social media content, only 48% consumed it and more than half did not use it at all. In 2010, 23% of Internet users had created social media content, 60% had joined social networks and only 19% did not use it, according to Forrester. In the b-to-b market, social media usage was even higher last year, Bernoff said, with one-third of business executives creating social media content, 79% consuming it and only 11% not using it. “If you want to tap into this [social media growth], you need to learn how to energize your customers and get them talking,” Bernoff said.
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