Social media is rapidly becoming a vital business tool enabling firms to interact with their customers and gain business intelligence. As reported on this TechZone360 interview, Doug Heintzman, director of strategy for IBM Collaboration Solutions, said that the nature of the relationship between companies and their customers is evolving to a much longer-term and involved relationship.
"A large part of this phenomenon is caused because of a vast increase in the amount and efficiency of information on both sides of the equation. Customers know much more about a product and the company that makes it, its competitors, its pricing through various channels, and its performance and reliability. Companies in turn know much more about their customers: their buying patterns, their demographics, their role as an influencer, and their price sensitivity.
"The Web (as a medium of information access), social media and analytics are all driving this change in the nature of relationships. This, more intimate, longer-term relationship means that customers have a much better chance of being delighted by the value they are receiving. Companies can lower support costs, get more repeat business, have greater abilities to cross-sell adjacent products and services and access better insight into buying behaviors and preferences."