Transparency in the connected world…is it going to save us all?
Social media is a game changer, business are now forced to be transparent and focus on building a brand that will be measured by trust within the communities which they operate. This risk is that this concept somehow makes us all believe that as a result the world will be a better place (I can almost hear the harps playing now) as the soulless, heartless companies will as a result fall and their executives will be forced to retreat to their multi-million dollar mansions to hide away for the rest of their lives (I can hear the laughter now).
There would not be many large organisations today that are not working to continually improve the way that they serve their customers knowing that it only takes one bad experience to do permanent damage to their brand within social communities (cue FedEx Computer Delivery Guy). Improvements for these organisations come from measuring consumer sentiment and making changes based on this feedback. The point to note is that this practice is not new, organisations have been measuring customer satisfaction for years in an effort to improve their products and services, it is just that in the past they have been forced to collect the information through research that they commission, now by monitoring the social space organisations are also able to see what consumers are saying about them when they are not asking the questions.
But is this new found transparency going to save us all from the wicked organisations that only exist with the objective to take our money? Over the past 2 years the times that I have received the best and the worst experiences has not been from the large companies that I engage, it has come from the smaller businesses. For the bad experiences any rant in social media about a small business does not generate the same level of excitement as the news that a big bank has repossessed a car because the loan was not paid, or an insurance company has not paid out on a policy. As a result there is less information available to consumers about “Joe the Plumber” and the service he provides as there is about the larger organisations. The truth is that a smaller company can screw you just as much as the big ones, so while we may live in a world where transparency wins, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to be taken for a ride, so do not relax just yet.