Thursday, October 12, 2006

Customer Interaction vs Social Interaction?

When we talk about customer interaction it used to be about managing the quality of each touchpoint, first time issue resolution, and other standard customer care measures. But what happens when the customer never calls you, didn't search for your product, and doesn't even know you exist? What happens when customer interaction occurs beween customers and prospective customers as "shared search", "shared bookmarks", "shared clips", i.e. as "social consumption"? In the Guardian today Joined Up Experiences it is pointed out that Microsoft is going to compete (or tying to compete) with the iPod, not at a device level, but as an overall experience. Who can deliver the better overall experience? MS bet that people want to tag, recommend and share songs, and they have the best system for doing this. And its true, I for one don't find the iPod and iTunes "a good share". Places like mySpace are "a good share" for Music. Could mySpace be the next iTunes? It could. Sometimes, tightly coupling systems with proprietary technologies actually beats "open systems". The iPod has proprietary DRM (digital rights management), Skype has its own standards (and not the open SIP standard),the Kodak phone and printer are "idiot proof". The basis of the Guardian article is that sometimes a proprietary standard makes it very very easy for the customer to adopt and to use AND it deliveres a better user experience for that customer segment. In a world where the "open standards revolution" makes it easier and easier to couple systems and services together (my iTunes on mySpace), it will be interesting to see the basis on which companies seek to compete with each other.

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