What Does FuzeDigital Think of Social Business?

Third post on this series, more to come next week — first one was Oracle, second one was Attensity and today we have FuzeDigital answering the questions on the future of Social Business.

1. Where is the Social world going to be in 12 months? 24 months?

People will continue to congregate on some organization’s Facebook page, but in reality I suspect that less than 5% of organizations have the type of offering that will bring together consumers to interact with each other in any material volumes.  With rare exception, they will also not come to interact with staff for anything but getting an answer or something resolved.  More organizations will understand that it is in their best interest to monitor activity regarding their brand across the entire Web and direct activity for follow-up as appropriate by relevant PR, Sales and Support staff.  It will become clear that it is not in an organization’s best interest to cater to customers who are trying to bypass other support queues or grandstand with their “friends” to unfairly force a company’s hand and that what most consumers really expect is easy access to high quality support that quickly and accurately addresses their needs and facilitates open discussions with other relevant stakeholders to ensure broad perspectives are leveraged and that companies are accountable for their actions.  Responding to this insight and the realization that the Web has put their offering’s value and support center stage, organizations will focus on building their core communications and support infrastructure to support many to many communications capable of providing consistent, high quality support across all support channels.  Once they have done this sufficiently, organizations will be able to extend access to this infrastructure as appropriate to social network sites relevant to their stakeholders.  When people complain in social networking sites about organizations that offer this type of infrastructure and accessibility, they will be apologized to and politely directed to the organization’s resources where they can choose to constructively resolve issues in an open or private communication resource.  Consumers with fair expectations and intentions won’t care if clicking on a link within the social network to get an answer or seek a resolution results in opening a new browser tab or opens a tab within the social networking site itself.  Under any scenario companies have forever lost much of the control they once had over consumers, but to totally abdicate to the consumer is certainly foolhardy.

2. How can businesses not be left behind?

Don’t get distracted by the hype and instead understand how being “social” with your customers, staff, partners and other stakeholders can impact the short-term and long-term health and profitability of your organization and execute accordingly.

3. What is going to happen in three years and beyond in the world of social?

Although some will see this earlier, many organization will just begin to want to expand this collaboration beyond consumers and some staff relating to consumer-related issues to include all stakeholders on all issues that impact the health and profitability of their organization’s ecosystem.  However, the honeymoon period for “social” technology will be waning and the thought of free flowing communications without accountability will be considered unacceptable.  Companies that have invested in both E2.0 and SCRM technology will need to spend lots of money to somehow blend this siloed content and expertise and more and more software will be sold as Social Business Software.

14 Replies to “What Does FuzeDigital Think of Social Business?”

  1. “but in reality I suspect that less than 5% of organizations have the type of offering that will bring together consumers to interact with each other in any material volumes”

    I cannot disagree with this more. Only one out of 20 companies successfully bringing their consumers together on a social platform is a huge underestimate. Think of companies like Amazon, 1-800-FLOWERS, my local library come to mind. The opportunity to reach out to your customers to vet an idea is something material.


  2. John:

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I absolutely agree that many online communities will flourish. I just don’t believe that many organizations have the types of products, services or brand that will materially draw people together to engage with each other on Facebook, which will always be first and foremost a social engagement site…. Just my opinion.

    As I stated, I do however believe that organizations need to provide online communities for their stakeholders with a focus on promptly and accurately answering questions and getting feedback in an open, collaborative environment.

    From what I see, far fewer than 5% of organizations on Facebook currently have material online engagement with consumers….and many companies are not yet on Facebook. Do you have examples of companies that one would not suspect of getting their consumers to engage on their Facebook page? Harley..yes, Apple…yes, Rosetta Stone…yes …but companies that do not have these types of products and services?

    For most brands it’s going to about providing great products, services and customer care and not about socially engaging with their customers.



  3. Enjoying the series and this post. In my view, the role of the company will be to provide platforms and tools for customers to engage on, but not to define the nature of that engagement/interaction. Our traditional idea of engagement I believe will change, and companies will simply be one of the components of that engagement equation.


  4. Thanks for the comment Guy.

    My fundamental difference of opinion with you is that I believe that organization’s need to selectively bring together internal and external stakeholders who have the relevant context, knowledge, experience and responsibilities to add real value in whatever you are engaging the stakeholders…..Smartsourcing is smart and that croudsourcing is dumb.

    We also believe that you must have the metrics to measure community contributions and define specific demonstrated expertise to end up with the appropriate accountability and results,along with the ability to define who needs to be brought to the table.

    However….it’s all just a bunch of opinions at this point until statistically valid empirical data is produced.

    Chuck, Founder of FuzeDigital


  5. Chuck,
    Can you define the difference between ‘smartsourcing’ and ‘crowdsourcing’? That would be helpful in understanding your position.

    When you say “Harley..yes, Apple…yes, Rosetta Stone…yes …but companies that do not have these types of products and services?” To what type of products do you refer? These three companies are in completely different markets. They are not a category. In the context of this discussion, they only way they are related to one another is in their successful engagement with their respective customer communities. So, if such diverse companies can accomplish this (no, I didn’t say ‘succeed’. because, yes, from a purely technical measurement perspective, its not easy to define success), what kind of companies do you think would not be as successful? Its not all about facebook. The companies you mention, and many others, have build robust customer communities that are accomplishing varying business objectives – support, service, marketing….engagement. By the way, several bleeding edge companies have in fact quantified the value of such communities.

    One last clarification, if you would be so kind. “For most brands it’s going to about providing great products, services and customer care and not about socially engaging with their customers.” Apple isn’t the best engineered product. Harley has had some pretty good spats with product quality. Rosetta Stone – who knows. I have enough trouble with English. But, they all create an engaging experience. Products, services, support, its all part of the experience isn’t it?

    Thanks for your thoughts


    1. Greetings Barry:

      Thanks again for your thoughts and questions. I had a break in the action and wanted to drop you a quick response.

      Smartsourcing versus Croudsourcing: I am not a believer in indiscriminately bringing together people without consideration for what is intended to be accomplished. To me, that is what crowdsourcing is all about. However, I am a huge believer in the power of collaboration when you bring together people with the experience, knowledge, context and responsibilities that are required to efficiently and effectively complete the task at hand.

      Naturally Social Brands: Many consumers of products from Apple, Harley Davidson and Rosetta Stone have a keen interest to engage with each other. Their products transcend beyond functional capabilities and become an extension of their consumers’ personalities and lives. For most brands, consumers are only interested in engaging with other consumers using the brands to get answers and are not interested in socially engaging with each other. Facebook is about social engagement and companies that have these types of brands that naturally bring people together to converse need to facilitate this in social sites like Facebook. For the other 95% of the brands, social sites like Facebook will only be another place for them to market and for their consumers to quickly (clicking a link is quick) get help when they need it.

      As already mentioned, I totally believe that all organizations should facilitate many-to-many communications among their stakeholders to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of their ecosystem, I just see that happening as part of their core support/communications platforms with access provided in these social sites rather than being built into these social sites. Although Facebook would like to be a Gilligan’s Island of sorts, it isn’t going to happen.

      Not about socially engaging for most brands: Brands whose products and services serve as the core for their consumers to engage with each other absolutely need to foster and nourish this engagement where it occurs. However for everyone else, I believe they need to let go of their Apple envy and focus on developing online communities whose objectives are to improve their ecosystem’s health and profitability rather than creating some sort of social relationship with their consumers.

      Bests, Chuck


      1. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. And, I think I’m with you. I also dont believe in brands being social for the sake of social. Where there is mutual value to be realized, then it make sense.

        Correct me if I’m misrepresenting, but it seems like you would also agree that customer engagement, and an enabling an engaging customer experience extends far beyond social in the context of this discussion. And, to me, that is where the real value resides. An engaging experience is the net result of opimimizing all the available touch points with a customer – from the 5 (or 6 or 7 or however many there are now) P’s to other not so obvious touch points.

        Thanks again


        1. Greetings Barry:

          I agree that the “social” elements are just one of the many potential touch points that must be considered in CEM.

          In my mind touch points include all occurences where an impression is possibly left with the consumer, which may not even include direct contact with consumer.

          Have a super weekend with your family and friends.

          Bests, Chuck


  6. Hi Barry:

    Thanks for your thoughts and for the great questions.

    We are currently slammed and I want to take some time to respond to you. As such, I will post a response this weekend.

    I just did not want you to think I was ignoring you!

    Bests, Chuck


  7. I think that social CRM works for certain industries or brands, but should not be viewed as a panacea for all companies. If the brand already has a vocal, loyal, tech savvy following of fans (or zealots), these folks can be influencers for future purchasers. Apple comes to mind. Looking at some industries or market segments like online shopping and PC fixes and optimization tricks, both of these are loaded with followers that either want to share their good or bad experiences or feel they have something to offer the community at large based on their expertise. They do it for the ego/notoriety or just because they like sharing their good or bad fortune. Whatever their personal reasons, these folks are valuable assets to a company’s marketing and brand messaging if they can be brought together in a meaningful forum. And that’s the trick.


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