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The intentions were good – yet the results are telling us we made huge mistakes. Automation didn’t really bring any progress in our business processes but alienated our most important asset – our customer base.
Since the beginning of professional trade, about 3,500 B.C in ancient Egypt we improved our skills to socialize and network. In 2001 the world bank released a stunning report after researching key indicator for third world countries’ ability to pay back loans: The higher the social capital and the more those cultures develop networking skills, the higher the likelihood to payback their loans.
The single biggest difference between the world class business people and the mediocre managers in sales and marketing and across the executive bench is their networking skills. Despite the fact we know all that, we continued to automate our customer engagement processes to a degree that it became a general problem for our economy. Millions were invested in business process automation – we automated everything without even asking if this or that may be just too much automation.
Social Media Phenomenon
The unparalled rise in social engagement is demonstrated loud and clear through social media. It’s not only the number of people who “have a profile” but the number of actual engagements:
126 Million Blogs, Close to 30 Million tweets per day, 6 Million pages views on Facebook – per MINUTE (37 Trillion per year), 2.5 Million photos get uploaded each month, 12 Billion videos viewed on YouTube each month. Do you think advertising right now? WRONG IDEA. That is the last thing people want – people (400 Million on Facebook alone) want to communicate!
Are you a busy CEO?
Then you have no time to do all that tweeting – right? You rather spend time to run your company – isn’t that your focus? Then ask yourself: Why did Tony Hsieh wasted his time as CEO of a half billion $ company doing so? He increased company valuation on average $100 Million each year – during the recession. The Zappos team has no stop watch when talking to customers! How come that Albertsons closed stores during the recession when most people try to save money and the much more expensive WholeFoods did well? How could my tire dealer in San Mateo grow frow from 2 to 8 people during the recession while 2 of his copetitors went out of business? Why is John Chambers pounding on social media engagement and further solidified his leadership position and Nortel fired their social media staff to “focus on the business value” and almost went out of business?
Too many business leaders focus on automation – too less on relationships
Automation may save money at a rather big risk on loosing revenue
Relationship development has a great potential to increase revenue at a rather low risk of loosing profitability.