Go With the Customer Flow

Mark Tamis Vice President, Hearsay Social

Posted on February 21st 2012

Go With the Customer Flow

An interesting statistic caught my attention about customer interaction through Social Media; these interactions represent only 1% of company-customer interactions, and are expected to grow to 4% in five year’s time in France (Les Echos). In other words, 99% of interaction take place outside of Social Media! This to me leads to a very fundamental question about whether we are suffering from the Shiny Object Syndrome with regards to Social Media and customer engagement. Because we now have access to customers and prospects through these new channels, there is a real temptation to focus only on these without looking at why and how people are using these media in the first place, and where they fit into what I call the overall flow of getting to their desired outcomes.

We get distracted from the bigger picture and go off in tangents – “you need to increase your Likes on FaceBook”, “customers expect answers on Twitter” – whilst at the same time neglecting the Contact Center experience or the in-store and post-sales ones (think Twelpforce and IRL stories). The bigger picture in this case is the Customer Journey, which from your point of extends beyond the lead-up to the sale to post-sales activity that closes the loop in the next round of the buying cycle.

There are many touchpoints on that Journey – some where you are involved and that you can influence, and others where peers are preponderant and where at most you can only facilitate. You need to identify where those touchpoints are – and they could be on many different channels and customers will merrily hop from one to another) – and where it makes sense for you to create or help create the desired outcomes. And this should be linked to how much you’re willing or able to invest at each to have the optimum impact – so it’s back to pure CRM and also CLV calculations, folks.

This is how I like to picture  Customer Engagement – how you’ve created/co-created value along the Customer Journey to help them (and yourself!) get to the desired outcomes (HT Mike Boysen). For this you need to map your customers’ journeys, identify the touchpoints and find out what customers need and expect at each of them to determine your service blueprint (Design Thinking and JTBD), whilst at the same time prioritizing your own resource allocation based on Customer Lifetime Value, and not just on whether someone will like your brand on FaceBook if you give them a coupon.

To conclude, “going with the Customer Flow” entails reducing the frictions in the flows that leads to the confluence of your business’s and your customers’ desired outcomes. That means getting the big picture of the customer journey, understanding how they ‘hire’ the different tools at the various touchpoints such as social media, opinions from friends, their peers, your Salespeople, Marketing and Customer Service and how you can organize your internal flows to optimize the outcomes at the various touchpoints. We should certainly not lose sight of the fact that there is a whole world out there beyond Social Media that impact the Customer Experience!



Mark Tamis

Vice President, Hearsay Social

Parisian Dutchman with Enterprise 2.0 and BPM background. Social Business Strategist. Excited by potential of Social CRM as an organisational change agent!
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Suzanne Pays
Posted on February 24th 2012 at 12:40PM

Social media has a big influence on our decisions - the customer follows the Social Media to choose brands, services... Having all the Social Media tools in one (CRM) will help to make the right choice in terms of product, prospects or candidate.


Posted on March 3rd 2012 at 8:37PM

Hi, Mark. Great article. You're singin' my song...I've been helping CEOs and entrepreneurs realize that the buyer's journey to them is unique - and just following the mob is a complete waste of time - no matter how popular it is! By reconstructing the buyer's journey to your doorstep, you can make it easy for them, at each touchpoint, to want to keep on coming. Or, of course, you can ignore them or worse, drive them away.

Wonderfully stated.

Kristin Zhivago, "Roadmap to Revenue"