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Can Your Colleague Be Your Customer Too?

Can Your Colleague Be Your Customer Too?

After participating in last week's inaugural Digital Summit Seattle I'm tempted to quote the classic Sade...

After participating in last week's inaugural Digital Summit Seattle I'm tempted to quote the classic Sade song 'Never as good as the first time.' After all, these speakers shared use cases, statistics and answers that any digital marketer would swoon over. Tiffany Tooley helped us course correct from accessing more data to accessing the right data, Ronnell Smith challenged us to approach social engagement with an eye toward our content input, not just statistical output and Michael J. Barber demonstrated how brands benefit when they show empathy and compassion to customers.

Then, there was that epic moment when I met Steve Wozniak!! I asked him about key skill sets of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, to which he answered 'to be successful they both need the discipline to give up nights at the club and focus those energies on their product.' (Yes, Woz really referred to 'the club'). 

Asking a New Question

Another key learning came in the form of a question. After my session, I spoke with an attendee who is a former marketer turned internal communications professional. The attendee referenced my presentation around building customer relationships to create communities. In this role, they need to create more community in the workplace. 'I need to basically create an atmosphere where we look at each other as a family.' The challenge is there is no framework at the company for this. In our 15-minute conversation, we discussed internal digital and social channels, as well as person-to-person opportunities. We came up with the following 'plan of action' for kicking this off:

  • understand the needs and challenges of the associates
  • create messaging around how the organization may help solve those challenges
  • develop stories outlining benefits of employment at the organization
  • share employee profiles supporting greater personal relationships and a family feeling

When we parted, I realized that this information is largely relevant for external customer communities, as well as internal communities. 

One of the reasons I prefer the term community is because there is a connotation of familiarity and commonality. Whether we're seeking to build rapport with a customer or a colleague, knowing their painpoints, solutions to those painpoints, how we can benefit them and exuding authenticity is integral to developing a relationship.

I love finding new questions (even more than finding answers) to ask myself. Can your colleague also be your customer? I think both can and should be part of a community where we seek to add value.

I expect Digital Summit will build on top of this year's information sharing success to have future events that give even more insight, challenging us to ask ourselves even better questions. Who knows, the 2018 summit may even be better than the first time. 

Can your colleagues also be your customers? Let me know your thoughts.

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