How Social Media and BPM Enable Customer Centricity

Social Media is both a threat and an opportunity

Organizations are traditionally used to being in control of customer interactions and have long built IT systems that push messages to the customer. It is clear, however, that social media and the consumerization of technology has already had an impact on customer’s daily lives and is here to stay.

Through social listening and an effective Business Process Management system, organization’s ability to listen to the conversation and respond through changing business processes will become a major differentiator.
It is essential to combine social media data with unstructured and structured data from other sources to provide a holistic and representative picture of what your customers are saying. A social media strategy that is supported by an organization that is able to rapidly alter business processes, listen to and identify and manage risks early on, and also provide sales opportunities will be an effective one.


Real-world Social Media and BPM applied to enable customer-centricity

Prior to applying the BPM principle through an example, I would like to lay the foundation by revisiting the social consumer decision life cycle journey. The traditional consumer decision funnel is dead, because it’s outdated. The graphical model below describes the consumer decision life cycle journey anno 2012.
This model was introduced by Henrik von Scheel and Mark von Rosing in November 2003,  based on a “consumer influencer decision making cycle in eCommerce” model developed with IKEA and Google. It uniquely combines 1) specific defined online consumer persona behaviours with 2) traditional marketing purchase funnel, 3) traditional customer journey and 4) online purchase funnel.

Author Mark von Rosing & Henrik von Scheel

(Click image to enlarge)


Today’s consumer takes a much more complex iterative path through and beyond purchase. The classic funnel shows an ever-narrowing array of decisions and choices until purchase, when in fact the social, connected and channel-surfing customer today often is expanding the set of choices and decisions after consideration.

Just as importantly, it treats the post-purchase process with the same level of importance as the pre-purchase journey. It’s a pretty simple concept, really, but clients like it because this visual highlights and isolates the most important aspects of the journey:

  • Consider: What brands/products do consumers have in mind as they contemplate a purchase?
  • Evaluate: Consumers gather information to narrow their choices.
  • Buy: Consumers decide on a brand and buy it.
  • Post-purchase: Consumers reflect on the buying experience, creating expectations/considerations that will inform a subsequent purchase.
  • Advocate: Consumers tell others about the product or service they bought.

This visualization of the journey helps focus conversations on where to spend money, where the opportunities are, what sorts of people and processes you need to deliver on them, where you’re weak and your competitors strong.
It’s incredible the conversations I’ve had where clients realize they’re over-spending in one stage of the journey or under-spending in another.

The consumer decision journey approach helps clarify the issues that are undermining your brand, or where your brand has an opportunity to grow. What part of the consumer decision journey is critical to your brand?
Social media provides organizations with a wealth of information on their customers. While social media and BPM can definitely enable customer centricity, the long term success for organizations will be dependent on the enterprise-wide social media monetization strategy and the agility of internal business processes.

Social media complemented by agile business processes can definitely aid in creating “customer-centric” organizations. These organizations will be able to successfully acquire new customers, align and position their offerings in line with customer requirements, effectively optimize their marketing strategies, and will find ample opportunities for improved customer experience and enhanced customer relationship management.

Real-world BPM example

In a follow-up blog (scheduled for next week), I’ll discuss an example how real-world BPM is applied within social media.


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By Henrik von Scheel @ LEADing Practice | January 28, 2013

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