Web 2.0 (a.k.a. Web And Weberer)

This wouldn’t be a real blog without at least one entry about Web 2.0. I’ve actually touched on the related topic in a previous post called The Death Of Web Pages? Great! — but that wasn’t enough to be a real “Web 2.0” post. So here goes another blog post on Web 2.0…

To begin with, I hope you get my allusion to the movie sequel Dumb and Dumberer, which I really liked (despite its horrible reviews). It’s not that I think Web 2.0 is dumb (or dumberer), but I do think that they’re both packed with a whole bunch of silliness.

Let me start by saying that there are a number of very interesting things happening that are classified as Web 2.0. Social networking sites (like MySpace and Facebook); consumer-generated communications (blogs and product reviews); rich Internet applications (with technologies like Ajax and Flex); and aggregation technologies like RSS. All together, these things are definitely adding new ways for people (especially younger consumers) to interact online.

I’ve even heard the terminology being used around CRM — hence the new moniker “CRM 2.0.” But this is where I need to draw the line. Yes, Web 2.0 has some interesting opportunities for many businesses. But for most firms, it’s not nearly the most important thing they need to think about when it comes to their customers. Frankly, Web 2.0 hasn’t changed how you need to think about customer interactions. The fundamentals of customer experience remain the same: know more about what your customers need and figure out ways to better satisfy those needs. This is all about shifting your thinking from inside-out to outside-in.

But this isn’t new. As a matter of fact, it’s the same advice that we’ve been giving Forrester clients since the late 1990’s. Here’s a figure from a report in 2000 called Scenario Design.

 Sceanrio Design from 2000

In this report, we framed three key questions:

  1. Who are your target users?
  2. What are their goals?
  3. How can you help them accomplish those goals?

It turns out that we still push organizations to ask and answer those same three questions. I published an update to that report in 2004 called “Scenario Design: A Disciplined Approach To Customer Experience.” The report provides an updated argument for relying on those same three questions. And, yes, I am considering publishing another update to that report — which will absolutely reinforce the importance of those same three questions.

So, here’s how I put Web 2.0 in context:

After you figure out who your target customers are and gain an understanding of their needs, and then uncover their true goals in working with you, then you can apply Web 2.0 capabilities (along with all other capabilities) to help satisfy their needs.

The bottom line: Web 2.0 (and all of it’s “XYZ 2.0″companions) may enable companies to better serve customers — but only if they better understand them first.

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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