What is Your Finger Strategy? Reflections on Mobile, Social and Other Customer Strategies

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And here it comes again – that feeling of déjà vu but with a small tweak. If you recall, in the year 2000 developing an organization-wide email strategy and chat strategy was all the rage. Companies were forced to consider their strategy and to develop one if it didn’t already exist. Today, such a question is laughable. Companies don’t design email and chat strategies anymore; they create a multi-channel approach in which the organization responds to customers and each channel coexists with others. (Sorry IDC and other gurus, no call centers were shut down as a result of the emergence of email and chat, despite strong predictions from so-called experts.)

Today we are bombarded by the next wave of “strategies” like social strategies and mobile strategies. Once again we are not learning from the past and are continuing to exaggerate the importance of an emerging channel. Should companies use social media and mobile effectively? Of course. Should they have a strategy for them? No. They are complementary channels that will be used by some customers and ignored by others and should support the core, and only strategy, the customer strategy.

If we are declaring every tactic a strategy, here is my contribution to the growing discussion: What is your finger strategy? Since your employees and customers are using their fingers to operate smartphones and tablets, your company ought to have a clear strategy for finger usage. Here are a couple of questions to consider as part of your finger strategy:

1. What finger should be used for responding to customer queries?
2. What finger should be used to respond to customer complaints? (keep your thoughts decent)
3. Should the nails be groomed?
4. How long should the nails be?
5. Any proposed color for the nail polish? (Should they be consistent with the company’s brand colors?)

If you are not sure, maybe it is time to hire a finger strategy specialist to help you in the process of determining the best practices and provide a benchmark.

Back to Reality

The goal of an organization is to create and retain customers and do so profitably. This is the strategy. This is the way companies pay the bills and stay in business. Mobile and social are tactics to achieve this goal. By overinflating the importance of mobile and social among other emerging technologies and channels, companies distract themselves from the real goal and the real strategy: the customer strategy.

This hype is further explored by zealous digital media companies and PR agencies eager to grab another piece of the marketing budget for “strategic development”. Additionally, single channel companies like Yelp and TripAdvisor which only use mobile and social as their way of connecting with customers, create the illusion that this is the only channel moving forward. Most companies are not like those single-channel new customer companies. They have a legacy to be concerned with and previous commitments to existing customers. Their customers are not app-only customers. These mature and established companies need to take a holistic view of all their customers across the different segments and not lose control by the appearance of a new technology or tool.

One of my clients expressed it correctly: “Even a fool with a tool is still a fool.” Let’s stop the hype each time a new technology emerges and stick to the only strategy that matters – the customer strategy. The rest are tools with which to evolve and grow.

Lior Arussy
One of the world’s authorities on customer experience, customer centricity, and transformation, Lior Arussy delivers results. His strategic framework converts organizations from product- to customer-centricity. It is drawn from his work with some of the world’s leading brands: Mercedes-Benz, Royal Caribbean, Delta Air Lines, MasterCard, Novo Nordisk, Walmart and more.Arussy is also the author of seven books, including Next Is Now (May 2018)

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for writing this, I agree 100%.

    “Strategy” is one of the most abused words in business today. Everything is a strategy!

    And, we focus entirely too much attention on the latest shiny new object — be it social, mobile or whatever — and lose sight of the fact that customers only care about how well we add value to them.

  2. So true, typically Social media and Mobiles are there, as tools to deliver upon other strategies, such as a Communications strategy, or an Operations Strategy, or a Customer Contact strategy.

    Or maybe strategy is a dying concept – being replaced by doing many activities (and adding the work strategy at the end of them). Then incrementally, tweeking these activities, based upon on going feedback on what works and does not work.

  3. Exactly. There are many industries which don’t even relate very well to so-called social strategies. In other words those within the industry do not engage in, and have no interest in, social media etc. Even the best strategy will fall flat on its face in this scenario. So you can’t create social interest where it doesn’t exist!

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