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Customer Obsessed by Marc Benioff, Eric Berridge

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3Why Social Matters to Every Business

In Google's 2011 study analyzing the evolution of the mobile consumer, Australia suddenly went from a low smartphone adoption locale the year before (2010) to one of the world's leaders in smartphone adoption in 2011.1 That's a pretty big change in a relatively short period of time.

Maybe not so coincidentally, Australia also experienced a big uptick in social media usage, which altered the communication mix. People changed their communication patterns, habits, and spending seemingly overnight. Vodafone, a leading carrier in Australia, was caught flat-footed and faced well-publicized criticism relating to service and network issues, especially the time it took to respond to this customer-instigated change.

And how did those customers vent their feelings? Via social media, not surprisingly. They quickly took to social channels—Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and communities—to voice their concerns. According to Erik Jacobsen, online development and system strategy manager at Vodafone at the time, the company saw a whopping 2,500 percent growth in social media! Remember, all this occurred over a short time period, from one year to the next, and was not something that had been percolating below the surface for years. What people were saying was something Vodafone sorely needed to hear: the company's service delivery had fallen well below customer expectations.

“We knew that listening to our customers and responding quickly was the only way to address ...

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