In the age of “likes”, “plus ones” and “tweets” it’s certainly not hard to find out what your friends are up to. Not only are you instantly able to observe what Andy had for breakfast, you can also see where he had it, and (more importantly) if he liked it. People are increasingly relying on information gathered from their social networks (and more specifically their friends). Many of us can relate to “fishing” for advice via status updates or tweets. In fact Facebook is currently considering expanding on its wildly popular “like” button to include products people would like to buy, and places they would like to go.
This type of interaction is so common that it has even earned a place in Social Media guru Eric Qualman’s wildly popular book “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms The Way We Live and Do Business”. Qualman has termed this phenomenon Multiple Individual Redundancy or MDR. MDR occurs when individuals are able to avoid repeating tasks that others have already done. For example, if I am going to book my honeymoon in Paris and 17 of my Facebook friends “like” a particular hotel, then I don’t have to bother researching multiple hotels before I book my trip. I trust my friends and first hand reviews are very valuable (especially in the hospitality business). According to Qualman, this time savings recaptures billions of hours that can be otherwise redistributed within society.
Businesses in particular benefit from the time savings associated with MDR. While some professionals (like travel agents) can easily take advantage of MDR using their traditional social networks, it might be less obvious how companies can generate MDR in their workplace. The answer is a good customer relationship management system, or CRM. CRM allows companies to manage customer relationships in an organized way, and a number of mundane and time consuming tasks are rendered redundant as a result.
For example, a typical CRM includes a detailed customer database. Information in this database such as a customer’s previous purchases will allow the company to appropriately target customers based on previous purchases. This eliminates the need to research who bought what before deploying promotions, newsletters, friendly correspondence, etc. Like MDR, another thing CRM makes possible is the matching of specific customer needs with product plans and offerings. This is something which customers could even access themselves, much like the traditional social media experience.
While it is clear that customers (especially honeymooners) are enjoying the benefits of MDR, the big winner in all of this is business in general. This type of social media monitoring on products and services helps guard against poor customer experiences and subpar products. It also keeps businesses on their toes and allows them to see what their customers want. In other words MDR/CRM helps makes sure the cream rises to the top, and all with the click of a button.