Empower Your Employees and Turn Your Customers Into a Channel: 8 Tips

Empowerment, that’s what Josh Bernoff’s (Groundswell) keynote was about at the 2011 B2B Marketing Forum . In his presentation, Bernoff answered the question of how social media can be used by large organizations and for B2B: how do you turn your customers into a channel and how do you ensure empowered employees? Read Bernoff’s golden tips.

Make sure you are active on social media

Josh Bernoff is Vice President at Forrester , co-author of the Groundswell books and recent author of the book Empowered. He opened his story with 2 examples. What he wants to show is that activity of organizations in social media is important. Heather B. Armstrong took down the Maytag brand via Twitter. Because there was no activity from the organization on social media, it was difficult to respond to it.

BestBuy does it better. A customer had problems with his iPhone. Sending a tweet to twelpforce ‘s account quickly resolved the issue. The result was a positive tweet about BestBuy’s service.

“Your customers are a channel”

“Customers are more than a cost center,” says Bernoff. “Customers are a channel that you as an organization have to use. Due to growing social participation, the influence of customers in the customer process grows.”


According to Bernoff, 4 technologies enable customers to become increasingly empowered:

  • Smarter and Advanced Mobile Devices
  • social engineering
  • Online video
  • Cloud Computing Services

4 tips to turn your customers into a channel

To turn your customers into a channel, Bernoff gives 4 tips that he calls IDEA.

I – Identify your mass influencers

It’s important to know who your most important and influential customers are on the web. Which smartphones do they use? Which social networks are most used?

An example that Bernoff gives is that of telephone Canadian CTO CIO Email Lists provider GiffGaff. Problems at GiffGaff are posted in the forum on the website. GiffGaff is run by its customers. The organization has no physical stores or a help desk that can be used.

Canadian CTOs CIOs Email Lists

D – Deliver groundswell customer service

Make sure you offer services/services to those who are active in social media. After you have mapped out who your most influential customers are, facilitate a space in your online marketing mix for this target group.

An example that Bernoff cites in this tip is that of a software community. Through the community, new products are introduced to customers and the organization can conduct market research among loyal fans.

E – Empower with mobile information

With activity on mobile platforms, you empower customers on the go.

Autotrade uk let consumers take pictures of license plates with an app and link the car data to it. Within 2 weeks the application was popular in the UK. Users used the application on average 6 times.

A – Amplify fan activity

Find the people who love you in your organization. Paying attention to your super promoters will boost the impact they have on their friends.

4 tips for employee empowerment

1. Embrace New Technology

To empower your employees, embracing new technology is very important. Bernoff states “Resistance is futile”. As an organization, do not prohibit the use of new technology, but encourage it. Don’t block Facebook, but give your employees space.

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