12.7 How to become an open organization.

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    Opening up takes a lot of guts for organizations. Boundaries are crossed, and unknown territory is entered. Scary. Management has to let go of control. Even more frightening!

    Management author Kevin Kelly gives us in his book, New Rules For The New Economy, four tips for traditional organizations seeking to “open up” more, and thus create value and enhance their survivability:

    1. Make customers as smart as you are.
    2. Connect customers to customers.
    3. All things being equal, choose technology that connects.
    4. Imagine your customers as employees.

    Maintaining sound connections between an organization and its stakeholders is unfortunately not something that goes without saying. These moments of contact – or moments of truth – are becoming even more rare when we realize that stakeholders no longer need the organization to connect with each other.

    There is an opportunity here for organizations! Moments of contact between stakeholders offer opportunities to offer and gather information, and are therefore of vital importance to the organization. A kind of question-and-answer game has to originate. After all, as an organization, you have to (or want to) know increasingly more about a stakeholder. At least, if you want to customize your communication, repeatedly supply your customer/stakeholder with the right information at the right time, or create the next branding moment.

    Smart organizations establish and facilitate that network – The network wherein event driven communication (EDC) is the key word. With EDC, every event is the starting point for an activity in the communication stream between organizations and their stakeholders. EDC is always active, right through the organization. EDC facilitates the continuous connection between the four main elements of Organization 3.0 (culture, leadership, transactional business concept, and social business concept), which will be explained at length further on this third part of this book.

    Within that communication network around an organization, it’s all about optimizing the experience a stakeholder should have with each random moment of contact with the organization and/or its other stakeholders. That puts great demands on the product, and, in particular, on the service around it – whether it is about informing, reserving, buying, selling, after-sales, or customer complaints. As a consequence of this, I believe an organization should deal with the issue of which services or production processes can be outsourced in a different manner. This is a pity for all call centers, but telephonic contact with customers need to be done by your own staff, because, as entrepreneurial employees – not limited by a script – they are preeminently capable of making autonomous decisions. It’s a shame for Internet hotel room booking portals as well, but communicating with a potential hotel guest and registering their information should be done by the hotel, itself (with the added advantage that you will own the information of your customers). It is not smart, as an airline, to outsource the check-in process to another specialized company. Just do it yourself.

    And when saying “do it yourself,” I should add “or ask your community of dedicated fans to help you.” These nearby stakeholders who lvoe your brand will be more than willing to assist in a very professional and authentic way. We at Seats2meet.com have the largest help desk in Europe. It consists of over 40,000 fans, available 24/7. So, just ask your question about our organization on Twitter, and see what happens…..