According to a customer satisfaction survey conducted at the end of March, some 80% of executives believe their company delivers superior customer service. Interestingly, only eight per cent of their customers agree. This statistic was revealed by Murray Cox, a consultant with the customer communication consultancy CCL ( Cox was speaking at one of a series of seminars on communications and customer strategy organised by CCL and held in London at the end of March.


Cox went on to reveal that, according to the research firm Forrester, 68% of brands are represented on social media principally so that they can listen to what others – particularly customers – are saying about them.


“There are lots of ways in which social media can affect your business,” continued Cox. “Basically, the best advice is: ignore people and they become vicious; involve people and they’ll participate’. The advantage of social media is that you can use it to establish ‘customer groups’, not just to get others’ ideas but also to test new ideas on customers.”


Comment: For many years, involvement and participation – particular widespread involvement and participation – have been key watchwords in the democratic process in the West. In recent months there have been signs in other countries, not least in the Middle East, that these concepts – perhaps stirred and nurtured via the internet – are also contributing to a desire for greater democracy there.


Where world politics is leading, can the world of business be far behind? Social media could be bringing about not just a democratic revolution in politics but also a revolution in business, based on such revolutionary concepts as transparency, customer consultation, involvement and so on. The problem with any revolution is that its benefits tend to be felt in the longer term while, in the short term, its effects can be painful.