Original research into the impact of Web 2.0 appliance on current business practice
Interaction enhancement, elevated customer experience, and reinforced business prospects offer logical reasoning for the embrace of Web 2.0 tools (Bonabeau, 2009; Kalpaklioglu & Toros, 2011; Mangold & Faulds, 2009; Wade, 2009). Communication within the company is vital, allowing all stakeholders to understand and appreciate every one of the aspects of company activities. The need for information dissemination within the firm cannot be underestimated; it permits the flow of ideas which not only sustain the business, but also sanctions growth of both service and product development. A complemented client experience can lead to customer loyalty, and may provide inserted promotional potential. Buyer satisfaction should be of primary concern. The reinforcing of business prospects contribute to maintained sustenance of operability. The firm’s homeostasis is dependent on the enduring process of business sustainability.
The usefulness of social network tools is dependent on the ability and skill of their implementation (Gibson, 2012). It is therefore imperative that users be well versed in Web 2.0 application and tool use for optimized employment of the technologies. It is also vital that managers understand the necessity of its practice, as well as have an appreciation for the mechanics of skills and expertise. This erudition will ideally be pandemic throughout the firm’s associate population, with buy-in from all stakeholders throughout the company, in addition to the client base.
Questions arise concerning the efficacy of Web 2.0 machinations in business operations. How can Web 2.0 modalities strengthen marketing strategies? What can new and innovative communication technologies do to offer benefit to business? How should enterprise leverage Web 2.0 to enhance business processes? Are firms currently experiencing advantage and subsidy through Web 2.0 employment? An attempt to answer these queries will be the focus of this manuscript. Research suggests that companies should begin embracing Web 2.0 tools because they are able to offer increased communication, greater customer satisfaction, and enhanced business opportunities.
Web 2.0 tools offer amplified communication capabilities to business. That informal word-of-mouth marketing messages, which when utilized by virtue of online methods (such as blogging and discussion forums) is referred to as viral messaging, are desirable and have been understood for over half a century has been well documented (Kalpaklioglu & Toros, 2011). Such evidence diffusion offers subsidy to the firm, increasing the reach of constructive messaging to the potential client base. Since cost and effort will be minimal, a suitable outcome as a direct result of implementation is an expected positive conclusion. Viral messaging has been a natural outgrowth of Web 2.0. Access of this advantage may prove assistive when attempting to achieve an enviable position amongst competition.
The capacity of inter-consumer interaction is defined by Mangold & Faulds as “an extension of traditional word-of-mouth communication” (2009, p. 359). There can be few endorsements as valuable to the company as those made by the customer. Blogging and discussion forums offer excellent opportunity for pronouncement and transference of positive customer response. In this way, buyers can become ambassadors of goodwill to the marketplace. In the past word-of-mouth advertising, while much sought after for its promotional furtherance, was frequently of little impact. In today’s Internet-connected world, this optimal form of sponsorship can be most advantageous.
Sites such as YouTube deliver openings for advocacy via video endorsement (Wade, 2009). Transmission of video over the Internet has become a well-accepted modus of data dissemination amongst users worldwide. Enterprise can avail itself of the chance to broadcast desired information about products and services supplied by video curation Websites globally, thus offering ingress to previously unavailable market segments. Given YouTube’s popularity, firms may leverage this parameter of Web 2.0 to great advantage.
Practicable information sharing for customers has been enabled by Web 2.0-based telecommunications, which in turn endorse collaboration (Knights, 2007). Intelligence shared by contented purchasers within the marketplace may offer opportunity for marketing agenda advancement once customer satisfaction has become manifest. When collaborated by the client base, an opportunity is present for the distribution of viral messaging. In this way Web 2.0 communications applications may offer an increase in the capability of business information sharing. This consideration enlarges when consumers offer their own perspectives in this manner.
Superior customer satisfaction is resultant with incorporation of Web 2.0. Companies such as Dell Computer have used Web 2.0 communication tools to provide betterment of customer service through blogs (Wade, 2009). Customers purchase Dell products online; therefore, communication between client and firm occurs in a virtual manner as well. By using blogs to broadcast necessary and timely information to the client, an interactive dialogue is established. In this way, companies such as Dell may establish a more appropriate client loyalty paradigm, while at the same time creating a fulfilling purchase experience. Enhanced customer satisfaction is often a direct result of enriched customer service.
The exploitation of contests and games conducted online with social media deliver augmented contingencies for consumer interaction while providing increased customer satisfaction as a direct result of client engagement at the same time (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). Contests and games appeal to a wide demographic audience; people of all ages enjoy the challenge of contests and games. This provision of consumer interaction opportunity arises as a call-to-action for productive customer satisfaction effects. By generating attractive occasions, heightened consumer reaction is affected. Incorporation of company willingness to engage the marketplace in such novel approaches significantly augments the process of customer relationship management.
Trust, which can lead to greater customer satisfaction, exists for users of Web 2.0 as “both a micro- and a macro-level phenomenon” (Lai & Turban, 2008, p. 397). Users may safely presume an environment of trust at both the consumer and corporate levels of online communication. Such comfort in employment engenders a conduciveness toward application, leading to a more open discourse between stakeholders. An open discourse becomes foundational in establishment of greater customer satisfaction. In this way, buyers afford notice of their input, giving strength and stability to marketing efforts during the purchase decision-making process.
By means of Web 2.0, the World Wide Web “is positioned as a platform with users in control of their own data” (Skiba, 2006, p. 212). As such, roadblocks to a satisfactory customer experience are no longer an issue; consumers speak in their own voice and of their own volition. An open channel of communication will enable information flow, and provide a platform for the construction of a viable viral communique. Web 2.0 creates within the World Wide Web a medium readily accessible for users to manifest their data in such a way as to give their declaration equal amplitude. Customer satisfaction with purchases may supplement the buying experience, giving it a furthered occurrence.
The engagement and development of Web 2.0 tools has been that “the websites created are almost completely based upon user-generated content, encouraging their own visitors to upload and control the content available on the website” (Brown, 2008, p. 437). User-generated content (UGC) can be beneficial to a firm’s reputation. Unfortunately, marketing managers have no control over publishing by individuals, and so it thusly becomes incumbent on the business to exert whatever influence may be available to shape consumer-to-consumer conversations (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). The firm’s repute avoids tarnish in an agreeable manner, albeit to a limited extent, which is a vast improvement of circumstance often ignored secondary to an inability to affect influence in this context. The importance of UGC to a firm’s ability to interact effectively with both the existing and anticipated client base in an equitable manner cannot be underestimated.
The use of Web 2.0 tools and applications enhance business opportunities. The use of crowdsourced (gestalt knowledge of a group) data poses the possibility of overcoming limitations that typically arise from the decision-making process (Bonabeau, 2009). Circulated intelligence distributed throughout the firm increases available information when needed for decision-making and strategic planning processes. Limited understanding may prove a liability during tactical and premeditated business forecasting. In this way, data mining of crowdsourced intellect proves itself a positive outcome of Web 2.0 employment.
Businesses whose operations are spread across a wide geolocation are finding social networks to be quite useful for communication development (Gibson, 2012). Accessing the collective intelligence of groups beyond customary networks constitutes outreach (Bonabeau, 2009). Historically this disbursement has been problematic for the informed opinion of knowledgeable associates, and outreach became a difficult prospect. Aggrandized business opportunities arise with the access of crowdsourced insight. Web 2.0 tools offer an agreeable alternative in this respect, and prove to be a viable option in the consideration of the vitality of business sustainability, especially during anticipatory formulation phases of development.
Additive aggregation occurs when data is amassed from varying assemblages (Bonabeau, 2009). This can be highly effective when used for perspectives arising from the client base, giving insight to customer demands and desires in product and service research and development. Cumulative statistics offer tangible records whose relevance may not be readily apparent (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). The active process of curating these facts and figures for future use offer security in unanticipated problems and needs that may surface later and when least expected. Providing collateral guarantees for a deferred date generates a wise investment of resources for unforeseen difficulties and obstructions. Information significance may have applicability at varying times, and an accessible record will have bearing if and when such requirements arise.
Entrepreneurship is oftentimes unconsidered when business subsidy factors are deliberated. Social networks can provide entrepreneurs with valuable assets (Jenssen & Koenig, 2002). Asset worthiness may range from experience advisement to financial support, and supplanted in all cases by the network graph, or the collective of contacts developed and maintained within an online social network.
These listed benefits serve as further corroboration and substantiation of the overarching hypothesis hereby being presented. Communication capabilities are augmented through use of blogs, forums, and other Web 2.0 artifices. The ability for the consumer to conduct information sharing online via social networks, blog comments, and forum participation provide opportunity to engender desirable response from the company in the form of word-of-mouth. Viral messaging is a highly effective mode of promotional effort spread through the marketplace by individual buyers. Inter-consumer interaction in blogs and discussion forums may elicit valuable endorsements for the firm. Video broadcast sites such as YouTube provide opportunity for a well-accepted modus of information dissemination. Web 2.0 applications have provided a platform for business information sharing that is advantageous.
Enriched consumer satisfaction follows betterment of customer services, and trust enabled when Web 2.0 use embraced. Dell Computer’s usage of blogs to enhance consumer relationship is a prime example of customer service advancement. Online games and contests render participation from the client base, and are seen as beneficial, delivering optimized customer satisfaction. Trust is a natural outgrowth of Web 2.0 employment, one that additionally strengthens and stabilizes marketing efforts during the purchase evaluation process. UGC is under the direct control of the user, and therefore unable to be diametrically managed. Nevertheless, reputation management by judicious application of effective Web 2.0 contrivance therapy is a viable adjunct.
Cultivated business prospects are the direct result of crowdsourced statistics, access of collective intelligence, and additive aggregation. Crowdsourced data, disseminated via Web 2.0 applications, overcomes limitations otherwise experienced. Businesses whose operations are widely dispersed globally can find social networks useful for communication development during retrieval of communal understanding. Amassed records may have immediate or delayed impact and relevance. Entrepreneurship, many times overlooked, can also benefit greatly from Web 2.0, both in terms of expertise and financial supplementation; each consideration may often be of immediate and critical concern.
Valid, peer-reviewed research supports the notion that social networking sites, blogs, media distribution Websites, and associated appliances can provide positive outcomes for enterprise. Businesses should embrace Web 2.0 tools because of the offerings of increased communication, greater customer satisfaction, and enhanced business opportunities.
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