Social media as important as face-to-face, say CEOs

Social media is set to become one of the most important forms of customer interaction, according to a new IBM study of more than 1,700 CEOs across 18 industries.

Last Updated: 07 Jun 2012
The IBM 2012 Global CEO Study quizzed business leaders on their attitudes to customer service, social media and human capital. The answer, natch, was that they were all very important. But the most interesting revelation was that 57% of CEOs from the UK and Ireland reckon that social media will be as important as face-to-face time with customers in three to five years time.

Face-to-face in 2017? Ha! We’ll all be sending holograms - or clones - to business meetings by then, anyway.

The report also looked into the spending habits of CEOs. Some 75% of business leaders would throw fistfuls of cash at ‘understanding’ customers. They reckon it’s the most important area of business investment. Market research agencies across the land will whoop for joy at the news.

On the innovation front, technology was voted ‘the most important external force impacting organisations’, even more so than economic and market conditions. Facebook:1, Recession: Nil. And CEOs reckon that technology will dictate the future of collaboration, with knock-on effects on staff retention and effectiveness. Basically, 80% of business leaders thinking flexible working is going to be hugely important.

Which brings us neatly back to those holograms. MT’s question is this: how many CEOs will deliberately make their holographic selves more attractive, eh? Maybe IBM will get to that in its next survey…

Check out the nifty IBM infographic (download link on the right)

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