Although the term was reportedly first mentioned back in 1999, Web 2.0 really became part of the global agenda in 2004. Since then, Web 2.0 has been one of the most talked about phenomena in the industry – especially in the last two to three years. And still, most companies are still struggling with how to grasp this phenomenon. Many, if not most, are still asking themselves how they can take advantage of Web 2.0 and turn this "thing" into something that can benefit their business.
And the common denominator for most is this: they are asking the questions – but they still haven't found the answer.
So – it's been more than five years since Web 2.0 and "social media" appeared on the agenda, and in those five years only very few companies have been able to make any real use of it. In the world of technology, five years is a life span these days. In the world of technology, something that fails to mature or produce tangible solutions and products in five years would most often be called a "fad" or a "flop" or a "failure". Arguably, Web 2.0 is not about technology – indeed this is one of the key misconceptions attached to the term – but regardless, five years is a long time for a term to stay alive if only so very few are able to make a buck on it.
Without any tangible benefits in the past five years for the majority, we have arrived at a junction where it makes sense to declare:
WEB 2.0 IS DEAD
If Web 2.0 is no more, that would leave us all with a sense of emptiness and an eagerness to fill this void by focusing on what's next. And, luckily for all of us, there is no reason for despair. The old "king" may be dead – but a new one is ready to take its place:
LONG LIVE ACCR
Today's economic climate has highlighted the need for good Customer Care to the extent that many companies now think of it as not only a key differentiator between companies but as an invaluable tool to capture new markets and new customers. Fortunately, new technology is transforming the way Customer Care can be provisioned. New ways to apply customer analytics, virtual call centers, multiple modes of communication, Web 2.0 and virtual worlds are changing how companies reach new customers and keep existing customers engaged. IDC refers to these new tools as "Advanced Customer Care and Retention" or ACCR.
The observant reader would have noticed that I just mentioned Web 2.0 as part of ACCR. And consequently, I'd be contradicting myself – for if the former were dead, then how could it be part of the latter? (The not too observant reader might have noticed also. The declaration was in all capital letters after all).
And you'd be quite right in saying that. In fact, I take it back: Web 2.0 is not dead. It has merely evolved into something that companies around the globe can finally understand: one of many tools that enable businesses to achieve goals. And a very important tool too. In the case of ACCR, Web 2.0 and social media become tools that enable businesses to listen to and engage with their customers. Businesses should do exactly the same using other means such as face-to-face conversations, good use of IP Contact Centers and so forth – but Web 2.0 enables customer engagement on a much larger scale than ever before.
So, again – I take it back. Web 2.0 is not dead but is evolving into something truly useful for businesses. With ACCR, it's fast becoming a cornerstone of Customer Care and will eventually take center stage in many other vital areas within businesses.