David Lee King asked me to write a foreword to his upcoming book titled "Designing The Digital Experience". I got to see an early draft of the book and it looks promising. Most of the focus of David's book is on designing digital experiences, but in the foreword—I take a step back and examine the relationship between "experience" (physical or digital) and the social phenomenon. Here's a sample of from what I wrote. You'll have to wait for the book to read all of it.
"So if you went out and bought this book, you’re heading in the right direction. The reason why social networks are such a big deal these days is that they act as both the great equalizer and amplifier. Customers who have a crappy experience with a company’s products or services now have a virtual arsenal of communication methods to be heard. Often times the search engine's powerful algorithms (Google) finds their content and links to their complaints. When a certain “power consumer” couldn’t cancel his AOL account despite several pleas with the voice on the other end of the phone, he decided to take matters into his own hands and record the horrendous experience. What resulted was a PR nightmare for AOL that started online, gained momentum and was quickly reported on several national news stations. What starts digital becomes something much bigger, and it all starts with an experience.
Yes, the social revolution needs to be understood, but what needs to be driven home even more so is that companies who continue to deliver mediocre or bad experiences will find themselves in a downward spiral, fueled by a digital revolution that has now empowered all of us. On the other hand, companies who figure out new ways to delight customers will have brighter futures and consumers who are more than happy to do their marketing for them. It sounds simple, and common sense because it is—but the reality is that few companies have customer service baked into their DNA, and culture. The ones that don’t may choose to go about business as usual but will have to risk dealing with a better-educated and empowered consumer class who is being influenced by the most influential source out there. People just like them."