Employees are able to collaborate and share what they know with other employees and learn what they don't know about customers. To go further, these social applications can be opened up so parts of the them (idea management) can help customers provide feedback, make reviews, or share ideas on how to improve products and services. This works. Take a look at Amazon.
Social networking, social applications, web 2.0, collaboration tools have become powerful influencers on and off the web. People are sharing information (text, images, videos) about everything - including your products and services.
"Don't be scared or rattled by this development. Survey after survey has established that buyers trust each other more than any other source in helping them make informed buying decisions. MediaPost noted that in 1977, 67 percent of people polled in a research study said they were moved to take some sort of action by word-of-mouth influence. In 2003, that number had risen to 92 percent. Pollsters and magazines like Consumer Reports have for many years taken on the dirty work of telling us what customers think. The social internet has simply stripped out the
middleman, making it possible for people to converse directly with each other quickly and in their own words." From My Custome, "Customers control your message (and why that's a good thing)", by Phil Gillin.
Businesses and corporations are using these new technologies to improve customer services, work flow, idea management, information sharing, information flow, project management, education, and training.
So, stop reading about social software applications and collaboration tools. Unleash your imagination and start experimenting with them. The real value and power of social software can only be appreciated with hands-on experience. Try this, a short-term, pilot project to discover and evaluate solutions based on results.