The customer landscape is shifting as digital technologies enable new ways to conduct business and new business models.
Few would have dreamed, even as recently as 10 years ago, the extent to which customers are now connecting with businesses online, buying products and services online, raising and resolving issues online, and sharing their views on the quality of the experience with their own online communities.
The relationship between businesses and their customers is radically transforming as both parties look to find the balance point between clicks and bricks and what works best for them. This is creating new winners and losers.
But whether it is high tech, high touch, or a blend – the customer experience remains the thing that matters most and for business, customer-centricity is so easy to say, so hard to do and so critically important.
In an environment of change, one way to keep all of this work anchored in the real world is to make sure we think about the needs of the customer and what type of experience we are creating each time they interact with us.
When I’m the customer, I’m not thinking so much about whether the channel is digital or physical; I just want it to work.
When I am the customer, my expectations are clear; here is what I expect:
Firstly, I am not looking for friendship. Like anybody I appreciate courtesy but good manners should not make up for not getting the basics right. I know that’s hard when you are dealing with complexity but when I’m the customer that is your problem and not mine. Make it simple and efficient to do business with me.
Secondly, there will be times when I need your help, when your product or service isn’t doing what I expected it to do. Be there in those times. And make it easy for me to reach out to you; please don’t force me to navigate your organization to find the person that can help me. Don’t make your problems or complexity my problem!
And finally, I expect you to look after my interests. When I am the customer, I take this expectation personally. I expect to be respected as an individual, not treated as part of a segment, and I want and expect a genuine and authentic interaction.
As a customer and a business person I am energised by the incredible pace of the new ideas and disruptive thinking in our hyper-connected world. We must continue to utilise technology to enable new ideas and ways to do business while staying grounded in the personal dimension as well. It is not easy, but it is worth it.