The customer is no longer king, the customer is a knave!
With a multi-channel mind set, mobile tech and (brand) attention span of a goldfish, the concept of earning customer ‘loyalty’ today is arguably as old hat as ‘posting’ holiday postcards or ‘sharing’ a bag of sweets!
As David Reed (FIDM) comments in the latest International Journal of the IDM “consumers have not only taken a lot of control away from marketers, they are increasingly behaving in far more random ways than were ever assumed”.
Consumers flit between channels like Goldilocks until they find one that’s “just right”. They spend endless hours investigating products and services on a company or aggregator website one day only to go on and make a seemingly spontaneous purchase on some completely different website on the next. Having by in large failed to predict the present, never mind the future, companies today are wrestling with a new era of ‘customer incidence’. Customer incidence charts the trajectory of a customer’s proactive interaction with a brand, regardless of channel, through its orbit of direct influence whatever the consumer’s purpose – research, commentary, purchase, service, renewal or complaint.
The companies that are succeeding today and that will go on succeeding are those who recognise that ‘customer experience’ is a daisy chain of moments of delight or ‘incidentals’ at each and every interaction on a customer’s trajectory through that brand’s ‘halo’ of channels. They recognise too that ‘customer incidence’ charts the many trajectories, long or short, the consumer makes through many brand orbits, including competitors, that are also delivering moments of delight.
But moreover, these successes will be grounded in the customer service operations these companies have established, supported and empowered by tried, tested and fine-tuned people and process methodologies underpinned by technology solutions that offer near A.I. analyses and insight that can offer something as close to customer telepathy as it’s possible to do.