The customer is always right…it’s a slogan anyone in the customer service industry is well aware of not to mention the trials and tribulations that go along with living up to it. But if you thought that phrase was passé, then look out for what’s in store. We are entering an age where the customer is more empowered than ever before. She has before her instant access to our product/service reviews, can switch to a competitor before the blink of an eye and the clincher…she can take her experience with us and make it go viral on a social networking website!
So as marketers should we live in trepidation of this empowered ‘I want it all and I want it now’ customer. Well, most definitely not! It just means we need to rewire ourselves for a demanding and challenging future. In a world where 1.4 billion plus people are in social networks already, personal and indeed business boundaries are constantly getting redefined. 15 billion web enabled devices have created a universe of intelligence everywhere and your business must now operate for an always on world.
What should next generation businesses look to be doing then? A Competitive Strategies Report from Forrester aptly covers it when it suggests to marketers to spend less on brand advertising, product distribution, and supplier lock-in and rather invest in sales methods tied to buyers’ processes, content-led marketing, contextualized customer experiences and real-time actionable data.
At the very outset, we will have to think how to synchronize the customer experience across all channels keeping the customer at the epicenter. Specifically we will have to develop omnichannel capabilities to engage the new age customer – the millennials. We will have to create and amplify a consistent message and then orchestrate the conversation wherever we find the customer – online or in the store. This will call for marketers to step out of their comfort zones and up their tech and data quotient. It will demand a blend between the art and science of marketing. It will herald the arrival of a new kind of CMO who can cope with the radical shift in the marketing landscape. Welcome to the age of the customer where the customer is not only always right but is omnipresent!
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