The Age of the Customer

There can be no doubt that we’re now firmly in the age of the customer. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s also now the only way to be in a long-term sustainable business.

Our digital world means that few companies have the luxury of deciding where, when and how its customers connect with them. It’s now the customers themselves that chose this. The result being that businesses are in a race to mould and engage themselves around the needs of their customers. However, despite this, many brands are still failing to migrate beyond the basic superficial service and customer satisfaction verbiage that they publish in order to placate their marketing departments.

Succeeding in the age of the customer

In today’s multi-channel and always-connected world, companies of all sizes now need to ensure that they embrace their stated brand values and win the trust and respect of their customers.

They can no longer take the arrogant or ‘Big Boy’ approach and treat customers with disrespect or contempt.  They are discovering very quickly that if they do it’s not only bad for business, but it can be disastrous for their bottom line and share value.

Social media has given customers a louder voice as well as more power over their relationships with businesses. This media offers customers a significant amount of power and freedom to spread the word about their frustrations with particular companies and increasing numbers of consumers are choosing to vent their dissatisfaction in this manner.

Reputations that may have taken decades to build, can be destroyed in days or even hours, if not addressed properly, or not taken seriously.

A study by NewVoiceMedia found that 31 percent of people post online after they have a bad experience with an organisation. These complaints can quickly spread through social networks and could end up costing firms millions in lost revenue, and the loss of hundreds of transactions. 

What ultimately will be good for all of us, is that social media is forcing businesses to create comprehensive Customer Experience (CX) strategies that provide friendly, honest and engaging service.

In the twenty-first century a company’s reputation is essential to its long-term profitability and survival.  In fact, it is a company’s reputation aligned with their brand that is quickly becoming the significant factor in generating growth and new business. A recent study by Dimensional Research found that consumers are nearly always influenced by online reviews. Eighty-six percent of respondents said they had been swayed by negative reviews, and 90 percent stated that positive reviews had led them to purchase from a specific brand. 

The lesson to be learned

Bad service, and poor customer care will no longer be an option for success in the future.  It has become increasingly essential that organisations revisit their strategy and take positive steps to provide exceptional service to every customer.  

An important point; this equally applies to those companies in the B2B space who are also finding they need to focus on delivering consistent quality and service, as the key decision-makers who sign the orders are increasingly relying on industry reviews and reputation to narrow their choices.

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