Big data is the flavour of the month and venture capital is flocking to the latest business intelligence platforms. I find it ironic that as our capacity to track and campaign in ever finer slices has evolved the same cannot be said for service delivery - and as observed by Hector Pottie of Method, London, "brand is experience, experience is brand".
Most businesses in my experience see each transaction as being an isolated event. They play with blunt instruments like loyalty cards to give the illusion of individuality in service delivery. But the customer knows (and you know as well) that it's just another mass marketing method.
The reality is that we all like to feel special - we all like to be recognised as being different - as just not another member of the anonymous herd. And the psychology of gift giving is that the impact is 'so' much greater when it is unexpected. Remember that feeling when you were standing at the Qantas counter mentally bracing yourself for 14 hours of seat 53K and being told that you have been upgraded to business class. In that moment didn't you think Qantas was the greatest airline ever created?
In the 1-1 industry we are in a great place to uniquely respond to our customer to reject the one size fits all mass service approach. Because there are so many unique interactions that flood the inbound order stream every day:
Each and every instance is an important occasion in the relationship between your brand and your customer. But what do we do about uniquely dealing with the customer in each of these instances? How do we make our customer feel different, special and appreciated? The reality is in almost every case, the answer is nothing. The customer may be a 30% off coupon dropped into their package and a follow up survey, but that's the limit of it.
Being truly responsive to the customer and fostering a unique 1-1 relationship is all about building into your very corporate DNA the ability to interact with the customer in a 1-1 way.
An efficient, scaled business dealing with customers 1-1... now wouldn't that be something.
Andrew Smith is Managing Director of Pictureworks Group, the developers of ZenSmart
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