Gone are the days of mass market advertising that appealed to homogenized tastes and offered few product choices. Companies now focus on the total customer experience. We not only want our customers/clients to be satisfied, we want them to be so satisfied that they always choose us over our competitors. This is when we truly start to feel like we are winning.
So, what caused the shift in power from companies to customers over the years? Why do companies now think that their customers/clients are always right?
The answer is actually a culmination of several developments in modern history:
- Enactment of consumer safety laws:
- Consumers now have a legal standing to demand safer products
- Companies that produce dissatisfactory products risk legal action from consumer and potential financial losses
- 1990s obsession with customer satisfaction
- Companies became obsessed with collecting survey data about their customers’ satisfaction and using the collected data to differentiate themselves from their competitors
- Access to the Internet
- Consumers started to demand more transparency from companies
- Consumers drive the conversation and companies do not have the luxury to ignore people
- Focus on customization and personalization
- Most companies are using customization and personalization as competitive advantages
- One size fits all is rarely acceptable
It looks like customers are always right because history is on their side. The tide has turned and they have the upper hand. They drive the conversations. Companies have no option but to come along for the ride.