A New Generation of Connected Customers and Employees

Posted on June 29, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The connected generation has different expectations than the rest of us.  They expect their customer experience to be delivered in person, and on every device they use to access our companies.  When we don’t provide the expected services, they notice and they tell their network.  Likewise, when we provide outstanding services, their community hears about that, too.  And they hear about it instantly.

Brian Solis, author of The End of Business as Usual and principal analyst at Altimeter Group, wrote about this.  In a recent article appearing in the Washington Post, Corporations Meet Generation C,  Brian noted

You’re at a concert and you notice nearly everyone in the audience is either looking down at their phone or holding it up in the air. A question slowly dawns on you: “What’s the point?”… While these people may seem distracted, they are, in fact, very much a part of the occasion. Multitasking is a way of life for them, but there’s something more to it than just a love affair with smartphones and tablets. These “always on” audiences share real-world experiences as they happen with friends and acquaintances who, in turn, respond in real time.

This increasingly empowered generation of connected customers, which I often refer to as Generation-C (C is for customer), is changing the face of engagement and is re-writing the book for how businesses market and serve them in the future….Today, customers realize that social networks give them influence over how other consumers view a company and they are learning how to influence companies to listen, respond and resolve problems directly. At the center of this evolving customer landscape are shared experiences….Suddenly, the audience with an audience becomes a formidable foe or ally for any organization. As such, the proactive investment in positive experiences now represents a modern and potentially influential form of consumer marketing and service.

Brian has nicely highlighted the reasons executives cannot afford to ignore connected customers.  Managing the customer experience must include plans for reaching and servicing the connected customer.  As this group grows, and their expectations for instant customer experience on smart phones, tablets, and other devices that access global networks grows, plans must be put in place for meeting these expectations.

But it also begs the question about how this will impact internal audiences.  The connected generation are connected to employees and suppliers-in fact they may also be our suppliers and employees.  While executives have never spent the resources on the employee experience that they spend on the customer experience, this new generation further blurs the lines.   Building a plan for the customer experience of the connected customer can no longer be done in isolation.

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