Keep an eye on my behaviour. It will pay off.
As a consumer, I am aware of my own value to companies and shops that want me to buy their products and services. Actually, I have probably always been aware of it, but now it seems much easier to get distracted during shopping. Online, I start looking at something else, and just leave my shopping cart. In person, I move on to something else in the shopping centre. In many ways, I am a nightmare for marketers, even though I am one myself.
There is no question that I have become a more difficult customer. This behaviour has happened online. Over the internet, I am at my most impatient, straightforward and busy. I use adblockers to make my experience simpler, and cut out some of the rubbish. And I am not alone.
In smooth digitized transactions, everything is fixed immediately because my data has already been saved by the shop. Experiencing these transactions may affect my expectations of others. In other words, I get impatient when things do not run smoothly, and tend to abandon the experience and go elsewhere instead.
Most people agree that a high level of customer service is essential to achieving good customer experience and loyalty. But most companies find it difficult to improve the service beyond knowledgeable and forthcoming sales assistants—human or digital—able to handle inquiries and transactions. There is a step change from this to the point where sales assistants know how to approach customers and can understand their needs without formal explanations. This requires customer insight that can only be achieved through an analytical approach to data.
Know me – but stop bothering me!
But companies also need to be careful. Although I expect recognition and tailored attention, I don’t want you to be either creepy or random. For example, I love Chardonnay, but really hate Sauvignon Blanc. Last week, I was offered a special deal on a box of Chardonnay. I was considering buying, when I received a similar offer on Sauvignon Blanc, which rather put me off the idea. And if I got a special offer on Chardonnay every other day, I would also find that off-putting.
God forbid that you ask too many questions about my interests. I do not have the time for customer surveys or to rate my experience. I HAVE PAID. What more do you want? And take care not to keep too much information about me, because soon the EU General Data Protection Regulation will come into force. You must then have a complete declaration of my personal data in your customer system, and I may well ask you to forget everything you know about my recent purchase of marshmallows and cheap frozen pizzas.
I admit that I am not an easy customer. I am a challenge, and I am not the only one. But I also know that some companies are much better at managing me as a customer. The app Vivino, for example, is an endless source of inspiration and impulse buying of wine, because the algorithms have gradually learned what I like. Storytel, which I got to know under the name of Mofibo, has complete control of my book-buying and reading matter. I am also a huge fan of Danske Guide from Danske Bank, which sends push messages to my mobile phone based on my behaviour. All three organisations have required innovative thinking and commitment to data-driven customer insight, but they have learned to please me. And it pays off.
Watch me. I will be a difficult customer, but I promise that it will be worthwhile if you take the time to get to know me.
May I recommend you also read the post by my colleague Ashutosh Kumar has written about The continuing quest for customer-centricity.