As we try to come out of one of the worst economic climates in history, I believe companies are not recognising that we are constantly changing – it is the 21st Century and we are seeing that customers and employees are equally the thought leaders that need to be listened to and understood. Customers cannot merely be sold to in the traditional sense of the word – advertising campaigns that try to push a product or service on to a customer to buy will not work. Because technology has enabled all of us to connect and find out the information we need – companies cannot make sweeping statements and generalisations. The UK supermarket adverts in the run up to Christmas is a case at hand – what makes these supermarkets think that women are going to be up all night baking and roasting. Clearly the supermarket advertisers are trying to portray women in such a light that showcases them as people who will be buying an abundance of food and other goods and of course will do so at their store!
Companies need to realise that women either indirectly or directly have an impact on the buying decision both from a B-2-C and B-2-B perspective, and equally are just as informed and educated to make a decision as to which company they want to buy from. Certainly those women will want to buy from those companies that they feel empathise with who they really are; as the role of women continue to change and evolve – some of whom are breadwinners within the home.
Customers and Employees don’t need a PhD and 30 years of experience to determine what their needs are and who they want to buy from. Trust has waned in a variety of industries and because that trust has gone customers are not buying from those companies they used to buy from. Employees are not as productive as they used to be which is severing the opportunity to engage with customers.
The next 5 years will be crucial to whether companies can #SustainBusiness in an ever complex and changing global and interconnected economy.
There are 5 changes that should happen within organisations to keep up with the thought leader – customers and employees:
- A rethink of their 20th Century processes and systems to bring them into the 21st Century.
- Engaging with the Generation X and Y employees that will look to have more of an impact on the company’s purpose and values.
- Enable a flatter organisational structure and less of a hierarchical approach i.e. not leaving decisions completely at the hands of the CEO.
- Inspire customers and employees to learn more about the organisation
- Establish collaborative partnerships in order to sell more products or services.
The outlined article was adapted from a response to a LinkedIn posting by Colin Shaw – 7 Predictions for the Customer Experience Industry in 2013.