“Our customers are complaining that we’re not providing service the way they want. We’ve done everything we can to do to respond with customer service they request. What else can we do?” Gone are the days of Henry Ford’s philosophy that we can give the customer any color they want as long as that color is black.
Omni-Channel, also referred to as Customer Engagement, is more about customers than it is about products and services. The customer is now always “connected” and wants to be in 100% control of their decisions with your products or services. How can they be in “control” of your processes while you still run your business profitably? That’s the Omni-Channel dance we talked about in the previous post.
Companies continue to talk about Omni-Channel as a way to get products or services to market. This seems to be a bit short sighted. Is it about the product/service or is it about the customer? In previous posts we’ve tried to make it clear it’s about the customer and more importantly, a never-ending cycle of customers. So if we talk about the Omni-Channel, we focus on the product or service. If we talk about the “Omni-Customer”, we focus on the customer. This makes much more sense because then, it’s not about the product/service, it’s about the customer.
We’ve gone through an evolution of customer terminology since the 1980s from; Customer Centric, Customer Focused, Customer Driven, etc. to now Omni-Channel. If the term Omni-Channel/Customer is really all about the customer, then we should also make clear that our goal with the new Omni Channel/Customer is that they lead us to the types of products/services they want. Therefore, the Omni Channel/Customer is really a “Customer Led” philosophy.
Markets have been moving for decades toward an Omni-Customer / Customer-Led focus. It brings us back to where they should remain focused: what the customer wants, how we get it to them on time, in a seamless manner, and at a price they are willing to pay. The talk of channels and delivery then, is just one small tool in the new Omni-Customer / Customer-Led discussion, a universe away from Henry Ford. Now it is the customer who controls the market. The better your company can respond to customer demand, and at the speed at which those demands can change, the more you will be in a position to truly compete in today’s market.
We’ll go further down this road of what it means to be Omni-Customer or Customer-Led.