Ah, the customer is back, some people in management and consulting say, as if the customer had been in a Sabbatical in the Bahamas or Mars. Some of the renewed music on customer-centrism is plain desperation from people who have had a relatively easy time just playing lip services.
Why is it that every time that a management ‘next thing’ appears is usually a bit behind already.
Customer centrism 2016 version includes the 2015 version and the 2014 and… But it also must include the global, digitalized, borderless, ruthless, scary, often dangerous, certainly powerful population of netroots. The term is used mainly as for ‘activism in the net’. It has taken the word from the model of ‘grassroots’. The grass is nor green anymore but clouded. In the net.
(If everything is now in the cloud, isn’t it funny that the expression ‘having the head in the clouds’ means not having a clue of what is going on? )
Many so called digital strategies in corporations of some size are still a website strategy, plus a chat, plus a mother of all portals, plus we will tell you what is good for you. Many of those are still mistakenly ‘building an audience’ as opposed to building a community. They swap the traditional bombardment channels (TV, print, for example) for social media, digital presence and ‘digital real state’. Many of those digital strategists sitting in 11th floor of headquarters, perhaps next to, or, dare I say ‘integrated’ into the marketing department, may have not even heard of the word ‘netroots’. Well, I suggest you drop the Harvard MBA marketing module and learn political/social/net/cloud activism, because this is where the power of large scale adoption, large scale love, large scale trust or large scale war resides.
So, yes, customer centrism renewal without understanding how netizens organise netroots will be again a catching up that does not quite catches anything. We need to unbundle customer-centrism in 2016 to perhaps repackage it in different words. Suddenly, the new market may be ‘the cloud’. And then what?
I believe that whether you are a leader in a vaccine business, or transportation, local government or multinational all things operations, to say ‘I know my costumers’ (you know the ones to be costumer centric) is a risky statement. There are the obvious, the less obvious, the invisible influencers and then the ones in the cloud (potentially) organised in netroots. You customer next door, even the one that pays the bill, my love you, congratulations. Your reputation however may be hanging in the cloud. For once, sticking your head there, may make a lot of sense.
By the way, hire somebody with digital activism/cloud/netroots organizer/campaigner experience who knows nothing about your business and a lot about digital-enabled social movements.