Building brands with digital in the core (2) – Your customer is taking over!

A second shift in the digital world is the changed customer relationship. Before the world became digital, brands were forced to use media, communication and organization based on a push model. In the digital world your customer is taking over, and the model is changed into a pull model.
A lot of organizational and communication elements of your customer journey are outsourced to the customer. It all started with the first stage of digitalization in the nineties, web 1.0, when your customer could get (better?) informed before he entered the marketing funnel. In the second stage he’s getting influenced by peers and other users of your brand via social media and the participating web (web 2.0 ). In the next stage organization is pushed forward to customer, the customer is put in charge of different parts of the customer journey (and he doesn’t mind!)
Besides customer centric it’s also cost efficient. A self-service model tends to be 8 times cheaper than a full service model.

Case – Brussels Airlines
Airlines, like Brussels Airlines f.i., give the customer full control of their travel journey. It’s starts with the online ticket purchase, followed by the online check-in. You add your boarding card to your phone, and even check your luggage in by yourself (self bagage drop-off). It’s a true self service model. The customer doesn’t mind being in charge when the service (or product) is as frictionless as possible. He’s experiencing your brand when- and however he wants it!  I just love being in control!
In cases like this your customer in not depending on opening hours of a travel agency, the cue at the check-in counter or bagage drop-off, seat selection, …true customer centricity.

Side-effect of this self-service model is that your customer gets used to this self-controlled world, and want that from all the brands he’s using. Doing ‘business’ when-, what- and however your customer wants to.
How is your self-service model today?
Are you putting the customer in charge?
A self-service model can only work in a total frictionless (digital?) environment. The customer journey therefor should be fluent and organic.
Did your brand already check how it could develop a seamless digital customer journey where the customer is in charge?

Do you need to outsource your complete customer journey? Off-course not…In the Brussels Airline case, I still believe it’s for the best that a pilot flies the plane.
BUT, look for a seamless integration of your off-line, on-line and digital experience. Let digital add value both in the off-line and on-line world.

The linked slide-deck explains how you can build a customer centric model, but without losing the human touch! Where something becomes scarce, it becomes valuable.

Additional reading: ‘When digital becomes human’ (2014) – Steven Van Belleghem
(available in Dutch and English)



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Posted in Flat Business

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