[ Editor's Note: Each year, relationship, loyalty and database marketers gather at the Customer Relationship Management Conference (CRMC). C[IQ] will be posting updates here and via our Twitter stream. Check back to read highlights. ]
Brian Solis, analyst at Altimeter Group and author of the just published The End of Business as Usual, kicked off the 2013 CRMC in Chicago today. The subject of his talk: Why the Customer Experience Should be #1 Priority for Retailers.
He began by explaining how today’s (and the future’s) customers are fundamentally wired differently than previous generations: they are digital natives who have forgotten how to engage with print or physical media; they don’t read long chunks of text; they are image-driven and expect interactivity. They want to share, tell, and show on the channel or device of their choice; their needs demand (his word!) brands deliver a personalized, integrated digital experience.
Solis argues that retailers should leverage technology to:
1) Map the new (digitized, social) customer journey
2) Create real customer experiences especially designed for this customer
To this new customer, the shopping experience is more important than product or price. He cited a study that found customers are willing to pay up to 15% more if they have a better customer experience.
For example, why would more sales of Apple products occur at Apple stores, when customers can get them cheaper at Wal-Mart or with more ease through Amazon.com? Because of the customer experience and “wired” opportunities.
As relationship marketers we are writing the rules for how to engage and sell to this new generation of customers with different expectations. Duct-taped, legacy systems that generate one-size-fits-all promotions, and only compete on price are no longer viable.
His parting message:
Go forth and show ‘em how CRM should be done.
Sure. But we suspect what he really meant was what we've been saying for some time: "go forth and show 'em how customer engagement management should be done." Engage 'em, and you'll retain 'em. That's our little asterix to his inspiring talk.