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I was listening to a lecture on traditional marketing and the 4p’s of marketing and I want to contend that the 4c’s of customer experience are going to replace the 4p’s in importance in an ever-expanding market where products are commoditized and variety of choice and limited time lead to the rules of traditional marketing changing.
So, let’s talk about the 4c’s of Customer Experience:
1. Customers – This is where it starts in the outside-in thinking organization. Always start with the customer’s needs, wants and emotions. Ask how he wants to feel about himself and then design your brand interactions to evoke those emotions.
2. Connection – The need for connection is the number one human need. In order for your brand interactions to result in a connection, they need to be real and authentic. Abandon the scripts and the rules that dehumanize interactions. Call centre staff are trained to operate like robots and then we are surprised when customers hate call centres. Connection cannot happen without emotion and without mutual compassion.
3. Colleagues – This is what the Ritz Carlton calls its staff – the word staff has been banned. Employees that serve customers are such a vital ingredient of the customer experience being one of delight or disappointment that we cannot ignore their need for connection, acknowledgement and achieving a sense of purpose through their service to the customer. By chasing service volumes and aggressive targets to meet service level agreements, the connection is often lost.
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4. Care – So how do we make both Customers and Colleagues care about each other and care about our brand? This is where real, remarkable customer experiences are created. I believe this care is achieved through a carefully designed culture, supported by inspirational leadership and a constant focus on the needs and desires of the customer, not only with regard to service but also to ensure that the entire value proposition including the product is continuously scrutinized to ensure it continues to meet the customer’s needs. Care also refers to what happens in that moment when things go wrong. You know they will go wrong, you just often don’t know when and who will be the colleague who will bear the brunt of an angry customer. It is our duty to enable and empower our people to know how to absorb the fury and win the heart of that angry, wronged soul.
So that is my take on the 4c’s that continue to overtake the 4p’s in terms of prominence in a very demanding and fast consumer-driven world!