It’s not enough to just have satisfied customers, argues Mitch Incoll from OMD. Brands need to go above and beyond to achieve customer nirvana.
Recently, my friend and colleague Carl Mclean, head of insights at OMD, and I have been on a bit of a research pilgrimage. We tried to better understand the future of media and communications, where it is all heading and how brands can make customers happy in this ever evolving, more digitised world.
The results aren’t going to blow your mind. Sorry about that… but know this, they should serve as a reminder that brands can and should be doing better as we head into 2015.
Our research reminded us that we have all of the tools and capabilities at our disposal today. It reminded us that brands for the most part are satisfied with satisfied customers. Now I don’t know whether it’s a strategy thing or a GEN Y mentality, but I’m not satisfied with satisfied. I want nirvana and your customers want it too.
What is customer nirvana? Nirvana is the highest state of happiness a customer can possibly attain, a place of pure perfection, emotional elation and liberation. It’s more than being satisfied with a brand or simply relevant, it’s being loved.
Naturally, it’s not easy to achieve or sustain through advertising. It’s bloody hard work and it is radically different to what most brands are doing now. To reach nirvana, brands need to become more customer centric, adding value or ‘usefulness’ within the fabric of consumers lives. Here, we have identified three layers involved: greater convenience, greater choice and greater control. This is our vision of nirvana, with customers having the very best choices available to them when, where and how they need them.
As the yogis amongst you may know, achieving nirvana is a question of practice, practice, practice. We have the tools, it’s just a matter of continued and applied expertise in how we use them. Mobile epitomises convenience for consumers. Delivering utility here seems simple from a consumer perspective – and of course is pretty challenging for us. It’s about the right products, hitting the right consumers in the right format at the right time/place in the purchase journey. Brands need to understand where devices fit into the purchase journey, place their digital assets with social and have a data collection to facilitate targeting.
Continuing upwards on the ascension to enlightenment, we’ll move beyond producing content focused on our own offers to enabling consumers to realise utility in enjoying the best deals and offers across a range of products and services. This can be about aggregating our collection of sundry loyalty programmes so there can be an automatic update whenever a purchase is made to our bank accounts, irrespective of whether a card is presented. It can also be about geo-targeted suggestion of offers based on our locality – influencing our shopping habits on the fly.
Moving ever upwards we come to a point where consumer karma is achieved though empowerment and consumer realisation of the value of their data in value exchange. Here consumers will electively opt in and out to balance off the value of their personal data against privacy concerns in order to reap the utility benefits and achieve nirvana. Brands and their partners will develop the resources that will enable consumers to do this.
The winners in this future nirvana will be brands who don’t attempt to push consumers to ascendance themselves, but collaborate with their partners to build out an enmeshed ecosystem that brings together quite disparate back end systems while still building to a single customer point of view. Nirvana supported by a form of collaboration economy.