Now we put up Facebook pages and plot to get “liked”; we do fewer of those
Timeout: Ultimately it is this simple, but the implications are incredibly profound. Earth shaking. All those corporate customer service policies and procedures (and their associated infrastructure) are lined up to service the traditional un-empowered customer. Yesterday, all you needed were a few people to interface with the agency and a large call center that architecturally resembled a Temple Grandin-designed slaughterhouse. You could outsource it. This stuff does not work for digitally savvy customers. They don’t watch TV, don’t read print, skip commercials, avoid paid ads, don’t bother with 800-numbers, and express their feelings both bad and, well bad, using Twitter. None of our policies, procedures, infrastructure, or other junk works for these folks. It’s a corporate Betamax dilemma: (1) most executives think their “Betamax” marketing and customer service infrastructures are working just fine, (2) the “Betamax” owners know that ain’t so. (3) So, do you go out and buy a VHS player or… (4) cobble something together and wait for the equivalent of DVD, Blu-ray, or Netflix to come along. Not clear yet.Who’s wreaking all this damage to our yesterday solutions? To quote one of our Digital Summit participants, it’s basically anyone with a pulse and access to the internet. Emerging Digital Service Customers (EDSCs) go to the web for information, education, and decision-making. In as few clicks as possible, they know everything they need to know and become empowered:
- costs & savings,
- locations, and
- what others think about the service.
Dealers are not in the sweet spot of any EDSC target – there’s just a lot fewer of them inside a default 10-mile search radius than there are independent service providers. Yesterday’s rope-a-dope customer
Timeout: Worse yet, what if he’s really not a flim-flam man? Here’s the real American Tragedy. He could be a dealer service advisor quoting double-netted parts prices for Genuine parts on a 150,000 mile junker, using warranty-driven labor rates that are posted on the wall, following inspection procedures that he heard about at NADA that were endorsed by his/her field rep, and relying on training he got in high school because none’s available from the OEM. DOA.Bottom Line – It’s 1981, again. That was the year of the first JD Power Survey and represents the backbone of Toyota’s reputation for quality and customer satisfaction. The critical IQS survey came later, representing a nexus for mass customer opinions. This profoundly changed our industry and who was what on the game board. OK, Consumer Reports helped, too. JD Power is another Betamax artifact. They just don’t know it yet. If reputation is still important to this new generation customer – and it is – it is being very differently defined. The rules are different. Winners will understand this sooner. Losers will defend their tight budgets and hold on to their Betamax customer retention strategies until it is too late. The game board is about to change again. It might just be those importers from Detroit that now have the advantage. Again.