Monday, February 25, 2008

Customer Powered Service -- the next step in The Relationship Economy!

A while back, Bruno Teuber suggested we use something called Customer Powered Service to define service that is shaped by the customer . . . driven from outside the business to inside and designed to make the customer successful, not just to make support staff more efficient. There have been a few instances of the use of this term, but they all seem to focus on the company's reputation, not the customer's needs and desires. Teuber suggested that Customer Powered Service was a new model that empowers customers, not just internal service personnel. It helps customers achieve their goals, and it optimizes service towards making the best use of customers' time.

I think it's time to revisit the use of this term -- not as a buzzword, but as a mantra.

Customer Powered Service should be seen as a return to the mindset of the marketplace. It is the empowering of the customer, but it doesn't stop there. We have to realize (and make sure the companies we are dealing with realize) that they really aren't going to be successful if they don't provide us with what we need (and are asking for). When we speak of Customer Powered Service, it's not just about the customer -- it's also about the service!

Scott Allen recently noted that we have been moving closer and closer to the point that the customer is really the one in charge of the relationship, not the vendor. How does that work? Customer Powered Service!

Mark Kerrigan established a contact within #84 of the United States’ most profitable companies, and they (the founders) weren’t going to let that slip away. How did he do that? Customer Powered Service!

Jay Deragon observed that the best kind of sale comes from existing customers either buying more or referring someone else to your business. What is he talking about? Customer Powered Service!

Doc Searls, at Harvard's Berkman Center, is knee deep in VRM, or Vendor Relationship Management, the reciprocal of CRM or Customer Relationship Management. It provides customers with tools for engaging with vendors in ways that work for both parties. How are they going to build that? Customer Powered Service!

Pete Blackshaw suggested that if customer service and consumer affairs professionals want more budget, more respect, more leeway to nurture meaningful consumer loyalty -- and hence positive word-of-mouth and CGM creation -- they need to make their case, and do so now at a time when the resource-rich marketers are dotting every third word in speeches and memos with the word "conversation." How can they do that? Customer Powered Service!

The March 3 issue of Business Week, in an article entitled “Consumer Vigilantes“, provides us with a look at the creative ways that "we the people" have started using social media to address the issues when we want to avoid dealing with the phone menu (press one if you really want to do something about the problem).

This Thursday, February 28, 2008, join is at the Business Week webcast on The Impact of Social Media on Selling.

It promises to be a glimpse into the future of Customer Powered Service!

What do you think?

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