Constant monitoring and real time response is a mantra that is being repeated everywhere as a best practice in business. However, that may not be what your customers are really looking for. Is there a danger of micromanagement leading to a myopia that misses the bigger picture?
When we first learned to drive, we were so conscious of every action that we took, that our ability to steer a car and drive well was limited. As we mastered the skills, we learned to look further ahead and in so doing became much safer drivers. Indeed we stopped worrying about driving and spent more time thinking about the things that were important to our lives.
Today everywhere I look there seems to be another consultancy or agency perpetuating the idea that constant monitoring and immediacy of response is the way forward. This creates an environment where we attempt to measure every single customer interaction with our brand and influence it in real time.
Let's consider this from a customer point of view, it's impossible to have any kind of digital interaction without being bombarded with feedback questionnaires, alternative solutions to whatever you are meant to be trying to do and suggestions and attempts to attract our attention away from whatever task we are actually doing. Whilst in principle we are open to having personalised offers that are better suited to our needs. Again in principle we are open to having our needs met quickly and more easily and who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to save money but .........
The noise of the cacophony of relentless pursuit leads us to do what all sane human beings do and this is to start implementing coping strategies. Some of these are automatic as the subconscious processing part of our brain does what it needs to do and filters out the irrelevant babble bombarding us. Others are more deliberate such as using ad blocking and choosing to avoid channels that are overloaded with attempts to communicate with us. Perhaps the most worrying trend is the deliberate misinformation that we provide as part of the feedback in an attempt either to protect some privacy or being less than honest about what we actually do. This does throw up a fundamental question about the reliability of the input into big data analytics and the implications that this has.
As Churchill once remarked that failure to learn the lessons of history lead us to repeat the mistakes of the past. There are countless examples of new marketing and communications initiatives all of which were very successful whilst they were relatively novel to the consumer and sparsely used. However, initial high ROI diminished increasingly rapidly over time as the practice became mainstream. Think about mailshots, in the years where American Express and Readers Digest created powerful brands on the back of these techniques. Then other brands woke up to this and suddenly our mail boxes were overfull with marketing literature leading to most being thrown in the bin unopened. So problematic was this, that genuinely important communications from your selected brands had to communicate messages such as 'Important Account Information inside - This is not a circular'. Think of outbound telephone sales and email have also gone through a similar route. So the latest digital incarnations whilst more sophisticated are also heading down the same path.
So two questions for clients to consider.
1. Once you have picked up and actioned the key information from a major review of your customer journey mapping process, will constant monitoring significantly move your brand or business forward?
2. Is there a danger of being focused on micro-managing the customer relationship, like the learner car driver you don't see the bigger picture and therefore either miss the disruption opportunity or get blindsided by someone who does?