Ben Zoldan wrote an interesting viewpoint on the effect of the mobility trend, in that becoming social and mobile is eroding the art of connection and communication. On the flipside, Brian Solis, a recognised marketing expert called the latest generation of consumers Gen C in a recent article, C standing for Connected.
The truth is that connected customers or Gen-C is only becoming more pervasive in society and ultimately your economy. Now is the time to recognize how your customer landscape is shifting and to what extent traditional and connected consumers discover and make decisions differently.
But while this tackles the social media marketing and engagement model and how organisations connect to their customer market, spare a thought for the retail sector who’s Generation-C doesn’t stand for Connected but for Convenience, and unfortunately their strategies are more in line with Ben’s original viewpoint. Let me explain.
Yesterday morning I went to the local Sainsbury’s for some breakfast bits and bobs, my basket wasn’t full so there’s the convenience of the self-service checkout. The ‘real’ checkout lanes are empty and there’s a bored assistant standing there watching me scan through the items and I start to feel guiltily detached from the entire shopping experience. I used to manage a small outlet of John Menzies on a Sunday (as it was back then, it’s all WH Smiths now) and part of the fun was having a laugh with some of the regulars as they collected their batch of morning rolls and Sunday rag. And as I scanned through my breakfast and the assistant looked on it suddenly hit me that this whole scene was the complete opposite of what it was back then, that retail convenience has removed the connection that Brian was speaking about in his article. In the quest to service the customer as efficiently as possible we’ve slowly grown more detached to the human element of the experience for both the customer and the staff.
I made the point in stopping half way for a chat about nothing and instantly that dead connective space was filled, we smiled as we traded pleasantries and I ignored the incessant beeping of the automated till. Which brings me roundabout to the point I’m trying to make here. While we’re scrabbling around trying to meet the needs of the connected customer, while we adopt every channel known to reach to them and engage on multiple online levels in an attempt to satisfy their own lust for constant connection, don’t sacrifice real human connection for the sake of a perceived convenience.