Today, customers can see, learn about, or purchase almost anything from almost anywhere.
It was the Christmas season and I was on a mission. My goal was to purchase a Garmin GPS watch from the local Best Buy store in my neighborhood. I took a look at my iPhone and checked the price. In the store, the price was $184.85, but on Amazon, with no shipping or tax charges, it was $106. While I was still in the store, I purchased the watch from Amazon.
This is an early example of a new breed of customers. They’re called smart customers. The amount of intelligence now available to customers is unprecedented. You can experience the results in a rapidly growing variety of fashions: see data overlays on a map or camera image, watch a video demonstration, or even have an explanation read to you.
Get What You Want When You Want It.
Buying a used car? You can now get it’s complete history and find out if it has been treated better or worse than the owner claims. If you’re shopping for a gift, you can find out if this is the best choice for your aunt, whether this store’s price really is the best available in the market, and whether this is the best price within a 15-mile radius. Traveling on business at the last minute? Your smart phone will find a great deal on a room that matches your preferences perfectly.
This is the Rise of Smart Customers.
Customers can now leap tall buildings? No, not really. But they can outwit your salesperson, spot inaccurate statements from your customer service reps, and have access to most accumulated knowledge of human civilization.
And it’s easy to get. Good old fashioned laptops and desktops will do the trick. And Google will retrieve it for you in seconds. Plus, you no longer have to be at your desk to have access to information. Smartphones and tablets can now produce data that was formerly only available in mainframe computers whenever and wherever you want it.
- Digital devices will increasingly give individuals “super” powers to sense, remember, analyze, understand and share insights from the word around them.
- Companies must use customer information to benefit the customer.
- Disruptive forces will require massive changes in your company’s strategy.
Your company must be able to act smarter than its customers, or it will cease to exist.