The year of the customer?

The year of the customer?

@edent just sent me this video from Domino’s…

Funny as I had spent a bit of the Christmas break wondering what ever happened to the Children of the Kryptonite? since their online birth back in 2004? I was once part of an enthusiastic band of internet folk who were sure we were seeing the beginning of a major trend, a move towards increased dialog with the consumer and greater transparency from business. We were sure that the tale of the Kryptonite was going to be the first in a long line of customer-empowerment stories.

Since then there have been a number of high profile cases, the Disco II debacle comes to mind but on the whole I really don’t feel I’m seeing the groundswell I was sure was around the corner. Were are the big changes to terms and conditions? To pricing? To the structure of the ever-present “customer proposition” (what the French so poetically call “the offer”).

I really hope Terence is right and that companies are listening and embracing criticism in an effort to build the respect of their customers. I’m a fundamentally optimistic guy and I still believe the network empowers the customer to negotiate a better experience at a fairer price.

But unfortunately, my current first-hand experience with pretty much all of the businesses I trade with is one of disappointment.

Specifically, the conclusion I’m rapidly coming to is that while the network is theoretically opening conversations with the customer it is also enabling new types of customer value management.

In a nutshell, the modern marketing organisation monitors net promoter index so really doesn’t care if you and your friends leave because it can calculate the real financial impact of your leaving and has factored those costs into it’s brand platform investment. Basically, it seems like increasingly the free market really isn’t…

Here’s hoping 2010 proves me wrong.