In a recent article on the AT&T Networking Exchange blog, Brian Solis (@briansolis) defines the new customer contract and how it applies to businesses in this generation. Nowadays, customers are more connected and informed than ever before. With information and data easily accessible, the customer journey has been redefined, giving customers the ability to access anything at any given time.This new generation of customers is demanding and powerful, with every individual feeling important to the success of any business. A great service, product and experience used to be the exception but it has now become the rule. This plays into the consumer buying decision process, a five step process which explains how a consumer evaluates purchasing decisions. Customers are more willing to pay a premium if they think they will receive a great experience in return. As a result of this changing nature of the new wave of customers, it’s time for a new customer contract.
Solis defines social contract theory as:
“The view that a person’s moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live.”
From this theory, businesses can extract ways to engage connected customers, such as to form a more productive and mutually beneficial relationship, laying a base for the new customer contract.
“The new customer contract is the agreement between customers and enterprises whereby products, services, and engagement throughout the customer lifecycle deliver a desired and reciprocal experience. These experiences and interactions define the nature, meaning and value of the community (aka society) in which they co-exist and co-create.”
It’s important to realize that businesses, like customers, also have access to this information and data, giving them the ability to learn about what’s happening and what’s possible. Though it may take a different perspective, this information can help businesses visualize the opportunity, beyond just profits or losses. Solis leaves enterprises with simple yet wise words: