Why are so many companies vulnerable in the ‘age of the customer’?

So much of what is happening under the Customer umbrella occurs to me as being wide of the mark.  Why?  Because of the unwillingness to honestly face what is so. Which begs the question what is so?

“The reason so many companies are vulnerable is because the state of relationships between companies and customers is so poor. Products and services tend to be impersonal. Responsiveness tends to be uneven at best, or miserable at worst.  

It is reasonable to assert that frustration, annoyance, and anger have been building up among customers for decades. They are tired of being treated as numbers, of being mislead or even lied to, and of being considered targets instead of living, breathing human beings.”  – Michael Hinshaw and Bruce Kasanoff, Smart Customers Stupid Companies

Why now?  Because social media enables transparency of a kind never seen before. Because social media enable customers to easily voice their experiences, share them with the world, and thus influence/shape behaviour – customers, media, governments. And most importantly because of the many who are busy figuring out how to use digital technologies to create a new world of possibilities enabled by digital technologies and social customers.

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant. Passionate about enabling customer-centricity by calling forth the best from those that work in the organisation and the intelligent application of digital technologies. Subject matter expert with regards to customer strategy, customer insight, customer experience (CX), customer relationship management (CRM), and relationship marketing. Working at the intersection of the Customer, the Enterprise (marketing, sales, service), and Technology.

4 thoughts on “Why are so many companies vulnerable in the ‘age of the customer’?”

  1. Maz,

    Social media does enable transparency. But if all the players in a market are as bad as each other then there isn’t a lot to be transparent about.

    I guess this will lead to “first mover” advantage. The organisations that wake up to what is going on first will quickly steal a massive advantage over those that don’t



    1. James

      As usual you make a great point. Yes, having a voice only counts if that voice makes an impact. One way that the voice can make an impact is through genuine choice – genuine competition. Genuine competitions necessitates difference.

      Of course the beauty of a whole industry behaving badly is that the field is open to the ‘good guy’ the one that is genuinely out to win by creating authentic/meaningful value and relationships with customers whether that is via the product, the service, or the entire customer experience.



  2. Hi Maz,

    Thanks for the thought-provoking piece and reflection!

    I would also say that companies are vulnerable in this “age of the customer” because many are still focused on differentiating themselves through the products and services offered, Many companies have not yet grasped the critical importance and opportunity of the “how” and the “who” aspects of the interaction/encounter and are stuck on the “what.”



    1. Hello Doug

      Great to hear your voice and listen to that which you share. Yes, the addiction to products, services, and brand messaging is there. And the addiction has us. As a result so few of us move to the experience: the how and who aspects of the encounter.

      It occurs to me that people in organisations are blind to the humanness of human beings. The openness even yearning for the profoundly human touch of genuine care. And those that are open to it and put it into practice set themselves apart.

      I wish you the very best and ask that you be the difference that you wish to see in this world that you and I share with so many others and life itself.

      At your service / with my love


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