Thank you Wim Rampen for your blog post, and commenters for adding insights.
One of the key-premises of the “Social era” is that the power has shifted from companies to Customers. We’ve all read cases of “United Breaks guitars” and alike to prove this. We also know that Customers are more keen to follow advice from close friends, relatives and credible strangers online than from just any company representative. And there’s plenty of evidence that Customers are showrooming.From the reasons why I take away ...
But does this all mean that the power has shifted? The more I think of it, the more I disagree. Customers, despite the social tools, mobile devices and what have you, are losing ground. And here are some reasons why.
We are deconstructing more than a managerial illusion of control. Fueled by a few generations of a rather successful industrialist worldview, yet we see an end to it in many areas. At the edge we see better ways to work together, have access to more experience, make better buying decisions within the constraints of time, money, information, and moderated by the vast repertoire of emotional appeal.
The repeat experience connecting to each other helps us shed certain beliefs and invites us to try the new ways.
I agree the customer is in control of the buying decision (who else?), but not so much in control of the resulting experience and satisfaction. Easy to find trustworthy reviews of mega-popular products, hard to find similar reviews for goods bought less often. Some of these come with running cost, long-term equaling the purchase price.
This is probably a rare example, and your mileage may vary, but may affect tens of thousands of consumers: Wish I had been able to find prior customer experience before buying new split-type (heat pump) air conditioners in Japan. The point I did not check for in the specs and in the shop was the lowest setting. Here it was 18°C and as it turned out after two service technician visits a factory tolerance of +3°C. This design decision may waste some 10% energy because I cannot keep a sleeping room comfortable at temperatures between 20°C and 18°C unless it is really cold outside and the units lose efficiency. There is a workaround with the "nemurism" mode that reduces temperature by 3°C after 3h but it needs to be set anew every evening and in the inital 2h the room is warmer than needed for comfort. Maker: Sharp. Models: Plasmacluster AY-25DE8, AY-A25EE8, AY-A40EE8.
The 13 year old aircons of other makers I replaced had a lowest setting of 16°C and each family member had found a comfortable and low energy setting that simply held up. All the other aircons we had in various spaces we lived in the past 20 years caught mold on the fan blades like this one (one year old, one full and one half cooling season), but none ever had a such a problem with overheating the room. Older units had it as they had no thermostat to control temperature, they were only on-off. And this is progress?
Image 1: remix of value, not control by Will Lion via flickr
Image 2: by author