I was wondering a moment ago just how important businesses are to their customers.

Over the last few years social media has been catalytic in disrupting ‘business as usual’. Channels of communication are democratising, the workplace is blurring, customer service is decentralising, information  is traded for free, it is hard to recognise who is your customer and who is your employee, technology is increasingly ubiquitous, smartphones and tablets give us the possibility to be always on, always connected, always in touch…

We live in a world where there are no templates to copy. Each of us is writing our own playbook as we experience it.

We question, we share, we provoke, we cajole, we challenge, we undermine, we disrupt, we interrupt, we experiment, we play, we explore. We click on one link and then another and another and another, each one takes us further away from where we started. Curiosity can get us into trouble online. It can also show us new things. It can also introduce us to new people. We trust. Here, in this space, we unconsciously pursue serendipity.

And it is in this context that organisations have to fight to survive. Organisations have to learn and relearn, define and redefine. Make that which is irrelevant relevant, or cut it out. Organisations cannot assume anymore. Organisations cannot dictate. They cannot tell you or me what to do anymore. Organisations need to stop and listen, hear what I have to say. Because if you don’t, I will let you know. And I will let you know now, not tomorrow, not in a week’s time, but as soon as it happens.

The other day I heard a customer service director say on radio that they could not respond to their customers in a particular way because their systems did not allow it. This type of customer-centricity is dead.

A different type of customer-centricity is emerging. One that is empathetic, responsive, nimble, participative, collaborative, critical…

We live in a time when so much is up for grabs, so much of what we know is being redefined, realigned, readjusted, retuned. We live in a time when we know things are changing, but we’re not sure what the outcome will look like.

I’m wondering how often you ask yourself: How important am I? And perhaps whether you are confusing importance for relevance sometimes?

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