If you missed part 1, you can catch up here!

‘The recession has changed what people value’ and businesses are under pressure. There has been a transfer of power, a re-shuffling of relationship paradigms, we live in a ‘culture of mass collaboration and participation’ and businesses have to recognise that ‘the passive customer is an endangered species’. The explosion of mass collaboration and participation thanks to Twitter, Google, Facebook and other blogs, social networks, and search engines that exist today (and that will continue to grow in the future) means that ‘What people think and say about you matters more than ever before’. If customers don’t like something, they will tell people. The speed in which word can now get out about poor service or faulty products or average value is unprecedented. What businesses have to do is ‘be obsessed with this reality’, and recognise that where once a reputation could be ‘sold’ through advertising and clever PR, today’s consumers have ‘information, choice, power and control’ at their fingertips. ‘They can walk away from you, but you can’t walk away from them nearly as easily.’

So how can businesses regain trust, win customer attention, and keep hold of their loyalty?

Ironically, although culturally we are more dependent on technology than ever before, frustrations are often borne out of a sense of businesses being detached from reality and the individual. Technological efficiency is great, but when something goes wrong, how often have you heard the cry “I just want to talk to a real person?!” Once again it comes down to customer relationships. Hochman urges businesses to ‘get closer and get smarter’. Know what your customers want- don’t guess. Practise small kindnesses. Show loyalty. Be transparent in everything you do. Appreciate the individual. Admit when you are wrong. And remember- this is ‘not about a one night stand. It must be about a relationship that has the potential to last a lifetime’.