The impact of the recession on businesses, the economy and society as a whole has been well documented, but in his latest book ‘The Relationship Revolution’ Larry Hochman unearths some of the psychological impacts it has had on the consumer – and what businesses can do about it.
Notwithstanding the collapse of job and financial security, Hochman argues that it is the consumer’s loss of faith and growing sense of anger that is the real challenge to businesses today. The consumer is ‘let down, exhausted, feeling out of control’. Consumer trust and confidence has been replaced by cynicism, and ‘as marketing and advertising have become more and more sophisticated, promising the consumer a better life and better value, customers have come to believe this less and less.’
Your customer has had his fingers burnt, and ‘when the trust and confidence in a relationship vanishes, it can be hard, almost impossible, ever to get it back.’ Today, businesses have to realise that ‘taking for granted even one single customer is a huge risk’ and they have a huge task ahead to convince a deeply distrustful market that they are deserving of their custom.
Ironically, within the colossal sense of betrayal felt by the consumer lies an unprecedented transfer of power. Businesses have to work harder than ever. Where once the consumer was at the mercy of businesses, it seems businesses are at the mercy of their consumer.