New Manager

Management mantra: four promises of a customer-centric company

Parag Arora | Updated on December 02, 2014 Published on December 02, 2014


Much has been said about the need for organisations to adopt a customer-centric approach to business dealings. This applies to every possible scenario, and whether in the B2B or B2C landscape. That said, I’ve often found that the concept needs to be defined in a more actionable manner. Something that serves as a guideline for companies that want to adopt the customer-centric approach. In keeping with this, it can be defined in the form of promises that companies can make to their clientele.

Experience

The future is about experiences and not products and solutions. Products alone will not drive customer relationships forward. Industry understanding coupled with technical expertise make for knowledgeable discussions, but when delivered by great people, they create real engagement, providing customers with a unique experience.

Culture

Management gurus say that culture is the behaviour of people in a company when no one is watching. It is pure and true – like going beyond the call of duty for the sheer satisfaction it gives. That doesn't cement your position as a customer-centric company or leader -- the ability to create a culture of service excellence that extends beyond formal contract.

That said, I believe that one also needs to look at this from an internal lens. Ask yourself if you’re doing the same for your people. Good work ethics are as much a product of nurture as of nature and people need nurturing even in the work environment.

Leadership

I believe in leadership more than management – the view that being involved in the business versus overseeing it and its people is critical to the success of a customer-centric approach. It means rolling up your sleeves and putting in some elbow grease to get the job done.

The objective is to lead by example but also to be at the frontline when things go wrong. I also believe in the duality of leadership – that the people managing customers directly, at the first point of contact are the real leaders.

Partnership

While all the above promises are pertinent, the promise of partnership is truly unique; it is more of a two-way street than the others. Many a vendor company has spoken of this – the ability to become a part of solving real business problems to ingrain yourself with a customer more deeply and making their problems, yours.

But I think there are some more tenets that nurture partnership, and it has to come from both sides.

Cooperate: While this seems like an ask from the customer, vendors are often as guilty of this, driven by a templated approach and lacking flexibility.

Appreciate: The customer’s problems and the vendor’s challenges or limitations. It is when we appreciate the issues on both sides, that partnership becomes truly possible.

Collaborate: We live in an era of instant gratification, where the customer is always king.

But the truth is that it is about creating synergies and working as an extension of each other’s teams. It is easier than one thinks because at the end of the day, we’re all on the same side. I’d like to believe that I can deliver on these promises through the course of my career but it is always a work in progress.

The writer is Area Vice-President, Citrix

Published on December 02, 2014
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