Customer Focused Organizations – What it takes to become one?
October 6, 2010

For many organizations, the difference between customer service and customer focus is not very clear.  Winning awards just for customer service does not always translate into a great customer experience.

To quote Jeff Bezos, of Amazon “The customer experience is bigger than customer service in that it is the full, end-to-end experience. It starts when you first hear about Amazon from a friend and ends when you get a package in the mail and open it.” and he says, “I’am fanatic about the customer experience.”

From the lens of the cultural background I grew up in, the belief is that a “A guest who visits you needs to be treated like a GOD” and in modern business terms, the customer is that guest who is not only visiting you but providing you his money and your salary. So, that guest really needs to be provided with a great experience.

Over the years, I have watched various organizations and companies that, during their early years of growth life cycle are willing to listen to their customers, but as they mature and the revenues and profits become significant, the arrogance and neglect of customers sinks into the  culture.

When the revenues and profits start declining, they start talking about voice of the customer internally but the actions do not translate into really listening to the customers. The customer complaints become a statistical number which is so small compared to the total number of customers who do not complain that those issues end up nowhere.

One must understand that when a customer complains and is willing to spend time to write a long email, blog or leave long phone message, then he/she has crossed a patience threshold and for every one customer that complains, there many of them who are quiet as they do not want to spend time voicing their issues.

For organizations to be really customer oriented and focused, they need

  • to prioritize the customer facing issues
  • to act on the issues
  • to communicate in a positive manner with the complaining customers as well as the wider customer base
  • to improve their products and services for the customers and not for the ‘product managers’
  • to regularly get feedback from the customers.

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