After spending significant time and building a career as an executive at various companies, I can summarize that for the growth of a company, KARMA matters. What is KARMA? Is it just a fancy word? Business KARMA is:
- Knowledge of the core competencies of the business and its competitors. The knowledge of what your customers want, not just what you want to offer.
- Aversion to risk plays a big role in stunting growth. This also leads to lack of innovation in the organization.
- Repeatedly doing what worked in the past. Many a times management executives want to stay with status quo to protect their job, territory, power or people even though they are well aware that any state is transient state, including ones life on this planet. Businesses with this culture lose to competitors that create a diverse organization to encourage innovation and challenge the status quo.
- Management’s lack of consensus, arising from the members of the management team who lack the knowledge of the growth areas in which business can grow.
- Arrogance in company culture, typically a result of previous successes. This arrogance leads to providing lip service instead of great customer experience to even some of the most valued and loyal customers.
Examples of corporations or businesses that are showing stunted or declining growth can be found in any business journal or newspaper. If one maps the above characteristics to their culture, one would find at least two or more of these behaviors are easily seen in these companies.In my next post, I will write more on other areas of business that are impacted due to the KARMA described above.
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.