Is cus­tomer the king?

The Smart Manager - - Editorial -

The cover fea­ture of this is­sue fo­cuses on the work of two renowned man­age­ment thinkers—Vi­jay Govin­dara­jan and Mar­shall Gold­smith. While one of­fers a pow­er­ful tool to help or­ga­ni­za­tions si­mul­ta­ne­ously cre­ate a new busi­ness and op­ti­mize the present one, the other tells us how one can over­come ‘trig­gers’ and be­come the per­son one wants to be.

Now, re­gard­ing the head­line of this ed­i­to­rial, in this is­sue we present two facets of cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment (CRM). Cus­tomers, most peo­ple be­lieve, are the pur­pose of a busi­ness. And CRM is a topic that has con­tin­ued to trend over the years. Jerry Gre­goire (for­merly chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer, DELL) fa­mously said, “The cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence is the next com­pet­i­tive bat­tle­ground.” There is war among busi­nesses to ac­quire cus­tomers— good or bad. The ball is truly in the cus­tomer’s court now.

Yes, cus­tomers are cen­tral to the ex­is­tence of a busi­ness, and Yes, they need to be kept happy, and Yes, it is sen­si­ble to have a large num­ber of them buy­ing your ser­vice/prod­uct. But it is also pru­dent to stop and ask, “What is the cost of serv­ing a peren­ni­ally dis­sat­is­fied or a toxic cus­tomer?” No busi­ness or in­dus­try is im­mune to cus­tomers who con­stantly com­plain, change their or­ders, abuse or yell at em­ploy­ees, or sim­ply refuse to pay for ser­vices/prod­ucts.

If we ap­ply the Pareto prin­ci­ple in this con­text, then 80% of good busi­ness comes from 20% of cus­tomers— good cus­tomers. But busi­nesses, with a firm eye on the num­bers game, fail to re­al­ize this. In­stead of fo­cus­ing on this bunch and strength­en­ing the bonds, they keep try­ing to sat­isfy a ‘toxic’ cus­tomer. Iden­ti­fy­ing toxic cus­tomers and learn­ing to say ‘no’ to them is as im­por­tant a skill as nur­tur­ing good cus­tomers. Com­pa­nies would do well in teach­ing their man­agers and lead­ers in do­ing this right.

Else­where, in our First Serve sec­tion, we have BookMyShow. Read how this on­line movies and events tick­et­ing firm is chang­ing the way it does busi­ness, based on cus­tomer feed­back.

How far should busi­nesses stretch to sat­isfy cus­tomer needs? When should they say ‘no’? Do write in with your thoughts to poorn­ima@thes­mart­man­ager.com.

Happy Read­ing!

poorn­ima subra­ma­nian | se­nior edi­tor

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