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Customer centricity: Commitment or compliance?

Customer centricity: Commitment or compliance?

Customer Services & Relations

Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

12 Jun 2020, 09:40 — 5 min read

In the last few months, I had the opportunity to interact with prospective clients. Quite a few of them talked about how they would like their teams to improve customer centricity and hence asked for an intervention on communications skills. As part of the need analysis the clients talked at length about how the team members were not able to express their views clearly and customers were upset because of this. I prompted and probed to find out if they were interested in customer satisfaction or delight or experience.

 

After a few questions and answers we came to the conclusion that they wanted to have a session on how to communicate to internal and external stakeholders, how to write emails and respond to the mails from the customers and address other such concerns that they faced. As always they mentioned that the team cannot spend too much time on these sessions as they were busy building and delivering the products. They could only spare 2 – 3 hours for improving the communication skills.

Having completed a couple of such need analysis meetings I went back home and was thinking about the topic. With these thoughts in mind I went out to buy some groceries. I usually go to the corner shop next to my house to buy vegetables and fruits. I found the vegetables to be fresh and the vendor would always get the fresh ones from the sack for me. I then went to this vendor who sells fruits on a cart.  The fruits were good and I buy from the same vendor. It then dawned on me; here is a fantastic example of customer centricity. These vendors do not care about any communication skills training or how to write emails. However, they were able to attract and retain customers. The experience of buying vegetables and fruits from the same vendor made me visit them repeatedly. 
  

This led me to a question, “What is customer centricity. Is it a skill or an attitude?”

My personal view is that customer centricity is an attitude. Either you have it or don’t have it. While many organisations talk about customer centricity, not all of them have the right attitude. In such situations the employees tend to be more compliant to what the management says about how to achieve customer centricity. (As always there will be exceptions where some people within an organisation may have the required attitude). No matter how many trainings we conduct it may not bring a significant change in the way they handle customers.

Customer centricity is an attitude. Either you have it or don’t have it. While many organisations talk about customer centricity not all of them have the right attitude.

 

What is then required is a shift in the mindset of people about customers. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Will you buy a car which is operationally very good but has a small scratch on the door? If not, why do we think it is okay to release a product with no critical but few major and minor defects. If the pizza delivery is delayed by 30 minutes are we happy about it? If not, why do we expect our customers to understand when we delay our deliverables?

So here are few things we can look at to bring the right mind set.

  • Listen to the customers the way you expect others to listen to you. Listen to what is being said and what is not being said. Ask questions to clarify your understanding
  • Empathise with the customers. See the product or service from their view.
  • Build meaningful relationships with the client 
  • Get to know the customer. Meetings need not be limited to services and issues. Build that emotional connect (keep in mind the cultural diversities when doing this)

 

Also read: 4 fool-proof ways to build strong customer relationships in the time of coronavirus

 

Image source: shutterstock.com


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

Posted by

Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

As a Corporate Coach, Counsellor, Hypnotherapist, Organization Development Consultant, Behavioral Analyst, I help individuals and organizations to understand their potential and...

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