A Need for Survival



Authors: Sanjib Dutta & Anil Kumar Kartham,
Senior Faculty Member, Faculty Associate,
ICMR (IBS Center for Management Research).

Customers are the ones who make or break a firm. It has become an utmost importance for today's organizations to understand the true value of customers.


"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customers experience a little bit better."


- Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon.

The Billion Dollar Word

Customer service is a billion dollar word. One can have the power of the whole world into his/her grip, if he/she understands the true value and meaning of it. Customer service seems to be a single word, but in real terms it is a combination of two different words of different meanings. It is only when companies put these two words 'customer' and 'service' together can they have in them the immense power with which they can go miles. Robert B. Tucker (Tucker), president of The Innovation Resource, the author of Customer Service for the New Millennium, states that 'though customer service is not a new word for the firms, the new thing here is the way or the process to perform service to the customers, as selling services is drastically different than selling products'.

Today, customers have become immensely important like never before. As customers' needs and wants keep on changing with time, owing to several reasons, there is a need for companies to follow their customers in order to have the opportunity to serve them again and again in the future. If the company fails to serve the customer to his/her satisfaction, the customer will look for some other company's product.

Thus, it can be said that Customer Service is basically about fulfilling the ever-changing needs and wants of customer so as to make him/her loyal to the company's product(s). To be able to serve your customers better, it needs a continuous learning of the changing behavior and attitudes of the person (customer).

Serving the 'King'

The fact that a company's' success in the market place ultimately depends on how it creates and delivers better value to its target audience (customers) vis-a-vis its competitors is quite understandable. Customer value includes
* Functional benefits i.e. tangibles like product quality and features or its range and varieties, and
* Emotional benefits The intangible values like timely delivery, After sales services, courtesy of company staff, responsiveness, perceived reliability of offers being made etc.

The combined value, consisting of functional as well as emotional aspects helps in creating an equity in the mind of the customer and, when it happens, the company gets the all important mind share of the customers, which is critical in maximizing the market share. Tucker terms this phenomenon as the magical combination of Q, S & P, where Q stands for Quality, S for Service and P for Price.

Next >>