What is a customer centric organization?

A post by a fellow blogger triggered this thought process in me – What is a customer centric organization?

I would believe that the following are some key identifiers of a customer centric organization –

  • customer centricity is a strategic imperative rather than a group or department or annual or marketing initiative
  • the decision making process in the organization places the impact of the decision on the customer as its focal point
  • customer success is a key consideration across the rank & breadth of the organization
  • a strong belief that customer success & customer service is what will eventually lead to organizational profits
  • customer focus is a key element of the organization’s culture
  • customer loyalty is constantly & actively sought

Is being customer centric altruistic?

Often qualities of altruism, sacrifice and benevolance are associated with customer centricity. The common perception is that being customer centric is tantamount to accepting a win-loose (the customer centric organization loosing to the customer) strategy. Best left to the realms of business idealism?

Being customer centric means that the supplier organization is sensitized to the world of its customers. What are their business challenges? What does it take to succeed in that world? What is my customer’s strategy? What adds value to my customer or their customers? Basically – the abiliy to get into our customers shoes.
Isn’t this something we see in a ot of successful people around us.

Creating a buzz – customer centric or gimmick?

Bengaluru (or Bangalore) has witnessed an explosion in property rates over the last few years. The city has been the nerve center of the Indian IT boom. Instances of land rates increasing by 10-15 times in 2-3 years is normal. This growth has created millionaires of people …none more in numbers than real estate developers.

But as in the rest of the world, real estate developers are most opportunistic too. Never loosing a chance to make more money, they have the dubious distinction of being difficult to handle, not serious about any deadlines & being short sighted.

There are exceptions of course.

One of my friends recently told me about Shriram Properties (a real estate developer) who just returned back 1.5% of the initially charged (collected about 3 years ago) amount for a flat. Reasons quoted – they had overestimated on a few accounts. Obviously this friend of mine was thrilled. Not only that, he was telling me & anybody else who would listen to him that day. And now here I am blogging about it.

Customer centric or marketing gimmick? Either ways, the act has created a lot of good will. Created quite a bit of buzz in the marketplace. And has a lot more prospective buyers than they would’ve had without this act.
  • Explore more & more ways of benefiting your customers. It will pay back.
  • Every real estate developer’s web site has space dedicated to how customer centric they are. But action speaks louder than words – DO something.
  • The more notorious your industry, the better the chances of customer centricity helping you differentiate yourself.

I also found another post on a similar topic – customer centricity amongst US commercial real estate companies: http://cpnmhn.typepad.com/management_matters/2007/12/are-you-custome.html.

Jack Welch on Customer Loyalty

Inspiration for this post –
Customer Loyalty’s New Rules – BW Podcast – The Welch Way

Some of Jack Welch’s insights from this conversation on the topic –
  • Rules of customer loyalty has changed – there is a paradigm shift
  • Its moving beyond cost, quality & service (the traditional value engines) – which are nice, but is assumed to be a given now & not sufficient for building loyalty
  • Welch suggests – earn loyalty by making yourself indispensible at an intellectual level
  • Its all about your customers winning. To earn loyalty, a supplier should think about ways to provide customers a competitive advantage that no one else can
  • It requires a different mindset – always thinking about how you can make your customers more competitive in their markets, ways to make them win, etc.
  • Its all about getting into an intense partnership with your customers ..if you don’t, someone else will.