Monday, September 15, 2008

Creating Customer Value

To really serve a customer requires a deep understanding of their needs
It also requires customization, personalization and empathy

Service.. service.. and service …24 x 7 service… toll free after sale service and what not; these days we hear this term quite often. And it is no more restricted to those archetypal service endeavors like health care, hospitality, consultancy etc; even the organizations dealing with hardcore consumer durables / FMCGs also discuss customer service..The punchline of Chevrolet says "car is yours, maintenance is ours", i.e., the organisation will bear the maintenance cost of the cars for the initial 3 years.The term "customer service" also occupies a very prominent position in the retail sector. By coincidence, I happen to teach Market of Services…hence I thought to pen down few lines on creating customer value on the blog..

If we manage a service organization, the business is to do work for the customers—work that they value enough to make a repeat purchase. For any service organization, fulfilling the customers’ desire is the core requirement. However keeping in mind the competitive periphery, simply meeting the requirements of the customers qualifies a service provider only to compete; there can be no guarantee of earning customer loyalty. Increasingly what creates right and equally importantly perceived customer value is the ability of the service provider to personalize service delivery and convey an aura of understanding and excellence to the customers.

Yet we see that many service enterprises fail to meet these objectives as they are mired with in either of two extreme service paradigms: the service factory model or the servitude model. The former accentuates efficiency, consistency and cost effectiveness delivered through processed system with proper standardization and control-for e.g., Pizza Hut / Mc Donald’s and other fast food establishments. The latter model highlights responsiveness, customization as well as empathy achieved through a phalanx of skilled & experienced service employees- for e.g. the butlers.

Service is doing the work of the customer. As a result, it requires high level of people to people contact, plus communication and coordination with the customers. Moreover, the service provider also requires to develop a level of customer intimacy. Once this intimacy is lost, the service provider will lose much of its potential value. In order to be efficient, a service enterprise needs to know each individual customers personally and be effective in fulfilling their total service requirements.

Today, we can take the advantage of ITES and engineer customer knowledge into service delivery process so that intimate customer knowledge can be harnessed to:
Customize the service, Foresee customer needs by tracking customer history and profiles, Increase perceived value and Improve service recovery by prompt responses.

1 comment:

Sujata said...

very well written.