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09 The Smart Manager, Smart View, Sunil Gandhil, Jul Aug 10


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Brand Building sans Customer Xperience = Non Sense!!

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09 The Smart Manager, Smart View, Sunil Gandhil, Jul Aug 10

  1. 1. S t r a t e g y + M a r k e t i n g + A n a l y s i s + R e s o u r c e s + T e c h n o l o g y Jul-Aug 10 VOL 9 ISSUE 4 john elkington thrice as good john philip jones expert comment rishikesha krishnan from jugaad to systematic innovation nitin nohria the insider as torch bearer UK...............................£2.50 USA............................... $9.50 India...............................Rs100
  2. 2. SMART VIEW : G U E S T C O L U M N Most businesses lay emphasis on profit without focusing on customers. The first and last role of an entrepreneur should be passion for customers. sunil gandhi chartered accountant and management advisor w hat is brand building? are at the center of all products in line with the needs of their clients. In fact, Most businesspeople I have entrepreneurial endeavors. met have this to say about Every venture capitalist asks customers are hardly ever their brands: ‘We invest a for customer adoption before on the agenda of meetings lot of time and money in commencing negotiations convened by senior and top brand building and customer experience building our brand’; or ‘We with start-up entrepreneurs. management. How many top have appointed a brand It is through customers that management meetings start expert to reposition our entrepreneurs earn profit and and end with the customer brand’; or even ‘We have they are thus the purpose in focus? When did the top a reputed agency working behind every business. brass last meet the final on our brand equity’. But Every enterprise starts customer? When one visits updating the company off with a view to serve websites of companies or website, altering the the needs of the customer goes through their annual company logo, colors and and thereby earn a profit. reports, this lamentable stationery, or even launching Enterprise karma is the sidelining of the customer massive ad campaigns does creation of customer becomes even more evident. not constitute brand building, experience and the fruit of The top brass of any as none of these strategies this effort is profit. Most company have a host of affects customer experience. businesses today focus on the duties to perform, and In this scenario, branding fruit and have lost sight of function within their area of becomes merely a set of the karma. We should have expertise. At the same time, promotional gimmicks aimed company annual reports CEOs have so many other at selling the end product. addressed to customers and responsibilities clamoring And this is why admen and not shareholders! for their attention that ad agencies are perceived We need to remember they often assume that today as brand builders. that it is business owners, someone else will oversee However, they are not. company employees the customer experience. In and customers who are times of inorganic growth, who are brand builders? brand builders. Unless deal-making receives more Entrepreneurs in capitalist entrepreneurs concentrate attention than creating societies have forgotten that on customer experience, they customer experience. And customers, not shareholders, will not be able to tailor their companies that do designate T H E S M A R T M A N A G E R Jul-Aug 10 57
  3. 3. BRAND BUILDING AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE by Sunil Gandhi systems to help institutions 80% of SATISFIED customers get closer to their customers. also SWITCH brands Yet, According to Shaun Smith, co-author of the customer service officers similar customer services and book Managing the Customer are merely expected to similar returns and with the Experience: Turning Customers address the area of customer same monopoly registrar. Into Advocates referring to complaints, or, at best, The same could be argued Gartner Research states that customer satisfaction. of ACs and TVs, soaps and that 55% of all these CRM Thus, disgruntled detergents, colas, pizzas, programs actually drive customers have no option cellular services, banking customers away and dilute but to share their experience services (although there are earnings! But why do we on social media sites where a few differentiators here), need Gartner to say this to they castigate and condemn etc. They are all in the ‘Red us? Don’t we know how the service they have Ocean’ and none in the ‘Blue irritating CRM is when we consumed, becoming ‘anti- Ocean’ of innovation and want to reach right person advocates’ of the brand. Of startling differentiation. in companies or when those customers who are Today, new-age telecallers call us at odd not dissatisfied, the question entrepreneurs and innovators hours? Yet, most customer- to ask is whether they are are changing the business focused companies believe actively excited or happy landscape so rapidly that that CRM is the last word about the product. the old guard that refuses to in customer experience. change will find it difficult Most CRMs are designed why customer to make money. While in accordance with the experience? companies that aim solely for company’s needs and not In today’s attention-deficit customer satisfaction may those of its customers. world, every product survive for the time being, Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon, and service has become they will find it difficult to explains, “Customer commoditized. With a go far. Satisfied customers experience is bigger than plethora of similar products will leave you the moment customer service in that it is vying for consumer attention they get better alternatives, the full and end experience. in the market, businesses while devoted and delighted It starts when you first have resorted to creating customers will refer you. As hear about Amazon from a innovative advertisements per the report ‘Learning from friend and ends when you that make their products Customer Defections’ by get the package in the mail stand out. But while the Reichheld, as many as 80% and open it.” I will add that advertisement may be of satisfied customers also the experience must stretch distinctive or unique, this switch brands. beyond that one point of quality is sadly lacking in the The greatest enemy interaction to make the user product itself. For instance, of customer experience is a lifelong customer of the insurance and mutual fund Customer Relationship brand. Therefore, customer companies sell more or Management (CRM). Billions experience encompasses less similar products with of dollars are spent on CRM every point of contact, ie, T H E S M A R T M A N A G E R Jul-Aug 10 58
  4. 4. BRAND BUILDING AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE by Sunil Gandhi touch point, with the brand, The next criterion is ease cab driver offers me a choice whereas service is just one of business--how easy is it of songs to play en route, or component of it. for customers to deal with if I am able to see reviews Recently, I attended a company and consume of products by other users a lecture by CA TN its products? Without this, while I shop—all this adds to Manoharan who was fulfilling customer needs my experience as a customer. appointed to the board will not go a long way. For The IPL could have been a of directors at Satyam to example, a product that normal cricket tournament, revive the company after addresses customer needs but it has cheerleaders, music the scam; his contribution but has to be purchased with and what-not to add to the in this effort earned him a lot of effort will lose to a game being played. Thus, a Padmashri. Manoharan product of inferior quality customer experience needs attributes Satyam’s recovery that is easily available. Most to be designed by keeping to its customers who stood people, however, will tolerate in mind how customers will by the company in its time some inconvenience for a feel whenever they interact of crisis. And this is because costly purchase of long-term with the company. they were happy with the relevance. But a company Emphasis on customer company and its employees. offering a product of similar experience, therefore, reveals It is this that allowed quality with ease of access a passion for customers and Satyam to survive a scam of will make customers switch an allegiance to customer such magnitude. The point their loyalties. This is why advocacy. This ongoing and to note is that the company companies these days provide end-to-end engagement would not have survived so many extra services— with the customer has to had it been the customers, home deliveries, phone and begin at the level of the top instead of the shareholders, internet booking, service management to result in who had been defrauded. centers for post-sale services, lifelong loyalty on the part of This demonstrates how etc. Sometimes ease is more the customer. customer experience with critical than need. Businesses a company is extremely that operate on these axes of how and hurdles important. However, most need fulfillment and ease of Companies are so focused CEOs fail to realize this, access manage to survive. on products and services and still fewer do something To be a success, a brand that they can lose sight about it. needs to add value to the of customer needs while customer experience (in designing their offerings. what is customer addition to fulfilling the two Thus, mission and vision experience? basic criteria) at all points of statements just end as Companies exist to fulfill contact with the company. that—mere statements, the needs of customers. This Customer experience is the without being executed. A is the primary criterion of aggregate of all interaction survey by Temkin Group customer experience. Thus, a by a customer with a brand. Research on 140 top US company that cannot satisfy It could either be one of companies (which can be its customers has no reason surprise and delight or be applied to Indian companies to be in business. indifferent or dismal. If my as well) indicates that the T H E S M A R T M A N A G E R Jul-Aug 10 59
  5. 5. BRAND BUILDING AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE by Sunil Gandhi and forum. He will have a POSITIVE customer EXPERIENCE his ears, nose and eyes in NEEDS more than just a CXO the form of social media, customer feedback and top three hurdles in customer list can be found at: www. customer experience at every experience creation are touch point. He will not only other competing priorities the_customer.pdf. Customer ask customers but listen to (71%), lack of clear customer experience champion various alternative channels. experience policy (52%) and Starbucks measures its in- He will bring the best internal company conflicts store customer experience on customer practice from other (50%). How paradoxical twenty different parameters industries, design customer that companies set up to ranging from store welcome, experience along with all serve customers have other store toilets, waiting time, of internal teams and monitor competing priorities and no course, quality of products and implement them along customer experience policy. and smell in the store with all internal functional We need some fundamental and many such small but groups. He is a customer changes in how modern-day important aspects. champion and his only companies are run. There are different passion is customers. Some major reasons views on having a Chief We should however for no or low focus on Experience Officer (CXO) in remember that a positive customer experience are an organization. However, customer experience needs the lack of clear strategy, I strongly feel that unless more than just a CXO. It poor coordination within there is someone completely needs the support and active the organization, inefficient responsible and accountable participation of happy process or insufficient budget for customer experience, it will employees. Employees and lack of understanding not happen. To reiterate, CEOs are the first ambassadors or urgency. All this indicates have a huge responsibility, of a company and are the that top-management with stringent government prerequisite for creating a priority is not on customers. norms to follow, expansion delightful and memorable Tom Peters’ questionnaire, and acquisitions to supervise experience. Unhappy The Smell of the Customer, as well as administration and employees cannot make is useful to determine a human resource to take care customers happy. company’s attitude to of. And everyone else has In the final analysis, if customer experience. Some their own responsibilities to businesses are not making of the questions raised are: fulfill. Thus, no one is fully fans through their offerings, whether customer concern accountable for customer their existence and efforts is high on the company’s experience. Having a CXO don’t matter. The first and internal agenda; whether (Chief Experience Officer) is last role of an entrepreneur frontline employees are the right approach. (CEOs and top management) considered heroes; whether A CXO’s role is to is passion for customers. It’s a company is listening to represent customers and not the ‘what’ of business customers in as many ways their needs, ease and delight but the ‘how’ of business as possible, etc. The complete at every meeting, process that matters. T H E S M A R T M A N A G E R Jul-Aug 10 60