Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Who is the customer?

Note: Gyan!

Many a times, in our professional as well as personal life, we are either serving someone or being served. The term customer is no new to any of us. A lot of time when we are playing the role of customer, we say the customer service of the service provider is not good … (or the other way!) … at times we really wonder why is he really bothering me (or us)… why is that the person on the other side (of the desk/ phone) doesn’t understand the basics of customer service …

The reason is very simple … we are not his customers. In reality, his boss/org is his customer – the person on the other side is not serving me … but his boss /org … he’s getting his salary not from me … but his boss/org. The definition of customer or saying ‘customer is god’ hasn’t changed. It’s the customer – that has changed. So, if his boss says X … it has be X … and not Y (even if I insist it to be Y). The concept of customer is God is from people who are self employed/ businessmen… where the consumer is the customer, and his earnings come from the consumer. In salaried class structure, it doesn't end with same result... (that's why there is a concept of cost centers and profit centers) ...

This is very much applicable to us too… what ever we do … we do to please someone … who’s more important to me for that particular phase… we try to please our boss/ org by trying to achieve numbers (or target) … that too by any means (read: calculations) … but are we serving real customers???

It has to come from leadership. When the leaders stop asking about the numbers and ask how many customers have we made happy (and if possible, including the intensity of happiness) … that’s when the customer service would change. However, it also needs some validation; … for instance, MotorCraft (Maruti’s service center in NCR) used to call to get a feedback (a good way) … and if you give a normal feedback (let’s say 7/10) … they ask you why just 7. Normally, unless I get bad service I tend to give just above avg rating… and not 8 or 9/10 … why not – it was good service … not a GREAT one. A rating of 8 or 9 demands ‘great’ service... a delight factor. Surprisingly, they don’t ask what they liked about the service … knowing what didn’t go well is must, but knowing what went well and then rewarding the back end for the same is real motivation for employees to provide better customer service.

From an individual point of view – find who your customer is (real customer/ boss) … and serve him well!

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