Speaking about the customer has become so common place that the intent for a conversation on it fails to even evoke the rightful attention in the listener. But it is also a proven fact that we cannot stop talking about customers as long as businesses need to exist. Then why is it that such an important topic remains difficult to be discussed?
The problem is not with the topic but with the aspect of the topic that gets discussed. Almost always the discussion about customer is reduced to the plain vanilla aspect of their importance to the business and why keeping them happy is a challenge. When these aspects remain the primary focus of all thinking and discussions when it comes to customer relationships, it is not surprising that it becomes boring and common place. There is seldom any talk around what ought to be done. The discussions tilt towards surreal exchanges around this as a mere subject area.
The reason why the discussions don’t go deeper on customer relationship is because most often there is no genuine interest in focusing on service. For all the talk about the customer the focus of the business is always on itself. This creates greater interests in other aspects internal to business rather than ways to improve servicing the customer.
This continued lip service in customer relationship management is not going to continue for too long in today’s world. As technology reduces the barriers to communicate, broadcast and interact, information is more democratized than before. With points of broadcast (twitter,facebook etc) available literally at the finger tips, it will become very difficult to stop people from instantly reporting satisfaction and dissatisfaction. This along with the increase in socio-economic situations around the world is changing most of the markets from supply driven to demand driven orientation.
While existing businesses have to make tremendous change towards their approach towards customer service, entrepreneurs and small business owners can take cue from this and start building their businesses from scratch to be customer oriented, going much beyond and deeper than mere lip service. The risk of not taking this too seriously is way too large to be ignored for these enterprises in the making.