Saturday, August 8, 2009

Customer is God!

This is slightly off the track from usual stuff I write in the blog, but I feel it is very important and it is one of my interests too. Excuse me for doing so. Kindly go ahead and have a read, there might be some thing for you in the post. :)

With 2+ years of work experience I will not say that I have seen everything, but I will say that I have seen enough to quote that "Customer is God". You might be a guy sitting in lab and lost in your world trying to do something, but you should realize that you are working on something which will be sold to customers. You may be a entrepreneur or working for some organization, but the ultimate goal is to reach the customer.

In the present situation where every one is hit by recession, customer retention is the most important aspect of any organization. Holding to your customers by reducing the prices might work for few ,but I would say invention is important in retention. The customer expectations are growing day by day and we should be on our toes to deliver what customer wants rather forcing customer to use what we develop.

It take the whole organization to satisfy customer needs, not just bunch of marketing guys. Now that I am a tester I am the second point of contact to the customer. The first contact will be with support which might escalate the issue to the QA if required. So when I actually start writing my test plan and test cases I will keep in my mind the so called "Customer Use Cases" and make sure that piece of software or hardware works accordingly. The software or hardware should function the way the customer wants it to not the way we want it to. There can be a trade off. Development and R & D may come up with wonderful things but if the product is hard to use then effort is lost. My point here is customer satisfaction is not one mans job, but it takes the whole organization. Customer focus should be one of the key aspects of an organization. One unsatisfied customer might bring you huge losses.

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I was going through my facebook messages some time back one guy said he recently bought an IPTV at his home. There was an immediate response to his message by one of his friends saying even he has an IPTV and they started discussing about the brand, support etc etc. Both of them were happy with the service and they exchanged good words for the company from which they purchased the IPTV. Now what happened here is visible to all their friends. So when I want an IPTV i would go for the brand which my friends bought because they have already used it and are pretty happy with it.

On the other hand I had bad experience with my mobile connection. I use a XYZ connection (I am a good guy so I am not mentioning the brand here :). I already did the damage I could do ) . I wanted them to enable Voice Mail service, unfortunately they were unable to do it. They dint even give a proper reason for it. Then I had problems calling my dad. When ever I dial my dad's number there is only 1 in 10 chance that I can make it through the first time. I am tired of their service. All my efforts in calling there customer care resulted in nothing but frustration. Unfortunately I cant move to another service provider. My number is spread across all my contacts and is printed in my business cards. Now if somebody asks me which service provider they should go for, when getting a new connection, my response would be "Don;t go for XYZ" . This is strange, instead of suggesting a service provider I am asking them not to go for XYZ. I will always give a bad response when somebody asks me about XYZ. Now I have few friends and they have few and the chain continues. Because of my response there is good chance the XYZ might loose many customers. This is what I am saying, one bad customer might screw the whole thing up for you. This is very much true in every market.

Now why did write this. I was browsing through and came across a website called "Customer experience board". There was a report from them with title "Service Invention to increase retention". The executive summary of the report actually made think in this direction. I recommend you to go ahead and download it. Read it, there might be something in for you to. If you are service provider then it is a must read. Take a look at the numbers.

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The below numbers are from reports and they make so much sense.

"The biggest sources of customer pain are said to be unmet needs and expectations (63 percent), followed by product/service usability and complexity (42 percent), billing errors (44 percent), as well as quality or relevancy of service or product offerings (31 percent)."

Now I want to emphasis the point that I am not here to promoting things. I write things which make sense to me and the above summary really made some sense in a way that I myself have seen changes in my organization. The process for support escalation have been minimized and there is lot of customer emphasis going on. The processes have been simplified when there is customer involved. I my self have pushed the regular work aside to solve the problems of the customers. I am not in position to say big things but if you want to make some money treat your customers as Gods.

Hope I managed to say what I wanted to say. :) Let me know your thoughts, I will be glad.

4 comments:

auto said...

Hi santosh, What you have wrote is 100% correct, everybody in the organization should think about customers in mind and do their job. Excellent Post. When we join a company we remember this and forget later on. So this blog remembered me again that "customer is god"

Santosh said...

Hey, thanks!

S.Kar said...

To Me customer is everything. I have worked several years interfacing with customers. Yes Sometimes it is not 100% correct that what customer says we need to support. it comes out with a messy product and it has happened to me by supporting Japanese customers. for me I try to discuss technical aspects of the feature customer wants to do it. I gave them multiple options to go for. I discuss ideas they are putting has negative impact on product in future. it takes long time but better to bring up in beginning.

Finally we all work for customers and you have to be a best listener what customer is talking. listen to them but act it differently. it does not mean that do not follow what they are saying but follow what needs to be done to satisfy their needs and maintain your product in long-term.

Santosh said...

Thank you for the insights! Very helpful.