Phy-gital Roundtable: Breakfast Roundup from Germany and Netherlands

02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

Customer Management Vs Customer Expectation Management

Posted on: 20 April '12

Indian IT services companies take pride in themselves in building a service oriented mentality over the years, and perfecting the art of customer management. Countless people have highlighted the term “Customer Handling” in their resumes and public profiles. Many people rightfully claim to have perfected the art and science of customer management. There are a number of reasons attributed to this – our genes, the socio-economic set-up, the general Indian mild behavior and our English speaking ability. The unanimous result is that we have turned out to be the perfect hosts to major MNCs and other global companies of the world. However, as the world moved, customers got accustomed to this perfect “hosting” behavior and started asking for something more. That’s where the topic of “Customer Expectation management” came.

Let me explain this term through an example. Recently, I visited Varanasi and was on the banks of the river Ganges. Many people approached me to lend their boats on hire. What amazed me was that, none of them were selling the typical qualities that one expects while buying services on a trip – Politeness of the salesperson, good rates, condition of the article being contracted, etc. Instead, all of them were busy explaining how the evening “Aarti” would look terrific, if viewed from their boat at a particular distance, from a particular angle.

They exactly knew why I was there and what my expectations were. They knew very well that for me, the quality of their boats, their polite behavior, the rates or any other hospitality services were not the clinching factors. I was only looking for that divine experience of watching the “Aarti” live from a certain angle and scouting for that boatman who will manage my expectation best. Now translate the same thing to our business.

After working with customers for more than a decade, all our softer aspects have been well recognized and well appreciated. But beyond a point, they have limited impact as customers take those for granted. Almost all our customers have a very good opinion about our hospitality, the way we talk and approach them, the promptness and the readiness we show in replying to them, etc. I have personally got good feedback on several occasions from our customers on how well they were treated at our campuses during their visit. But are all these translating into dollar business? I doubt.

What matters today is how well we manage their “expectations” in terms of code quality, timely delivery, honest communication, useful feedback and other tangible items. The onus of meeting these expectations lies on everybody in a particular account, starting from the delivery manager to the junior most engineers in the team. In no way do I mean that we should break away from our culture led approach, but we should supplement it with our expertise led approach.

We need to build deep domain knowledge in our selected areas and show our ability to meet customer expectations in the form of hardcore deliverables. That glib talking in English is not going to work anymore as our neighbors are fast catching us on that. We need to make this transition from “Customer Management” to “Customers’ Expectation Management” sooner than later. Let the journey begin today!

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  • Md. Mubassir Anjum

    its really very good article i adore it .people say customer is same as god (garahak bhagwan ke saman hota hai ) i feel that is really some how true … every thing is depend on customer need requirement and expectation and all these thing covered in this article . i m convinced by this article and learnt a lot .. thanks

  • Shankar HN

    Good article.

    Expectation fulfilment is a measurable. It can be viewed as having two parts, the stated and the unstated. Understanding the unstated calls for closeness to customer as well as maturity.

    • Very well summarized Shankar. Fulfilling the unstated needs of the customer is the key to building long term strategic relationship these days.

  • CP Ramakrishnan

    I appreciate the understanding but I am also sorry to realize the negative idea of Customer Management projected here. The article seems to suggest an inherent guile in appeasing customers with “glib” talks and somehow using our traditional capabilities of being excellent hosts, to cover up the short-comings on software delivery.

    It is possible that you may have come across people who think this way and perhaps the ploy has worked some times. Perhaps that has prompted you to write this article but please don’t generalize to include all Indian companies that provide IT services. Not everybody is out there to somehow trick people to buy bad or inadequate software 😀 Also, I don’t believe this approach has ever worked or will work. My math teacher used to say, “Anyone can make a mistake once, but you are a fool if you make the exact same mistake again”.

    Our customers are exceptionally smart people so to voice this idea that some warped concept of “customer handling” or “management” or the “glib talks” have been instrumental in getting business for over the years is simply ridiculous.