Over the years, Indian IT services companies have taken pride in building a service oriented mentality and perfecting the art of customer management. The term ‘customer handling’ has been used by countless number of people in their resumes and public profiles. The art and science of customer management has been perfected, as many people rightfully claim. Our genes, the socio-economic setup, the general Indian mild behavior and English speaking ability are a few factors that could have attributed to this.
With these unique attributes India.inc has turned out to be the perfect hosts for major MNC’s and other global companies. While the world moved ahead, these major customers got accustomed to the ‘perfect host’ behavior and expectedly, started asking for something more. Thus, the topic “Customer Expectation Management” came into picture.
The term ‘customer expectation management’ can be explained much better by quoting a scenario. Let us say we visited the temple city Varanasi on the banks of the holy river Ganges. It is not uncommon to see people offering their boats on hire. But, what’s amazing is the fact that none of them sell the usual and typical qualities that visitors usually expect of a boat ride – politeness, best prices, condition of the article being contracted, etc. Instead, boatmen are found busy explaining how the evening ‘aarti’ would look terrific if viewed from their boat at a particular distance, from a particular angle.
The boatmen knew exactly what the customers’ expectations were.
All our softer aspects have been well recognized and appreciated after working with customers for more than a decade. But beyond a point, they have limited impact as customers take those for granted. Almost all 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. We constantly getgood feedback on several occasions from customers on how well they were treated at the campus during their visit. But, the question here is if this translating into dollar business?
Leaving the hospitality apart, what really matters these days are the other tangible items such as how well we manage their “expectations” in terms of code quality, timely delivery, honest communication and useful feedback. 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. It is time we supplement our culture led approach with the 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. Our neighboring countries and close competitors are catching up fast on that glib talking in English and we need to make this transition from “Customer Management” to “Customers Expectation Management” sooner than later.