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BW Businessworld

A Customer Centric Culture

The book includes a short summary at the end of each chapter, which captures the essence of that chapter quite well

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The business landscape has transformed significantly over the last few years. We live in a world of continuous uncertainty, driven by digital revolution, which has considerably changed consumers’ behaviour and also made it possible for marketers to have a two-way communication with them. For organisations to be successful, listening to their customers on a real-time basis and responding to their needs is extremely critical.

The traditional industrial-age approach to managing uncertainty by making detailed plans is not the best approach anymore. As software gets integrated into every product and solution, the better way to deal with constant change is to listen to your customers and aim for continuous learning and improvement.

Gothelf’s Sense and Respond appropriately encapsulates different use-case scenarios across organisations that have successfully brought about product innovations by listening to their customers. While this has been much easier for software companies, some of the hardware companies have also started to build their products like software products, providing upgrades as and when needed. Xiaomi, Tesla are few interesting examples. Xiaomi continuously updates its products in response to user feedback. Tesla has revolutionised the auto industry by addressing one of the biggest obstacles to success of electric cars — the fear that the vehicle will run out of charge mid-way to the destination with no charging station in the range. The revolutionary solution from Tesla senses the need of customers and responds on time with all details that the customer requires. 

The book is divided into two parts. The first part introduces ‘Sense and Respond’ as a strong business model and discusses various aspects of it. As a marketer there are two points that are particularly noteworthy for me in the “Sense and Respond” model.

Using big data to reduce business risks
Unlike the industrial age mind-set, where success was measured by timely launch of products, today’s business scenario is more uncertain. Given the complex nature of products and changing consumer behaviour, success is not limited to just a successful launch. To gain better insights into customer behaviour and determine factors that can result in the success of the product, big data can be very fruitful, especially for large companies working on multiple existing businesses.

Acting as software companies
Because of the advent of digital technology, even hardware companies need to have software as a service component in their business model. They also have to think and act as swiftly as software companies in addressing consumer needs.

The second part of the book contains guidelines for managers to ‘Sense and Respond’ better. The author presents Sense and Respond as not just a process but  a culture and emphasises the importance of creating a culture for continuous improvement. According to him, cultural change starts at the highest level in the organisation and directly depends on the transparency and humility of the C-suite.

The book includes a short summary at the end of each chapter, which captures the essence of that chapter quite well. However, at some places, especially in Part 2, the content becomes slightly repetitive. Hence the book tends to lose its grip on the readers but the author does bring it back with case studies and real-world examples.

Overall, it’s a great book for today’s business leaders who are constantly looking at embracing new transformations as a result of digital revolution and wanting to find out different ways to connect with their customers.  I would recommend this book to everyone and urge managers to start thinking of novel ways to obtain customer feedback and implement it even at a small scale.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Magazine 12 May 2018 book reviews big data

Kumar G.B.

Kumar is Vice President, India & APAC, Prysm Inc

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