How Customer-Centricity Helps Create Great Brands


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World over companies are struggling to retain their top line and also satisfy their shareholders. There is tremendous pressure on companies to innovate, come out with newer products/services and also provide great customer service. To achieve all this, one thing needs to be remembered i.e. to keep the customer at the centre of all this. Customers are the ones who can make or break a company and it is imperative that they are taken care of. Having great customer service along with great product can lead to building a great brand, this in the long run will help in increasing the top line as well the bottom line.

What do we mean by “brand”? The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. So a brand is actually a unique identification by which a service or a product is distinguished. Every company has created its own brand, but all of them have not been successful due to reasons which are well known. Creating a great brand is good but maintaining and justifying it is important. Companies need to rework on their strategies in the area of Customer Engagement & loyalty, Product innovation, having agile systems and Passionate employees to back up and make it work. This is not an exhaustive list but some of the areas which make a difference.

Customer Engagement

A telecom service provider in Africa due to bad customer service and disgruntled customers was taking a major hit on its brand. The message was very clear that the company failed to read customer expectations. Engaging a customer during the course of his/her relationship is very critical. Once a product or service is sold, it is important that a culture is built around in engaging customers at different stages of the product/service life cycle. It is imperative to get passionate about serving customers, getting into dialogues and listening to customer’s insight on what his/her expectations are. Customers tend to use various touch points and to take right actions whichever channel the customer chooses. It is important to keep tab on all the touch points the customers use and work towards improving customer experience at every conceivable point of interaction

An engaged customer is customer for life and helps in defining brands. So getting an engaged customer also means providing great customer service. Customer centricity is what works in here. Thinking, breathing, and acting like a customer are essential. This can also mean recovering from mistakes and acknowledging it. Customers tend to give opportunities to correct mistakes and this should be grabbed at the first available opportunity. Customers tend to compare brands and one bad experience like the telecom company faced in Africa is bound to be heard. Customers are brand ambassadors for companies and good reference points.

Quality product/service

There is no way customer will be loyal and passionate if the product/service is not meeting his/her expectations. It is imperative to do a proper research and be innovative to come out with a product/service which is appealing and get the customer to buy/use more of it. Markets surveys will also help in positioning the product/service at the right time and also to the right kind of profile. Care to be taken to see that the product/service is also priced rightly. Customers don’t mind paying higher price when they perceive value for money for the services rendered. It is not always true that if a product/service is priced low, then only it can be marketed. A large bank in Africa has been in forefront of coming out with innovative products/services. They have been able to read the pulse of the customer and irrespective of pricing, have been able to attract customers to open accounts with them and use more of their services. They have been able to create a great brand for themselves.

Passionate / Empowered employees

A large African Bank is selective about whom it recruits. They try to access compatibility /passion and cultural fit before an offer is made. Why is this required? For any business having a great brand is not possible without having passionate employees on its roles. This passion has to flow from the top and it is imperative that getting the right staff, equipping with the right tools, empowerment and regular trainings will help them think out of the box, collaborate and succeed in their work. Regular feedbacks and constant updates on the happenings with the product/service will help them to understand customer’s needs, wants and goes a long way along with dealing in an emotive, emphatic and interactive manner. A passionate empowered employee is reliable, loyal and will standup by the company during bad and good times. They are great brand ambassadors like customers and are a vital part in system.

Agile Systems

Why are older Banks not as nimble and proactive as the new age banks? A lot of older banks have legacy systems which don’t allow them in coming out with newer products/services at a faster pace as expected. A lot of newer age banks are moving towards newer technologies which allow them to launch and make changes, thereby providing quality products and services in a short time frame. New product innovation is the in thing and Banks are relying heavily on systems which are agile and help in reducing the cost to market for a new product/service. A new bank in Africa with latest agile systems is giving a run for older banks by coming out with innovative products in a short time span thereby luring customers from the older banks and also being successful in terms of managing its costs. This bank has been innovative in terms of its products and also pricing its products at prices which are lower than other banks without affecting the quality of service. It has also managed to create great brand image for itself by virtue of great service and quality product.

So great brands are not born but are created with a combination of great product, service, customer loyalty and above all passionate employees. As the saying goes it is not easy to create a brand overnight, creating one is easy but maintaining it at that level is a challenge and there are companies in the world that have consistently strived and maintained that.

Disclosure: The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of the company

Girish P B
Girish is a Consultant with expertise in Retail Banking(Cards & Loans) and has extensively worked in the areas of People Management, Operational Management , Contact Centre Management-Voice & Non-Voice, Client Servicing and Relationship Management.


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