Journey of a Customer Value Creation Evangelist


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So many articles are written about the Customer and how to make him happier. These articles just tweak the same theme and play the same tune without understanding why true change is not happening. Talk to the customer, be nice to him, give him a good experience in journeys he may not want, unleash CRM in different forms, but basically it is business as usual.

I just finished reading Dick Lee’s in depth and historical expose of companies in his book, “We Are Buyers. You Are Sellers. You’re Busted.”  He talks about what companies have managed to get away with at the expense of the Customer and the country in the guise of growth and payers of tax and the supporter of big government (in the US he states large companies pay only 17% tax). As the Russians said, the capitalist oligarchy controls these countries

I believe we live in different spheres and thinking: Companystan (that is the country of Companies) and Customerstan. The philosophy of the Company has been working with Profitstan in a world of Mediocristan. Few like Lee and me wish to visit Extremistan where change is wreaked on, or legislated on companies to move towards Customerstan and report and use Customer data with the same passion as financial and profit data, just as a start. As companies move from Profitstan and Companystan to Customerstan, they will change and rename the operations department run by a COO to become the Customer Department (incorporating products and product development, employees brought in from Customerstan, all Customer focused work including accounts and finances to do with Customers, manufacture, supply and delivery chain, technology and IT, the ethics department, the shareholder department). Those left out would be routine accounting, tax and treasury, routine HR functions of policing, compliance and record keeping, routine maintenance, corporate social responsibility, government affairs etc. This routine department along with the Customer department will report to the CEO.

So we also need some new definitions for words from Customerstan such as Customeric and Customer responsibility

Customer responsibility: While this can mean many things, in this context it is the responsibility that the company takes for the Customer. So if the company has a bill of rights for the Customer, then it has a responsibility to uphold the rights. Or if they bring out a product, they have a responsibility the product will perform and be repaired if it does not. In an overall sense, the company must feel responsible to the Customer

Customeric is a word coined to show that a company has the Customer-in-Centre. The Customer is the centre of the company’s strategy, its focus. The company is Customer-centric, takes Customer responsibility, measures Customer data and lets Customer thought lead the business.

Then truly will companies migrate from Companystan to Customerstan.

Do you think our Customer movement should force the move from Companystan to Customerstan? Should we concentrate on this than just to get process or system improvements for the Customer? Can Customerstan become a force to reckon with? I desperately need your comments even though you might decide to transport me to Companystan.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gautam Mahajan
Gautam Mahajan, President of Customer Value Foundation is the leading global leader in Customer Value Management. Mr Mahajan worked for a Fortune 50 company in the USA for 17 years and had hand-on experience in consulting, training of leaders, professionals, managers and CEOs from numerous MNCs and local conglomerates like Tata, Birla and Godrej groups. He is also the author of widely acclaimed books "Customer Value Investment: Formula for Sustained Business Success" and "Total Customer Value Management: Transforming Business Thinking." He is Founder Editor of the Journal of Creating Value ( and runs the global conference on Creating Value (


  1. Hi Gautam

    The world you describe exists only in your imagination. It is very unlikely that it will ever exist in reality.

    Companies in a competitive market economy are right to be company-centric; not so company-centric as to ignore the dynamics of the markets in which they operate, but company-centric enough to understand in detail the trade-offs that allows them to extract the maximum value for their shareholders over the short to medium-term. For most companies the long-term is such a very long way off it can safely be ignored.

    Companies have no moral responsibilities towards their customers other than those set out in the laws of the land in which the operate. They may elect to be generous towards their customers, for example by having excellent customer service, but that should be a calculated choice based on its impact on shareholder value not a wasteful attempt to be nice to customers.

    There is very little empirical evidence that putting customers at the centre of your business creates more value for shareholders than putting the company at its centre. Until there is strong incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, companies should continue to put themselves at the centre.

    Graham Hill

  2. Graham, companies operate in the customer space. If there is no customer, and no customer space, there is no company.
    But companies believe they cannot operate in Customerstan. A shopkeeper in a crowded bazaar operates almost in Customerstan.
    I think companies that have a customer responsibility idea will be ahead.
    Empirical evidence? companies have shorter lives than 30 years ago, So do CEOs.
    Lastly, imagination: There are people who are saying that managers are expendable and in a sense customers could become quasi managers. Others believe many managers can be replaced by robots.
    Will it happen? Maybe. But the thinking is there. Already many functions in legal firms are robotised (computerised). What we did not believe was possible and in our imagination is happening…spacecrafts going to Pluto, medical tinkering through DNA…why then is the company thinking via MBA teaching (and that is only 60-70 years old) not going to change?


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