Value and Relevance: Display Customer Relevance


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So much is written about value and about customers, and customer value. Likewise, money is spent on creating value. One prime example is CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). A given percentage of corporate profits has to be spent on CSR. Most CSR spending is not relevant to creating value for the company, other than as a charitable tool. If spent wisely in areas that could improve the company’s image, especially with customers and other stakeholders, and get more people wanting to do business with them, then the CSR money is spent on creating value for the company and the spending becomes relevant.

So much work is done by companies to improve the lot of the customers. However, the spending the work does not lead to an improvement in satisfaction (see the ACSI or American Customer Satisfaction Index). The ACSI score is 73 today, the same as what it was in the year 2000.

Has satisfaction not improved? Are people working on relevant areas or spending money foolishly led by eager executives and consultants with little knowledge? One must ask and get answers for this question.

Recently Prof. Prasad Naik suggested among other ideas, a Customer Focused Strategy. He went on to say: Measure what is important and focus on it.

He is making a case for relevant work.

Experience is too omnibus a term and that is what makes it less effective. It is not always focused on what is truly relevant to the customer. One learns very soon that one cannot be all things to all people. We have to be relevant and useful.

The Role of Customer Mindset Metrics is important as Prof Naik says, ‘It is not experience alone but the mindset.’ Experience can influence the mindset to some extent, but it is the customer’s mind we must understand. This is what I have been preaching. Your mindset truly differentiates you in the eyes of the customer and it shows on how you deal with him and how relevant the dealing is.

Experience and trying to do everything is like the story of the golf balls and sand and coffee. In this, if you put golf balls in a jar, you can fill the spaces with coffee and sand. But if you put the sand in first, there will be no space for the golf balls.

What this says is, if you do not take care of the big things, the important thing, the relevant things first, you will fill the jar with sand and the important things will never have a chance. If you first take care of relevant things, then the small things fall into place or are so irrelevant that we do not need to worry about them. Let this be a lesson for people who want to manage all experiences.

In the measurement of customer value through a metric called customer value added, we also find out what is important and therefore can concentrate on important things instead of trying to do everything

Lastly, remember what Bill Price the first global customer service manager for Amazon said to Jeff Bezos: No service is the best service. Service is irrelevant if you are doing things right, when you have zero defects, which leads to zero complaints. How much money you can save by having no defects and no complaints and no service!

Be relevant in your sales pitch, in discussions with your employees and in your life. Customer relevance will make you and your customer successful. Make corporate relevance a part of stakeholder relevance.

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 (


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