Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Customer's Pencil

This is a true life incident and I often talk about this during my sessions on Quality. 

The age of "Customer Satisfaction" is passe ... now is the age of "Customer Delight" . 

All the organizations talk about their own methods of nurturing their customers . Vishal Sikka, the CEO of  Infosys is personally monitoring the top 100 customers of the company - taking care of their stated as well as unstated needs. The senior management of the companies address their teams about how innovation should be deployed so that the customers are not only delighted but they become ecstatic !

But we have to be careful.  

First we have to understand what our clients need. The cut and dry requirements which we document , do they meet the business purpose ?  What we think as "innovation" and "value addition", do the customers really think so ? It might be the other way round ! 

This anecdote will elucidate the point. 

A very large MNC had ordered the manufacture of fancy pencils with the name of the company embossed on it , for business promotion and gifts.  Accurate specifications , design , colour etc was provided . It was a huge order for the pencil manufacturing vendor and they were all geared up to do their best . 

After lots of thought the Vendor put a colourful, scented eraser  that the top of the pencils as "value addition". This was supposed to be the surprise element ... promotion of customer delight and ecstasy. 

When the consignment was delivered, the customer was furious !  He did not want the pencils ! 

"Why did you put these erasers ? Now you will have to pay for the losses which we have incurred  ... and it runs into millions !"

What do you think went wrong ??? 

It so happened that the client had engaged another vendor for the manufacture of the pencil boxes.  

And with the eraser fitted on the top, the pencil did not fit in the box ! 

So.... whenever you think of Customer Delight or Customer Ecstasy or Value addition, first think of "Conformance to Requirements" .... and this anecdote !!

Cheers and have a nice weekend !

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