Customer is King

The Problem of Too Much

Customer is King, treat him likewise in your kingdom of services

CUSTOMER IS KING. No two ways about this, period.

“What role do we play as service providers ?” I wonder. I realised that as service providers, we enable the King (customer) to thrive, to grow, to rule, to compete, to create, to destroy, to enjoy, to live rightfully a king-size life and do everything that is required to keep himself happy and healthy and to take care of the kingdom, which we are also a part of.

Hence as service providers, we are required to treat a customer like a king, royally. The king may at times demands more than usual, he may be unreasonable, may feel frustrated and may levy heavy to marginal punishments and we are rarely empowered to raise a question. Yet, when you’re given the chance to voice out your concerns, make the best out of it and do so with clarity, a reasonable king will always hear your concerns. The king has an ego, a much deserved or assumed ego.

Just like a king, the customer needs to be treated royally, never insult the customer with mere price reductions, for the king’s ego may get affected. A royal king ( customer) doesn’t merely look at the price, he looks at the service levels and some exclusive treatment. A good king doesn’t expect you to behave like slaves but rather as a trusted enabler. We cannot win the heart of a customer always with a reduction in price or a discount. A great King generally doesn’t negotiate much on the pricing as he is royal !

Here goes an anecdote.

It was easily twenty years back when I had been to a consumer durable store with my four-plus-year-old son to buy a new TV with a budget in mind. It was my first migration to a flat-screen TV. My son dressed up smartly as he was delighted to accompany me to a good store where he would see many TVs gleaming at him live. I looked at a mid-sized TV and though I was longing to buy a Sony TV, my budget and the quickly tabulated EMI scheme didn’t permit me to make my dream a reality. The Sony TV was costing Rs 500 or so more towards EMI. I was willing to settle for a lower brand, but not my son. Perhaps he thought that the spinach-eating and pipe smoking Popeye would look amusing on a Sony TV. He was grinning ear to ear looking at it.

I wanted to recheck with the owner of the shop. I asked him “I would like to purchase the Sony TV but it costs more than what I can afford, but my son seems to love that TV”.

The owner smiled at me and said, “Sir if you don’t buy the Sony TV, who else will buy”. My son who was obviously shorter than me at that point in time lifted his tiny head and looked at me. I surrendered to the views of the owner. He hit my ego rather, he massaged my ego, he strategically said this while my son was listening to him. I didn’t have an option. I said ‘pack Sony’.

The owner treated me like a king, he didn’t know that the humble king had come in a scooter which was yet to be fully paid up. But to the owner, I was a king, he gave me that impression and the king should behave like a king, he cannot ask for petty discounts. The king left the place with a re-tabulated EMI in his mind and Popeye was waiting to showcase his powers on a much larger screen, with more colors and pristine clarity through the new Sony flat screen at home.

Posted by
P.C. Balasubramanian,
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

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