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Custommerce India Chapter 5

Posted by tggokul on October 23, 2008

I had a chance to be part of the Custommerce India Chapter 5 which was held at Leela,Kovalam last weekend. Essentially Custommerce is a movement that would address the challenges faced by all parties involved in the Customer Interaction space. Good vision, you would say.

I am not going into the actual event ( you can catch all the action here). Geet Sethi’s presentation was in tune with his achievement and his mantra that excellence cannot be obtained by passion but only through pure undeterred obsession was delivered with so much conviction that you couldn’t agree otherwise.

So here are my thoughts. I have no second thoughts on enriching CIM ( Customer Interaction Management) but where I defer from most ( including most of the participants in this forum) is that CIM is looked at from the perspective of the previous and the current generations. When we talk about CIM, words like personalization are thrown rather freely today. My contention is that it is the “legacy” in our minds that is talking all these and we are caught in the web of our own thoughts.

Does the next generation actually care about all these? My dad would put up with the idiosyncrasies of his bank because there was a personal touch. Our generation gets carried away by the “Birthday/Wedding cards” we receive from vendors. We are already tired with all this and the only thing that matters is performance. How good are you in solving my problem when I reach out to you? What can you do for me? These are the only things we care about.

Again, my dad’s interaction with his bank was through the branch office. Our medium is through the web ( email/chat). What would be the next medium? Has thoughts been given to that? My pet theory has been that the contact centers as we know it are dead, the world is your contact center. Are the CIM experts talking the same language and I don’t think so.

So, here I was in the meet talking to one person and I asked him the following question. “Given two equal products, there is no doubt, you will go with the product with a better customer service. Thats a no brainer. But lets talk about one brilliant product with an excuse of a customer service and a good product with exceptional customer service. Which one would you select and which one do you think the next gen would select?”. His answer was “Both the next gen and I would select the one with the exceptional customer service”. Now he can speak for himself. But talking about what the next gen would pick, isn’t that a little presumtuous?

The last session was a brainstorming session on what needs to be done to generate the moss for Custommerce and I suggested that we have a youth chapter as well that would thankfully bring in new ideas. They know the pulse of their generation more than anybody. They would tell us that if customer service goes awry, they would blog/facebook about it and damage the reputation of a company at a faster pace. They would tell us what they want from CIM and not what they would have to settle with.

If custommerce has to gain momentum, the average “Joes” and “dudes” have to be included. It needs to be the forum where their voices are heard. A custommerce blog where people from various walks of life could contribute might be a good start. As the page hits increase, the corporate world would start taking notice.

A request to the organizers. There was no representation from the digital media this time around and would be great if some bloggers are invited as well. Live blogging would have been an awesome mechanism to get the Custommerce word out and spread the awareness.


One Response to “Custommerce India Chapter 5”

  1. Vaishali said

    Gokul: Am in complete sync with some of the suggestions and thoughts you have raised here. So for example, bringing a blogger to the event for live blogging and opening a youth chapter.

    What I dont agree with is this – am pasting excerpts from your article to illustrate better. “Our generation gets carried away by the “Birthday/Wedding cards” we receive from vendors. We are already tired with all this and the only thing that matters is performance. How good are you in solving my problem when I reach out to you? What can you do for me? These are the only things we care about.”

    While the next generation, or even to some part your generation would only be worried about performance (as are all of us) – the leeway to make mistakes if your service and care is exception is most certainly there. To quote an example of an airline I hold very close to my heart (not mentioning names for obvious reasons) – their customer service is exceptional and in my opinion world class. There was a tiny instance of an irritation during one of my transactions with them. But I let it pass, because their service and care has always been great. One mistake is allowed.

    To answer your question about how good are you in solving my problems when I come to you, I’m saying its ok once in a while that you messed up – if you are by and large customer centric.

    And oh, by the way, if you are not customer centric you will never know or learn that the next generation may want to be left alone! You will know that, only if you follow their likes and dislikes carefully and create products and strategies to suit that.

    Net net – let none of us get ahead of ourselves and try to second guess what the customer wants, it could be this generation or the next. Lets get around to asking them and acting accordingly. And for that, we do need to be customer centric!

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