University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
How Consumer Insight Are Shaping Companies in India
Customer is King is an adage that most companies across the globe have embraced. The need to concentrate on customers and be responsive to their demands has long been acknowledged by organizations. However, with globalisation and technological revolution the dynamics of business, the meaning of customer and market knowledge have all undergone a transformation.
Today, the customer is the controlling factor in business and to be market-driven, an organisation has to evolve a culture that constantly listens to the customer, analyses competition and has strategies that meet existing, anticipated and even unanticipated needs of the customer. Going one step further, organizations must focus on customer relationship management which has given way to customer knowledge management. Given the international environment and knowledge economy, market and customer intelligence serves as a core competency and a principal source of competitive advantage. Leading by listening
Practically every success story in today’s corporate realm reflects how awareness of customer needs shapes competitive business strategy. Let’s look at some examples. Procter & Gamble When P&G, the largest consumer goods company in the world, chose to offer its products to the lower income customer in developing countries, it had research teams associating with the poorest of homes for weeks. This gave the company valuable insights, which aided the company in creating a range of products that suited the pockets of this segment, enabling it to gain substantial market share. Amazon.com
Amazon.com, the first e-retailer of books in the world, attained competitive advantage by emerging as book lovers’ forum where they could also share knowledge. It maintains customer knowledge through services such as book reviews, access to order histories and product recommendations based on preceding orders. Consequently, Amazon has recorded more than 70% repeat orders from its customers. Mahindra & Mahindra
Mahindra & Mahindra’s SUV, Scorpio, has experienced enormous success in domestic and international markets. The positioning of Scorpio as an economy SUV was centered on the findings of extensive market visits and exploration of customer needs. The customer needs and wants ascertained were transformed into product specifications for Scorpio. Customer groups were consulted at every stage of design and product development. Scorpio was designated as the “Car of the Year” by ‘BBC on Wheels’ shortly after its launch. Indian Railways
The amazing transformation of Indian Railways from what was termed as a white elephant to a profit making entity in less than two years has caught the attention of Indian and foreign academic and corporate establishments. This turnaround was not owing to any high-end technology but to a modest information means — the passenger feedback form. Data attained from these forms was analysed to identify customer expectations from the Railways. This was supported by a study of the best railways worldwide, and benchmarking with other transportations such as roadways and airlines. The outcome was a complete renovation of trains, stations and railway services to render them passenger-friendly. Needless to say, customers welcomed this change.
The above examples highlight that it is vital to listen to customers for a success marketer-customer relationship, where the customer is not just a beneficiary, but a partner. Effective listening, together with strategic initiatives, can bring about a happily-ever-after end to this association.