This case introduces the concept of customer centricity
This case introduces the concept of customer centricity and traces its development at EMC, the world’s leading data storage hardware and information management Software Company. EMC’s customers had historically relied on EMC salespeople to guide them through the complex, consultative buying process. However, with the rise of social media, prospective customers are getting more of the information they require earlier in the purchase process online.
As they do so, their physical interactions with EMC salespeople are decreasing, while their digital interactions are increasing.Given the changing business environment, BJ Jenkins, senior vice president of Global Marketing, faces significant challenges as he tries to maintain EMC’s culture of customer centricity. These include 1) translating EMC’s platinum service levels, designed to appeal to the world’s largest companies, to small businesses and B2C customers, 2) understanding how the replacement of physical interaction with digital interaction in the consultative selling process affects EMC’s business, and 3) managing a VAR sales model that distances EMC from its customers. OverviewEMC Consulting Customer Centricity services provide a framework for more effectively dealing with customer data, processes, and interactions to improve customer relationships and increase customer lifetime value. Challenges Approaches to customer information management were often driven by independent, product-driven processes. These approaches resulted in fragmented views of the customer and significant redundancies in both customer management processes and customer information storage. To solve this problem and enhance customer relationships, companies are shifting to customer-centric information management.
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Our Approach EMC Consulting provides an architecture for the processing and management of customer information, regardless of the entry point or channel. Customer Centricity business services can help you: * Establish a core profile that serves as a common repository of customer information. * Establish core processes that support regulatory requirements. * Ensure that data quality and organizational participation support a successful program. Customer Centricity technology services can help you: * Implement a centralized data hub to store customer information for reuse.
Generate the data elements and content for all forms. * Implement a business process management system for the user interface, cross-functional processes and workflow, and integration of data and rules. * Implement a rules engine for consistent validation. Measurable Outcomes EMC Consulting Customer Centricity can help you: * Drive a greater level of intelligence throughout the customer lifecycle. * Establish the appropriate levels of data quality control and organizational participation. * Develop a flexible architecture to support integrated customer dataHow did EMC get there? Our “fanatical devotion” to our customers came about not by accident, but by design.
It’s been part of our business model since 1988. At that time, EMC and several other companies were shipping systems that used disk drives from the same third-party vendor. When problems arose with the drives, our competitors essentially shifted ownership of the problem to the vendor.
Unbelievably, they kept manufacturing systems that used the same faulty drives, and made repairs only if customers complained. EMC was the only company that stopped using the problem units.And, we went a step farther: we contacted all our customers who had received a system with one of these drives, and offered them a choice of either a new system from EMC or one from IBM – the only other manufacturer who wasn’t using the drives. We actually paid for more than a few IBM systems. But many customers recognized how committed we were to them, and they came back to us next time.
Our CEO, Mike Ruettgers, says, “What that proved to me, to all of us, was that when a customer believes in you, and you go to great lengths to preserve that relationship, they’ll stick with you almost no matter what.It opened our eyes to the power of customer service. ” Today, customer service is so central to the way we do business that we measure it rigorously. Decide how to run your business first, then measure how well you do. We’ve been measuring our progress in satisfying customers for quite a long time, using metrics that are central to the way we operate.
I believe that’s essential. You don’t measure first and create your business model later. This information-gathering frequently leads us toward important tactical or strategic solutions.For instance, we found that the basic question of “What does the customer want? ” has two answers, depending on which customer you mean. The corporate executives who approve buying an EMC system say their #1 criterion is “A company I know and trust. ” The technical people who actually use the system have top priorities that include sales, product, and software-related areas.
So we’ve learned to tailor our communications to the Line of Business executives or the Operations executives. Customer satisfaction measurement also helps us define and resolve potentially major problems.An example: We were beginning to see declining customer satisfaction levels from our customers who had EMC systems installed for less than two years.
Research revealed that a flawed initial set-up was leaving a bad taste in these customers’ mouths. They were saying to themselves, “Why pay a premium price and have problems from the get-go? ” Correcting our set-up method required changing processes throughout the company, and many long months of flawless service to alter customer perceptions. Because of the value added in situations like these, customer satisfaction measurement has become an integral part of our business planning at EMC.
We’ve institutionalized the program across the organization, with incentives for our professional services and customer service people. Where do we go from here? Working with Walker Information, we’re in the process of refining and expanding this measurement program to advance our understanding of the customer. Our biggest challenge continues to be building internal usage of customer satisfaction results.
The perception needs to be that it’s not just “a customer service thing,” but a tool that can help us build long-term relationships and loyalty.On some fronts, we’re making great progress; on others, we’re moving an inch at a time. When organizational dynamics come into play, it becomes more difficult to turn knowledge into action. I’ll explain some of our learning experiences in a follow-up article next month. In the meantime, our experience – economic downturn notwithstanding – shows that customers are delighted to deal with someone who takes ownership of solving their problems.
So if your company isn’t particularly customer-centric, consider the potential rewards. It’s never too late to do the right thing.