The Customer Advocacy Perspective

Customer relationships in general have been discussed innumerable times in the last 2 decades .But still some companies are more successful in managing their relationships. In this article I would be talking about the Customer Relationships with the perspective of Information Technology.

In this period of recession when every company be it in manufacturing , financial services , retail etc is talking of cost cutting, lay-offs then how are our Information technology Companies faring. Their pricing is under immense pressure , new orders are drying up. In these tough times the relationships are all the more important between customer and its I.T partner. Since I.T companies should also elevate themselves to a partner status and help its client to survive in this tough business environment by helping them to optimize their operations and reducing their costs.

If its a running project then we should have a re look at our processes to see if we could optimize our resources to get a better result. We could reorganize our environment, process and resources so that the optimization level is high. If its a new project then project planning has to be good, having time for all the buffer , training, development and testing etc. The current status of the project should be communicated to the customer with in a very transparent framework.

The client should be involved extensively during all the major activities of the project, so that he may feel confident about the project and see to it that time lines are met. Where ever its a support project then the resources have to be utilized properly seeing to it, what is the load of support calls on the resources and what are their individual efficiencies?

The summary of the above writing is its a recession everywhere, therefore all the value chain members should coordinate with each other to tide over this difficult time. Enhanced Customer relationships will help them to milk the cash cows for a much longer time and for our Clients it would be much more leaner and efficient I.T infrastructure in their premises leading to drastic cost saving.

Customer Advocacy is a new buzzword now a days , but top management of the companies might be tempted to try out this new theory. But I want to discuss about one of the factors that would affect the success roll out of the program which is the mindset of the people involved which can be stakeholders or the top level management or normal employees.

When the company goes for customer advocacy roll out , the most negativity comes from the mindset of the employees itself . Since Customer Advocacy is all about better services to the customer. Normally the Customer Advocacy Team would be built from the managers from various departments who will have their primary responsibilities different from Customer Advocacy. These people will treat customer advocacy as just their secondary activities. These managers would be the big reasons if the roll out would be lagging in time. There has to be constant motivation for the team to see its goal in right perspective.

Lets see the other group of people the top management who should be closely associated with the program. Now here are the employees whose mindset is often plagued with ego and they would delay the whole initiative if they are not been involved in the major activities of the program, There should be a constant endeavor to remind the top management that the Customer Advocacy is not indebted to their egos.

The last in the mindset problems are the customer itself . Sometimes the mindset of the customer is conditioned in such a way they would not be responsive to the customer advocacy initiative of the company. This problem can only be solved with the time when the company shows its persistent better customer services and advocacy initiatives.