SAGE Publications Ltd
|Number of Pages
More than two decades after the watershed economic reforms of 1991, customers find yawning gaps between what many companies promise to deliver as a matter of policy and what, in customers' perception is actually delivered at the operating level. A major part of the problem stems from the fact that while a company may be keen to maximise customer satisfaction, it would also want to maximise shareholder value at the same time. This obsessive pursuit kills people's objectivity. The resulting conflict of self-interest generates wrong signals within the company, leading to organisational schizophrenia severely affecting employees' emotional engagement. Supported by sizeable empirical research from 300 interviews with almost 200 respondents, including customer-contact employees, the book explores the reasons why, in a company behaviour becomes unpredictable, responsiveness becomes arbitrary, initiative becomes risky, operating practices drift away from policy and mission statements begin to turn into mere posters. The book shows how organisational schizophrenia and the consequent problems can be avoided through disciplined and rigorous commitment to core values, standing up to wrongdoing and taking a stand for the customer at all levels of management.
The book is full of examples and interesting small cases on the way business is being done in the Indian business context... an eye opener for all....It is full of insights that would be of great help to the CEOs and senior managers from HR and marketing in resolving the issues of behaviour expected by the customer.
[The book] embodies an interesting discourse on the widening gap between intent and execution, promise and performance in organizations with reference to customer service quality....[It] is timely, the first of its kind publication in India, and should serve as an eye-opener to executives across the company...Gureja has experimented with blending the perspectives of theoretician and the practitioner, which adds value to the work. Organizations in this country will certainly benefit from authors experience...all those who believe that the 'Customer is King' may want to read this title.
(ASCI Journal of Management, Vol 43, 1 September 2013)
A stimulating analysis...arguments are based on rich experience and an extensive analysis of the interviews with executives...an interesting read and the reader can connect with the cases from his or her own life experiences. The comic illustrations are like feather in the cap and add to the impact of the book making it a visual retreat.
(Manpower Journal, Vol 47, January- March 2012)
About the Author
Gopal K Gureja has been closely associated with the management of customer-service all through his corporate career. Way back, in the early 1960s, when the Indian companies were riding roughshod over helpless customers, Gureja gave up a junior engineer's job with Himachal Pradesh P.W.D. to start his corporate career with K.G. Khosla & Company--the first ever to start manufacturing industrial air compressors in India. Until it began to hurt badly, the company had remained totally indifferent to its customers' persistent demand for after-sales support. As the first service manager, Gureja worked out a retrieval plan, got the managing director to endorse it, had the peer group emotionally involved and implemented the plan full force. With good service as its USP, the company virtually changed the rules of the game in the industry, got into a leadership position and stayed there for many years till it merged with KPL (Kirloskar Pneumatic Company Limited). Joining Wanson India (now, Thermax Ltd.) as Service Manager in 1970 was another challenge of similar kind. With unequivocal management support Gureja began to genuinely act as a customers' representative within the company. This attitude gathered emotional overtones and spread across the organisation. The company soon moved into the league of highly regarded organisations for innovation and customer consciousness. The annual rate of compounded growth that the company achieved year after year became the subject of a case study at the IIMA. As Gureja moved on to manage new business divisions, importance of good customer service always remained under a sharp focus. As a director in charge of a business division and as member of the Total Quality Steering Panel at Thermax, Gureja played a significant role in implementation of TQM. He retired in 1995.
Gureja is the author of Creating Customer Value (1997)--a book on the strategic importance of quality after-sales service and the changing role of the service manager. First of its kind written in the Indian context, the book made it to the Crossword best sellers list. At the Symbiosis Centre of Management and Human Resource Development the book was been prescribed as a reference book for an elective subject--'Relationship Marketing' (later CRM) forming a part of the MBA Syllabus. Gureja taught this subject as a regular faculty for four years. Gureja has written on various aspects of customer service for The Economic Times.