Headline: the Customer Calls the Shots

In: Business and Management

Submitted By vivian123
Words 465
Pages 2
HEADLINE: The customer calls the shots

BODY:
MEET your new boss...you, and him, and her too. Welcome to the world where the customer is the CEO.

For years computer cognoscenti have been shaping the products they use by writing software and designing games. Now the concept has gone corporate -companies as diverse as General Electric, BMW and Staples have asked for consumers' design input.

Nirmalya Kumar, a professor of marketing at London Business School, says: "We are at a nascent stage in terms of using consumers to shape business in this way.

"Most companies say that they want to become more customer-orientated but they don't want to have customers run the company. Companies need to change their mindsets away from research and development departments running the show. They need to learn how to manage customer feedback and use it in a meaningful way."

In future you'll spend much more time getting to know your customers following the example of executives at Harley-Davidson, who are expected to ride with customers for at least 10 to 15 days a year. And customer relationship management isn't just a buzz-word for those in sales, it is vitally important for those working in professional services too -something which hasn't yet been fully grasped writes Das Narayandas, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, in Harvard Business Review (Sept).

Chris Sanderson, the director of The Future Laboratory, says: "The relationship between consumers and brands is going to become very one-sided in the next five to ten years; in favour of the consumer." We expect companies to listen to us, we want to be treated as individuals and to have our products and services customised: something the computer manufacturer Dell has mastered.

The growing emphasis on customers is shifting the balance of power in companies.

In the retail sector…...

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