My vision is to truly create a company that puts customer loyalty above everything else. We can only begin to talk about customer loyalty after we achieve customer satisfaction. Let’s get this straight: loyal customers are those who continue to use the services you offer at a price that allows you to cover your costs and make a decent profit (after all, business is about wealth creation for all those involved). You know a customer is loyal when s/he renew the product/service contract or subscribe to new relevant products/services you bring to the market. Customer loyalty in my opinion is close to black and white. Whereas customer satisfaction could be misleading as companies tend to rely on surveys to establish the level of customers’ satisfaction. If you had a bad morning before responding to a survey, the survey might give you an opportunity to get your frustration out! And there are many other reasons why most of customer satisfaction surveys fail. Yet they remain today as a useful indicator of corporate success. These surveys if implemented correctly are useful in terms of developing new solutions and understanding problems with existing solutions. After all, without customer feedback, your success will not last very long.
But you cannot even begin to achieve customer satisfaction nor customer loyalty without having the right team with the right attitude. This raises the issue: is the team more important than the customer? Both are so intertwined, it is difficult to have one without the other. People buy from people who they can trust (read John Clough‘s recent article). You cannot achieve trust overnight. It is something you need to work on. Once the organisational culture is geared to achieve customer loyalty, from the developer to the sales person and the customer service personnel, this vision becomes easier to achieve.
But we also need to understand the market. One way to achieve this is getting closer to the customer. But we also must know how the market is changing. Change is usually created by new solutions that are more cost effective or operationally superior than incumbent solutions (and there are disruptive solutions that challenge the market). These may be easier to implement, less costly, address corporate pains better or may have the features that customers like. Those who drive or stay close to the drivers will make a success. As most trends tend to last only until the new trend comes along (I am glad we are not in B2C market)!
To summarise, my vision is to create a company who understands the customer and market. And we need individuals who can help me/us achieve this vision.