A roundtable involving Tata executives from different industries elicited a variety of views on customer orientation and after sales service. By Sanghamitra Bhowmik
All this talk of the customer being king and queen, of this exalted entity always being right, of the criticality of connecting with him or her — can only make sense if the platitudes are moulded to mean business. The sensibility involved is important, but even more so is the shaping of the collective employee mindset to make customers and their concerns and priorities central to any given company’s organisational ethos.
Customer centricity at the Tata group has been recast over the recent past to turn it into an advantage of consequence and a differentiator in the competition stakes. Though several Tata companies have achieved exceptional outcomes as a result of this wide-ranging effort, there is always more to be done, particularly in light of the warp speed at which business and its domains are getting altered by technology.
To better understand the minutiae of customer centricity and how these are mutating in the modern age, Tata Review brought together senior customer service executives from four group enterprises — Titan Company, Tata Teleservices, Tata Sky and Tata Motors — to offer their views on customer service and its changing role in ‘clinching the deal’.
Harish Bhat, chairman of Tata Global Beverages and brand custodian of Tata Sons, opened what we called the ‘customer centricity roundtable’, which was held at Bombay House, the Tata group headquarters, earlier this year. Setting the tone for the roundtable, Mr Bhat said: “Customer service and, in particular, after-sales services occupy a vital position in the lifecycle of all our brands, products and services. This is the point at which customers are most vulnerable, when they expect the company or the brand to reach out and resolve problems they may be facing.”
At the Tata group level, there is now an ‘after-sales service excellence group’ to address such issues. The team here comprises customer service heads, who discuss and participate in group-level projects and in pilots in their respective companies. Heading the team is HG Raghunath, a former chief executive of the watches division at Titan Company.
Mr Raghunath and his team try to ensure that customer service excellence gets the attention and visibility it deserves across Tata. “We are determined to ensure that post-sales service excellence and customer service in general attain the same level of visibility, the same level of attention as the creation of a product or the selling of this product,” said Mr Bhat.
What follows are perspectives on customer centricity from the participating companies in the round table: Tata Teleservices, Tata Sky, Titan Company and Tata Motors.
Courtesy: Tata Review Magazine April – June 2017