Deva Rangarajan, a faculty member and Director for the Center for Professional Selling at Ball State University, brings both a practical and an academic perspective to sales.
Having traveled extensively for work, Deva has tremendous insight into how customers operate in different regions of the world. He and Jeremey delve into NPS scores, the “Amazonification of Expectations”, and being seen as a trusted advisor in the era of social media.
Listen to this episode to hear Deva’s thoughts on the customer experience and the biggest challenges he’s seen throughout his extensive consulting experience.
Listen here, and keep reading for some of the highlights from this episode below.
Challenges with the Customer Experience
Jeremey: So I’d love to dive into the customer experience. So since you’re consulting and working with so many different people out in the industry, what are some of the most pressing and difficult challenges that they’re facing with respect to customer experience?
Deva: I’ve had a chance to work with many organizations in different sectors, you know what I mean? So from financial banking organizations to pharmaceutical companies, to manufacturing companies, and in different organizations, they talk about customer experience in different terms.
So if I go into the manufacturing industry, they don’t necessarily talk about an experience, they talk about providing the right kind of solutions.
So what I what I’m going to say right now need to be tempered to the fact that depending upon the kind of organization that the people in the podcasts are listening to, you hear terms like, we need to provide a great solution, we need to make sure that the customers are satisfied. So the key thing is that.
Keeping the customers satisfied is going to be the key challenge for most organizations. And the challenge begins right from the beginning saying, hey, as an organization, do you clearly know what the customers want?
And what you see many organizations assume is that they think they know what the customers want. Whereas there’s a huge difference between what the customers exactly want and what you think the customer wants.
So there’s a lot of assumption that goes on out there. And making it worse is a fact that the people in contact with the customers usually are either your salespeople or your customer service people are in some cases, your channel partners. And if there are no proper forms of communication, if you have a very siloed thinking within your organization, there are no communication lines between your sales, your marketing, your customer service.
So the feedback from the customers, it’s much harder for them to get through your organization and have that information filtered to the folks who can actually deliver the right kind of solution. Then on top of that, of course, you also need to have the right kind of training and capabilities, given the fact that the needs of the customers are constantly changing.
So you see that there’s a lot of things happening out there that will prevent an organization from truly understanding what the customers want to the point in terms of delivery of having the right kind of capabilities and skills to deliver on it.
Now, these things that I’m talking about are mostly restricted to all customer-facing roles. You could also have a failure to deliver on your value to the customers if your back offices are not aligned with what the front office needs as well. And very siloed thinking within an organization where departments don’t talk to each other, not too much focus on the right kind of customers and understanding and doing the voice of customer exercises.
Then, of course, communicating the wrong set of expectations.
Jeremey: I’m also curious in your own experience, since you have the perspective of the domestic US perspective, as well as your national perspective, how different are expectations as you move from country to country, and obviously each country has its own idiosyncrasies.
Deva: In today’s day and age with technology with access to information and collecting information, especially in the technology space. We already know that between Europe and the US.
For example, but in terms of privacy, right, so you have GDPR in Europe, which country with how do you track your customers, what kind of information and how do you can reach out to your customers. That is one thing where things are quite different between the US and Europe. The very obvious one, when you think of Europe, for example, it’s not one entity.
I spent 14 years working in Belgium. And you would imagine that Belgium, because of its proximity to Holland, because of its proximity to France, that all of these companies, you can kind of lump them together as Western Europe.
But what you will quickly realize is that the way people behave, the way people like to be targeted in terms of messaging, the way people like to be contacted, the way you would negotiate, the way you would kind of stress on certain points, the way you would look at decision-making process of your customers are quite different.
So what you need to understand is that there’s no one size fits all. Yes, the needs of the industry are converging, that is for sure.
But differences in culture, differences in rules and regulations, make it that much more challenging for organizations would say, you know what, we were successful in the US, we’re going to take the same model and try to be successful in Europe. And yes, from the viewpoint of how the product gets used, yes.
But from the viewpoint of commercialization and service delivery and customer success, there are still quite some differences between the single uniform market as against a market based on different cultures in Europe
THERE’S A LOT MORE AFTER THIS! Listen to the full podcast for more.
If you have a passion for the art and the science of sales, are looking to further your career, or just want to hear some great, practical tips, ‘Hey Salespeople’ is the podcast for you. Subscribe so you can follow along as Jeremey interviews the brightest minds in modern sales to bring you immediately actionable advice. Listen and subscribe here.