How Customer-Centric are Malaysian marketers?

16 March 2015

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We ask the author of The Age of Selfish Altruism: Why New Values are Killing Consumerism Alan Fairnington what problems Malaysian companies face when getting customer-centric….

How does being customer-centric any different from what Malaysian marketers are already doing now?

Customer Centricity is about putting Customer Value before Shareholder Value. Delivering real customer value often impacts short term profitability which is why most companies only pay lip service to customer centricity. This requires including the customer voice at the board level. Strong leaders have a real focus on customer centricity as their highest corporate goal. A prime example is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. His clear dedication to customer centricity has enabled him to build one of the biggest, most valuable retailer operations in the world. 

Can you share examples of some successful customer-centric moves in Malaysia?

Celcom CEO Dato Sri Shazalli has managed a long term success story in the regard. One part of this success is his dedication to include the customer voice at the highest level of decision making. He set up a Consumer Lab & Behaviour Centre at Celcom, community panels, and all marketing programs and innovations are targeted at specific consumer needs and customer segments. 

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes is clearly another. It is gratifying to observe how AirAsia is still evolving and improving customer value.

How about some bad examples….

The worst examples are mostly found in industries where customers don’t have much choice, eg. government run utilities. 

Commercial entities with usually very poor customer centricity are banks and financial institutions, partially this is due to heavy regulations. An exception is Maybank when they started their online banking platform. The bank invested heavily and acquired a specialist company to build one of the most customer friendly online banking platforms in the industry.

In this age of Social Media, customers can be not only demanding but also intrusive. How can companies manage them?

By being a self confident company with a clear vision which the staff articulates well will not get into trouble with intrusive customers. There will always be unreasonable customers who try to be intrusive, but as long as a company can articulate its vision and customer commitment, these intrusive customers will remain alone and not be able to create a bigger issue by influencing others. 

Alan was previously President of JWT Asia-Pacific and became CEO of Batey at the behest of Sir Martin Sorrell. He left Batey in 2009 to establish Duxton Consulting as Managing Partner.

He will join 20 other speakers and panelists at the 4th Malaysian Media Conference on April 21 in KL. His topic:

How Customer-Centric are Malaysian marketers?

Date:        April 21, 2015 (Tuesday)

Time:        8.30am - 5.30pm

Venue:      The Grand Ballroom, Sime Darby Convention Centre                

                 Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur


Download event PDF here.


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