There is a common misconception when it comes to defining who or what rules an industry. Technology companies think technology is the king. Media companies think content is the king. Companies in real estate think location is the king. And we can go on and on. But the real fact is, be it any industry, it is the customer who is the real king.
Take for example technology industry. A company can develop some out-of-the-world cutting-edge technological applications by making great investments in R&D. But if there is no customer problem that this product is going to solve, what is the use of it? Or in other words, how can it be successful? A technological application can be successful only if it solves some problem faced by the customer or fulfills a requirement of the customer. To find the requirements and problems of the customers is not a trivial task. Sometimes you have to go to great lengths to discover these requirements, or make the customer realize that they have a problem. The right way to do this is to put efforts in discovering what is missing from the customer’s world, or how something can be made better, or what problem a customer is facing and then develop applications to solve those problems (and sometimes vice versa).
One interesting thing to ponder over is what makes customer the king? I believe two things play an important role here: limited resources and availability of options. Most of the time, customers have limited resources. This makes the customers prioritize their needs. Add to the mix the availability of options to fulfill those needs, and we can pretty much figure out the result.
In order to be successful in this customer-centric world, any business needs to focus on a few key things. The business needs to make sure that whatever it is providing, or whatever it is working on, is way up on the problem list of the customer. It must be able to evaluate the customer’s pain-points and then use resources to address them in the order of importance for the customer. When there is choice, there’s got to be a differentiating factor, and this is as important in a customer-centric world as anything else. So another thing to focus on is to make sure it stands out of the lot and can be distinguished from the competition. And one more thing, the business needs to make a commitment to make sure it has the best customer service in the industry.