Friday, September 9, 2011

If Business is life, Customer is the God

While we are still discussing certain ways of working I have observed in Indian Organizations, I would like to remind about the most important reason of our professional existence - “The Customer”. In a company setup, when ever the management tries to identify future risks to the business, the first step taken is to identify all the stakeholders of the company. Customers, Investors, Dealers, Suppliers, Employees, Government, Environment and Society form to be the stakeholders for any company. While the company takes an in-depth view of risks emanating from all the stakeholders, I feel the biggest risk emanates from the company itself.
                When a child is born, the mind is pure. I think it must be “Moh” (Emotional Attachment) which would be first of the five vices to enter his mind. When the child is taken away from his mother, he cries. He cries until he can feel the touch of his mother again. This is the sign of “Moh” with his mother. With the onset of emotional attachment comes fear automatically. Fear of being away from the object of emotional attachment makes him cry. All the attention given by his parents in order to please him makes him feel special and anything happening against his wishes brings the second vice - “Krodh” (Anger) in him. He grows up and sees other children playing with different toys towards which he gets attracted to and this helps develop the third vice – “Lobh” (Greed). In a kid, I think these are the three vices that are present. In a grown up adult, two more vices make their place in his mind – “Kaam” (Lust) and “Ahankaar” (Ego). Normally one would observe that if a person does not have “kaam” & “Ahankaar” in him, we sometimes even call this person a kid. This suggests that these two vices are normally present in adults only.
                In the spiritual world, the whole purpose of human existence is to make ones soul pure to please the Almighty and to finally unite with Him. While these five vices take us away from our goal, getting rid of them help take the soul closer to God. And if once a soul pleases the God Almighty, the soul gets rid of all the pains and suffering of life. And if it doesn’t during the life time of the body in which it stays, it gets a new body and a renewed chance to purify itself. All the pain and agony in the spiritual world is because of the unending cycle of birth & death. But once the soul is purified, this cycle is stopped and the soul is united with the Almighty.
Similarly, when a new business starts its life, the company is pure. All the efforts are put in to please the customer. When it starts getting business, it gets attached to the profits. When it witnesses further growth, Greed steps in. Further when it is fully established, Ego creeps in. In all this, the customer is finally forgotten.
If business is life then the Customer is the God. The whole purpose of running the business should be to please the Customer. Now the question is
“Why to treat the customer as God“?
The answer lies in an old story of a saint and a king. Once upon a time, a saint was summoned by a king. The king was curious to know one thing. “Does the God Almighty also work like we do? And if yes, then what work does He do?”  The saint closed his eyes and stood there for ten minutes without saying anything. The king’s curiosity went up and he humbly asked the saint that why wasn’t he giving the answer to his question? The saint said that it is the King who has a question and it’s the saint who has the answer for it, then is it not wrong that the king is sitting on his throne and the saint standing bare foot? Shouldn’t it be the other way round, inquired the saint. The King also felt that the knowledge and wisdom being supreme, should be respected and he removed his robe and offered it to the saint and made him sit on his throne while he waited for the answer standing in front of the saint. The saint again closed his eyes for another ten minutes. This time the king again inquired whether anything else was required to be done before the answer. The saint opened his eyes and smiled. He said, “Hey king, you didn’t see what God did to us? He made a beggar a King and the king a beggar”. This is what God does.
I feel that Customer is the God as it is the customer that has the power to make a billion dollar company go bankrupt and vice versa.
 All the companies that please the customer get rid of all the pains and sufferings of losses and diminishing market share and the ones that don’t, die.  In this business world, this company would again have to take birth in order to get a renewed chance of pleasing the God. All the pain and agony in the business world is due to the beginnings that are full of struggle and the disappointing endings. If the company pleases the God for once, the cycle of beginnings and endings would stop. Now the company would be in strong connect with its customers in true sense.
                Now when I again take a look at the stakeholders for a company, I feel that the risk is mitigated if only the Customers needs are taken care off. If a company knows how to completely satisfy its customers, money would automatically come. Investors would be more than happy to invest; Dealers & Suppliers would be more than ready to deal with it & employees would love to be working in the company. Without employees, it would become impossible to please the customers. Same is the case if dealers, vendors and investors etc are not present.  If the company treats its customers as God, it would fairly treat all the stakeholders as they would form the way of reaching out to the God.
                On the other hand, if the company is not being fair to the employees or dealers or suppliers, this is an indication that it’s connect with the customers is not there.