We Only Have One Boss:
Our Customer

Managing Director,
SAP Malaysia

Published on

Back in the early parts of digitisation, we only had to market products or services people didn’t imagine having in their lifetime. The goal was to put people in a constant state of surprise—a phone that can snap photos; a tiny piece of contraption that can save tons of data—and it did work for some time.

But we’ve gone a long way from that. Technology has tremendously changed the pace of our lives, so that how we were doing things before cannot be applied to our business today.

A change in business mindset

Credit this to the changing customer expectations. With the new wave of startups entering the landscape, businesses have to be on their toes all the time, reworking their game plans and going back to the drawing board every so often.

It’s no longer a question of making a market for products or services. With the technology now, it’s about understanding our customers better and being creative in order to survive. What do people care about? How can we exceed customer expectations? How can we shorten the chain to get to customers more efficiently?

Personalising customer service

As technology levels the playing field for industry players, individualising customer experience has become a priority for businesses. What appeared to be a faceless component in business operations, audiences have now taken on a more visible role in defining business goals.

This has led companies to engage customer needs more aggressively, so much so that investments in technology purchases have grown recently on an unprecedented level. Talk about software solutions that can predict customer behaviour or a suite of applications that can collect data in real-time.

Therefore, our goal as business leaders is to help businesses integrate functions and processes seamlessly to create an empowering experience for customers. We need to build more touch points with the people, analyse the circumstances they’re in, and create a programme for the changing needs of our customers.

Making emotional connections work

Chip Bell writes that one of the foundations of a remarkable customer experience is when customers receive services that grow from generosity and abundance. This isn’t simply about fulfilling an immediate need; business maturity also asks that we tap into emotional connections that go deep into the primal motivations of our customers. These include wanting to belong, expressing a sense of confidence, and even desiring to live up to a self-image.

As innovation leaders, we need to capitalise on these emotional connections to engage our customers fully. We have to go beyond customer satisfaction. We must start thinking of how we can lay down the foundation for sustainable relationships that help increase customer value. It’s all about letting our customers know they are in control and how willing we are to help them in their journey.


As innovation leaders, we need to capitalise on these emotional connections to engage our customers fully. We have to go beyond customer satisfaction.

Customer value over customer satisfaction

Certainly, this is something that cannot be worked on overnight, and often the road to customer personalisation is strewn with loose marketing tactics that fail to address a customer’s basic needs. Product claims, anyone?

But we don’t run out of possibilities, right? With technology laying down the patterns for us, we only have to learn how we can drive empathetic leadership to build customer value and understand people’s individual passions, experiences, and aspirations.

An obligation to stay in touch—that exactly is what we should be aiming for as we continue to look for new revenue streams and drive business growth. Through digitisation, there’s a lot we can do to enable smart decision making and better connect with our stakeholders.

The customer is always right, we keep saying that, but have we really made that big leap of turning highly satisfied customers into fully connected ones, where the highest returns are?

Find out how you can put the customer at the core of your business. Download Seizing Consumer Moments: More Meaningful Experiences through Digital Transformation.


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