Home > Uncategorized > Just enough, isn’t enough

Just enough, isn’t enough

A while ago I’d gone to a restaurant for dinner. We were really hungry so placed a large order and just to be sure we asked the waiter ‘Do you think this will be enough’. Rather unexpectedly the waiter said ‘ Actually you could do with 1 dish less. If you need more you can order later, and I’ll get it for you urgently’. We were pleasantly surprised and did as suggested. She was right.

I mention that incident because recently I’ve been experiencing the culture of ‘just enough’. It’s a culture that says ‘let’s do just enough so that the customer won’t complain’. ‘Let’s do just enough so that the customer is satisfied’. ‘Let’s do just enough so that the ball is back in the client’s court’. ‘Let’s do just enough to meet the specs’. ‘Let’s do just enough to push it to tomorrow’.

Used to be that there were only a few industries had to care about ‘customer service’. Retail, hospitality being the top two. For the rest it was a question of manufacturing and distribution.

I’ve been in manufacturing meetings where Qs are asked by relevant departments around ‘How much is just enough’. eg if you’re launching a lime scented soap, “How much is just enough for us to claim that it is lime scented?”. With all the outsourcing across businesses, Qs are asked around “How much is just enough to claim that it is manufactured in our own country?’. With tough economic times and quarterly earnings challenged the culture of ‘just enough’ has taken root in many organisations.

Ironically, on the other side customers expectations have changed.

With proliferation of choices there’s never enough. If I don’t get this, I take that. If I’m not happy with here, I’ll go there. I imagine customer loyalty scores are at their lowest ever.

The other phenomenon is digital where answers, solutions are available in micro seconds. That has set new expectations among the consumers on what is a good response time. Indeed what is a good response, because they are now seeing how other companies are managing responses.

So we have this building tensions, where companies are looking at ‘just enough’ and consumers are saying ‘never enough’.

What this means for marketers getting into more direct engagement with consumers be it through physical retail or digital engagement is that they need to set new systems, new SLAs and indeed staff them differently. Greater delegation of authority, greater training and a less ‘hard metric’ orientation are key.

The new economy suggests that if you entice the consumer with ‘free’, make her happy, she’ll keep coming back.

The old economy thinking is ‘let’s make money at every transaction’ because she may never return.

The new economy suggests that greater loyalty can get you greater premiums.

The old economy suggests that you should make the same money every time.

In the new economy loyalty comes by doing more than enough.

The old economy is run by ‘Is this just enough?’

I think it’s time to pull the plug on ‘Just enough’ because if we don’t its the consumer who’ll be saying ‘Ok, that’s enough’ and walk out the door.

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,
  1. NB
    March 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    nice Mr Vasudevan, nice… i didnt know there was a collection like this online from you!!

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