Customers Not Targets

An anecdote that narrates a dual customer experience.

 · 3 min read

Our daughter and our car turned 7 together. While our daughters existence in our life has become all-pervading, the car failed to keep pace and needed replacing.

The search for a new car had been initiated. There were so many cars in the market. There was Ponda-tt, Helios, Yoyota, Pakoda, Nonova etc. Every make represented something. While Ponda tt was an "aspirational " car, Nonova was rendered unaffordable (courtesy government tax on SUV's). There was a mind-boggling range to choose from. It was very easy to get carried away with all the options. Thankfully, my partner, as always, knew exactly what he wished for in his car. All the features that he wished were for his family's comfort. He needed leg space for his parents, little table for his daughter to draw, and a good music system for his wife. For himself, he chose only the "buying experience".

The car that gave the best buying experience got selected. Once the payment was done, the experience changed. We were no longer on their priority list. We were on the waitlist. The buying experience turned sour.

While I was fuming over the apathy shown by the car dealer and forming nasty opinions, I witnessed another scenario. A troubled customer had called our office for support. Prakashji took the call. The customer was speaking native Marathi language, so Prakashji responded in that language. I do not know what the customer said, but I was awestruck by Prakashji's response. He said in Marathi, " I understand what you are going through, just give me a minute, I will see how I can help you". Although, these words sound ordinary to read, they were different when he uttered them. He really felt the pain of the customer. He meant every word that he said. From his face I could gather that he looked very sad that the customer was facing problem. It was amazing to see how polite and caring he was to the customer. For a moment, I thought probably he is just acting, but when I looked at him, I was surprised to see that the emotion was real.


In one realm, I had experienced a complete apathy towards a customer after the payment was done. In other, I saw how considerately a customer was dealt with, who by all means, would have been our open-source customer availing free services.  Car manufacturers conduct so many workshops for their management to learn the importance of customers, yet their executives show a very sweet persona before payment, and a lackluster approach after payment. While the business gurus and the management mentors have been relentlessly drilling the significance of creating customer experiences, the sales world operates only on the parameters of “target-met” and “target-achieved”. 

At ERPNext, there are no targets. There are no sales-people. There is support and there is product development. I have a sales and marketing background, so it was very difficult for me to understand how a company who doesn't have a sales department can survive. It just defies my business logic. However, now that I have worked here, I understand how it works. The concept of good product and efficient support is not a management fad . "Word of mouth" and referrals from clients, forms our major business strategy. We just do good work. The business follows.   

Priya Shrivastava

Priya is a philosopher by education, writer and editor by profession and a loving mother by disposition.

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