Expert Excerpt at LIBA #5: Consumer Behaviour by Dr. Suresh Ramanathan

The energy levels in the room were rising high the minute Dr. Suresh Ramanathan started his talk on Consumer Behaviour at Loyola Institute of Business Administration at the Guest Lecture session on 16th August 2017.

Dr. Ramanathan who holds his PhD in Marketing from Stern School of Business at New York is also a graduate of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. He with his rich experience in both academia and industry kept the students engrossed throughout.  “The ‘notion’ of customer experience is vital in any business but a company focusing on giving a good price on it isn’t just enough in this hyper-competitive world,” mentioned Dr. Suresh who gave Reliance Jio as a reference.

He says no advantage will last a company for more than three months and efficiency isn’t a strategic differentiator. “Are we truly differentiated in the value given to the customer?” questions the professor who says strategic herding is the major problem we face and the whole industry faces it like the Telecom industry currently is. ‘Should the company focus on customer satisfaction?’ and the responses from the audience were varying from a big yes to maybe. He says the term customer satisfaction is the most inane term used widely. The state of satisfaction doesn’t push the customer to excitement rather a sense of calm, he explains. “It is a cognitive construct and it cannot be measured in these after-service surveys that many companies do. It should be on the understanding of what the customer exactly wants,” says Dr. Suresh who stresses that the conventional CRM in companies shouldn’t just be treated as a software in the company.

He mentioned that company loyalty doesn’t exist entirely and it’s becoming a myth because nowadays the customers don’t just strive to meet expectations but exceed it. He went on to talk about how to keep customers eudaimonically happy. “The three things we need to focus is relatedness, autonomy and mastery. Also, we should justify why the consumer should buy the brand,” explained the professor. He also answered few questions from the audience which was on how companies are handling CRM these days for which he mentioned, the loyal customers of the company are now being moved towards CEM which is Customer Experience Management. He also explained how Apple retains its customer base as the company products come along with a sense of pride.