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Lessons on Leadership: Customer-Centric Measures Matter

Building a customer-centric organization is one thing. Transforming an existing organization into a customer-centric one is another.

Radhakrishnan, the CEO of Janalakshmi, has some advice for senior leaders in the latter situation. The urban-focused microfinance institution in India is transforming itself into a customer-centric operation.

“I would say don’t postpone. Start early, because it’s never too early to start this journey,” said Radhakrishnan, in a recent interview with CGAP. “If you start early, it gets into the DNA of the institution.”

Radha, as he is known, highlighted the importance of evaluating staff on metrics such as customer satisfaction. Embedding customer-centric measures into assessments results in employees “doing customer-centricity work without realizing they are doing it,” he said.

On its own journey to customer-centricity, Janalakshmi also has refined how it thinks about segmentation.

“Looking at customers as part of an ecosystem is more important than looking at customers individually,” he said, explaining that customers should be considered in the context of their families and communities.

For a financial service provider, it is easy to get caught up in execution and lose sight of customer-centricity. Radha, a panelist at the inaugural CGAP Leadership Series event on customer-centricity in New Delhi, urged senior leaders: “Don’t give up.”

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