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My question here is - Can "Customer/client satisfaction" ever be the core mission that would create a sustainable organisation?

The reason I am asking this is while Apple computers can sustain a design centric mission - their mission to create beautifully designed products is very organisation centric - the core value is to create something amazing for themselves - something they are proud of.

In a service based organisation the core value of client satisfaction is always central to an outsider - the company works to please the person/company giving them work. So while the founder is running the company, lets suppose this person has tremendous drive and ideals, the company does very well. Once the founder moves the company eventually fizzles.

Now the follow up question is - is there any way a service centric organisation can set their mission that would make it about the organisation itself? Other than market value or money that is.

What milestones, relics need to be created to sustain the company culture?

Some ideas:

The "Hall of fame" or "Hero's room" which would account posters of fabulous achievers and their achievements?

An amazing retirement plan and after retirement support program?

Should the mission be "Fabulous Achievements" instead of "Client Satisfaction"?

What else can really help such service organisation remain sustainable for years?

From India, Gurgaon
Raj Kumar Hansdah

Some serious questions that need serious answers; not something just skin-deep for the sake of appearance, but one that goes deep down to the DNA of an organization.

As students of management, one is familiar with the Johnson & Johnson's credo for keeping the customer first, of McDonald's emphasis on timely delivery and standardization, to name a few.

Now, with more and more competition and companies scrambling all the way for that small niche of product/service advantage over others; "Customer/client satisfaction" will be the ultimate core mission for sustainability. One can not imagine a company existing for quite some time, unless all its competitive advantage are geared to ensure enhancing customer satisfaction. Some of the most technically innovative companies have perished, when their technical brilliance failed to provide that extra marginal - satisfaction to its consumers.

In the context of service companies, it is more difficult to quantify and compare service quality; yet what decides their ranking is not technical excellence and resources but the index of consumer satisfaction.

I look forward to some in-depth views on this, esp. in the Indian context, apart from the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, which all said and done, did provide some impeccable customer service benchmarks.

Warm regards.

From India, Delhi

Hi Raj, Thanks for your inputs - my core question is about what happens when founders of service oriented companies leave. Like for example very recently Narayan Murthy had to come back to Infosys after there was a service and culture degradation. What can/should be the core mission - clearly, just "Client satisfaction" degrades when some of the key drivers are removed.
Is there something else that needs to inspired in these companies to make them sustainable organisations? Or are organisations so dependant on the founding members who create the culture?

From India, Gurgaon
Dinesh Divekar

Dear Sid,
In your post, the last sentence or rather question "What else can really help such service organisation remain sustainable for years?" is important. The answer to this question is innovation. You have to diversify and enter into new arena. Bring newer productions. Take the case of Google. Initially started as search engine, it diversified quickly. Today, it is more telecom company than IT company.
However, to diversify and innovate, you need to have right kind of culture. To foster right kind of culture, you need to have right kind of people.
Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore

Interesting subject... :-)

Apple has created some of the wonderful products and services that redefined the rules of the game. As a matter of Curiosity, I went to Apple website to check their mission statement. I was unable to find what you have quoted as their mission statement. So probably, you have inferred their mission from what you perceive from what they seem to have done.

The mission statement provides customers a quick link to what to expect from the organization. It also provides a consistent direction to the organization to channelize its resources, thought leadership and delivery mechanisms in a convergent manner.

However, mission statement alone is not any recipe of success! What inspires insiders may not always entice external stakeholders. Thus I am doubtful if an inward looking mission statements can create help in creating sustainable models for success for an outward facing organization.

In a lighter vein, if dog doesn't like the food, there is no way that a dog-feed company will meet a resounding success.... !

You may like to read on mission statements of Walt Disney and Walmart. They give an interesting insight to how they connect their organizations to their missions.

As Rudyard Kipling says, in his poem 'Benefactors'; all powers and societies work for their discharge. What causes their rise also causes their fall.

Thus no point in placing all bets on the mission statement! The world always reserves right to change without notice. No guess is required to know what happens to those who are not hooked outside and are busy naval gazing!

Cheers :-)

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