The Sense of Value

Posted August 23, 2017 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management


Developing the sense of value is a two way street. One is your sense of what value is. The next is whether this value is being created for you, or are you creating value for others.

Do you have a sense of value? What is the sense of value? We all have it, but in different degrees. The sense of value includes the feel and intuition and insight of value. We tend to learn what value is (we are taught or told what it is and how to react to it, and this is value-in expertise). We also build a value by feeling. This all happens as we develop our intuition of value. Intuitions depend on expertise, experience and knowledge. Insights help us develop new thinking.

Gut feel is more like intuition.

We also have an instinct of value. This is ingrained in us from our childhood and  depends on our expectations and beliefs (should we be prompt, should we keep our promises). Thus, some of us might want an expensive watch, whereas others are happy with a cheap watch. Some prefer a basic car, and others prefer a better car. This instinct of value changes over time, but the basic instinct of what value is remains.

Instinct is different from intuition. Leaders often use intuition to make decisions. We also use intuition to decide what is value. Part of this comes from data, our feel and our focus.

The way we deliver value is often through people. We train our frontline people, hopefully to deliver value. Often, we put in thoughts like customers like all customers are not honest.

This thought then impacts the intuitive thinking. We want the intuitive thinking to be positive,

Are we willing to put more emphasis on the intuitive thinking than on the generic rules we set up to handle customers? The customer should do this and follow this path to deal with us is one type of thinking.

Let’s examine two types of salesmen selling a B2C item in a shop/store, and a customer walks in

Kind of Value Salesman 1 Salesman 2
Instinctive Hunt/attack Hold back/relaxed
Intuitive Customer will buy

Serve fast

Customer will buy/ let him browse, be available for questions
Insight How to Convert from a walk in to a buyer

So how do we correct this and build the right intuition and curb instincts.  How do we develop insights?

  1. Build self-esteem, awareness, anticipation, ability, agility, attitude and ambidextrousness of the front line people.
  2. Form Customer Centric Circles and use self-development and self-directed learning for the customer, thereby exchanging knowledge and building intuition and insight.

These people will have a sense and a feel for what customers want and value.


Gautam Mahajan,
President, Customer Value Foundation and Inter-Link India

Founder editor, Journal of Creating Value
K-185 Sarai Jullena, New Delhi 110025
+91 98100 60368, 011-26831226

Twitter @ValueCreationJ

Customer Value Foundation (CVF) helps companies to Create Value and profit by Creating Value for the Customers, employee and for each person working with the companies.

Total Customer Value Management (Total CVM) transforms the entire company to focus on Creating Value for the Customer by aligning each person’s role in Creating Customer Value and getting shareholder wealth and Value.


5 Steps to Becoming an Outstanding Customer Expert

Posted August 13, 2017 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

Many of you are good at being Customer focused, and are Customer Experts. How can you become an outstanding Customer expert? You just need to follow a few steps given below.

  1. Understand what Customers Value and related Customer Tools

First, understand what Customers value and why they buy from you and from your competitors. What is important in their buying decision? To do this you have to understand Customer Value, its terminology, its usage, its advantage both for quantitative metrics such as Customer Value Added and mind–set changes and implementation of Customer Value techniques such as Customer Strategy, Customer-Centric Circles, Customer Bill of Rights and the Circle of Promises, Zero complaints etc. You must use Total Customer Value Management (Total CVM) effectively. If you are following some of these, you are already on your way.

In summary, understand Customers and what they value, and have the mind-set to add greater value to them than competition.

So let us look at these items in some detail:

What do Customers Value? Value is what something is worth to a Customer. What is it that he finds in your products and services that is better than competition? Is it the product, or the price or the cost of doing business, your people, or your brand? We soon start to understand where we are better and where we are worse. Obviously we need to communicate where we are better, and work on improving where we are worse.

We also should be able to figure out what is most important to the customer in his buying decision. What are other important factors? Why?

Customer Strategy: Do you have a Customer strategy? Can you develop one at your level? How do we understand the Customer’s expectations? How do we deliver on these? Simplistically, let’s say the Customer expects the service person to come to his home on time. How do we ensure this happens, so that the Customer is not kept waiting or bets anxious? As you look at this case by case, you will develop ways of using your understanding of the Customer to give him a better experience and create better value for him. 

Customer Centric Circles: Just like you yourself are getting deeply involved with the Customer through understanding him and giving him better offerings through this knowledge, you would like your front line people to deliver more. You cannot whip them into a team (like one does with carriage horses) and expect them to perform or move faster. It is better for us to give them a chance to think about the Customer and his needs based on the experience your front line people have gained over the years. On reflection of this knowledge of Customers, they will come up with what to do for the Customer, and make him happier. They will suggest easy wins that makes a Customer feel good. Suddenly you will have a team that thinks about the Customer and is willing to go the extra mile for him.

The Customer’s Bill of Rights: Your Company may or may not have a Customer’s Bill of Rights. You can make one for reference if there isn’t one. You can pretend to be the Customer and ask what my reasonable rights are as a Customer. Then work on delivering these rights yourself and through your team. You can build a Circle of Promises with your team so that there is reasonable assurance that the Customer will get his rights.

Now you have started a Continuous Customer Improvement Program, and if you ensure mistakes are corrected systemically, you will start to reach Zero Complaints thinking.

As you reflect on all this, you will realise that your mind-set has changed and that you are becoming a great Customer expert.

  1. Know more than your Colleagues and be recognised as the Customer Expert

With your understanding, two things will happen. You will have more knowledge than your colleagues. You can start using some of the knowledge proactively. Using more of your knowledge will require you’re educating and helping your colleagues and bosses, and slowly the Total CVM program will take hold. But certainly start where you can with what is within your control. First change yourself and your thinking. Unlearn old ideas. Bring in the new ones.

Remember, to be effective, you must break silos, have team work with all departments in offering the Customer a seamless experience and enhanced value. Some of this you can impact, and some of this will happen because your bosses will believe you, have greater faith in you and give you greater responsibility.

  1. It’s all about Mind-set and Attitude

To be successful, you must have the right mind-set. You know that when you are in your company or your mind is focused on your functional job, you are trained to think like an executive, and not like a Customer. Once in a while, take of your executive hat and wear your Customer hat. See and feel the difference. Inculcate a Customer mind-set. Help your front line people with a Customer attitude and mind-set. Just don’t keep training them on skills. Help them into a self-education and a self-reflection way of learning. Let them tell you what they want to do for the Customer. Help them in this process by incorporating Customer Centric Circles.

A great feeling for the Customer and doing the right thing for him/her will emerge. Combine this thinking with Customer friendly processes.

  1. Go from being a Functional Manager to being a Value Creator

All this learning will move you from being a functional manager to being a Value Creator. Consciously create value and think of ways to do this for yourself and the Customer. You will then create more value for yourself, and create value for others, who in return will create value for you.

Recall that a Customer Expert creates Value for the eco-system: for himself, his colleagues, his employees, his partners, supply chain and delivery chain, society and for the shareholder, and thereby for the Customer.

  1. Join Associations and Learn from Others

You have to be on a continuous learning and awareness program. So much is changing. Processes are changing. AI is coming in. Cost cutting and other corporate moves will force you to think of better ways to achieve your Customer goals. One such way is to learn from others, your competition and peers.

Join associations like Customer Value Creation International, Customer Think, and Linked in sites such as the Journal of Creating Value. Interact with Customer Value Foundation and others. Join LinkedIn groups such as Journal of Creating Value.

Learn from others. Become leaders of next practices. Do not just seek best practices.


Gautam Mahajan, 

President, Customer Value Foundation and Inter-Link India

Founder Editor, Journal of Creating Value

New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368  

Twitter @ValueCreationJ  Blogs:

Author of Value CreationTotal Customer Value ManagementCustomer Value Investment

Customer Value Foundation (CVF) helps companies to Create Value and profit by Creating Value for the Customers, employee and for each person working with the companies.

Total Customer Value Management (Total CVM) transforms the entire company to focus on Creating Value for the Customer by aligning each person’s role in Creating Customer Value and getting shareholder wealth and Value.

Hotels Follow Airlines

Posted August 7, 2017 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

My friend Ravishankar wrote to me:

Thought you’d find this interesting from the WSJ (Hoteliers Start to Mimic Airlines—Uh-Oh). Sad that the airlines model of nickel-and-diming the customer is now adopted by major hotel chains. Even worse that industry consultants who should argue for customer experience and value are saying in essence “nickel and dime the traveller to maximize revenue and forget about customer satisfaction”.

The article goes on to say: The “big six” hospitality mega-chains—IHG, Hilton, Marriott, Choice, Wyndham and Hyatt—have gobbled up 60% of all U.S. hotel rooms. Now they are adding fees that resemble the baggage and ancillary charges assessed by the “big four” airlines.

All this to increase revenues.

Our studies showed that most high end Customers were happy to pay Rs 9600 with free internet versus Rs 9000 plus an add-on for internet. It is a matter of value (what you get and what you pay) and Customers are happy to pay for higher value they perceive when they get with free internet (it is real need today). Same goes for free breakfast.

On the other hand in budget hotels with stripped down prices, add-ons were considered ok by budget travellers. Thus, one pays Rs 3000 for a room vs. Rs 3500 even though the lower fee has no internet and the higher fee does. This is similar to baggage fees in discount airlines.

This segment of customer buys on the lower price and they perceive they get higher value with the Rs 3000 room even though with no internet.

Revenue increases will follow value. Actually revenue increase will follow differential value. That means if all hotels follow the policy of add ons, then the Customer will have no choice but to seek value on price or other benefits that differentiate one hotel from another.

I think we consumers understand that when we pay a high price, we expect more. And we expect less when we pay less, and are then ok with add-ons.

Who are waiting in the wings? Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Banks, etc. etc. Look at Microsoft. In MS Office365 they give you Outlook, but an annual fee is charged. In MS2016 there is a higher fee with a ‘lifetime’ ownership (whatever lifetime means. What happens when you change to a new computer?) But this gives you no Outlook. You pay extra for Outlook. What choice do you have? Buy one or the other? In India they have found a third way, piracy.

All the biggies have managed to get us into their net, and now they are squeezing the Customer! Vive la Company!

Do you think companies should ask for expected add-ons when you are paying high prices? Share your thoughts and experiences.



Gautam Mahajan,
President, Customer Value Foundation and Inter-Link India

Founder editor, Journal of Creating Value
K-185 Sarai Jullena, New Delhi 110025
+91 98100 60368, 011-26831226

Twitter @ValueCreationJ

Customer Value Foundation (CVF) helps companies to Create Value and profit by Creating Value for the Customers, employee and for each person working with the companies.

Total Customer Value Management (Total CVM) transforms the entire company to focus on Creating Value for the Customer by aligning each person’s role in Creating Customer Value and getting shareholder wealth and Value.


Review of Gautam Mahajan’s book “Value Creation – The Definitive Guide for Business Leaders”

Posted July 15, 2017 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

Gautam Mahajan, Value Creation: The Definitive Guide for Business Leaders, Sage Response. New Delhi, India: SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd, 2016, 340 pp., ` 450 (ISSN: 978-93-515-0897-7) (Paperback)

Mahajan is a champion in advocating the customer as the fulcrum of business. Through his no nonsense approach, he reasons that creating value to customers is not only beneficial to the shareholders, but also to the entire ecosystem which includes employees, partners, vendors, customers and of course the shareholders.

This book is primarily targeted at chief executive officers (CEOs) (and chief experience officer [CXO]) and provides a detailed roadmap of how CEOs can create a value-creating organization. He has organized the book in 11 chapters and each chapter focuses on an important aspect of value creation. The book is interspersed with widely accepted research articles as well as personal experiences of the author.

Chapter 1 ‘Why Is Value Creation Important for CEOs?’

The author, aptly, begins by building a strong case for the importance of value creation for the company and why the CEO should focus on value creation, rather than on other competing goals such as shareholder wealth creation, profit maximization, etc. He argues that value creation is for all stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers and society, while shareholder wealth creation is focused only on shareholders, which leads to myopic mindset. To support his point, he cites various research articles which champions value creation as the goal of the organization and highlights the drawbacks of shareholder wealth creation as the sole objective of the organization.

The concept of value creation is explained in detail, where the fulcrum of the business is the customer. All processes and systems are designed to add value to the customer, which leads to value creation for the entire ecosystem (customers, employees, shareholders, partners and society).

The author probes the reasons for the high failure rate of leaders and leadership training. In his view, the failure is mainly because of lack of customer focus. Leaders are profit focused and not customercentric; leaders lack the mindset of value creation as well. He argues that leadership training should focus on changing mindsets, which will make potential leaders more customer-centric, making them aware of value creation for all stakeholders.

Chapter 2 ‘CEOs as Value Creators for Business/Customers’

Having built a strong case for value creation, the author moves on to discuss various ideas for value creation. The first step to building a value-creating, customer-focused organization is to craft a customer strategy and integrate it into the business strategy. The author explains the key features of a customer strategy and explains the key differences between customer strategy and business strategy.

The author gives strong arguments to silence critics of customer value creation, who argue that customer value is focused on the company at the cost of the company. He argues, when a company creates value for the customer, the company also gets value. He further explains that being customer-centric is not in conflict with shareholder wealth creation. To explain his point, he uses customer value added (CVA) as a metric for value creation and demonstrates that increase in CVA is linked to increase in market share, return on investment (ROI) and share of wallet.

He cautions CEOs against being complacent and explains the reasons for companies losing market share. He argues that customers desert a company, if a competitor adds more value than the company. He advises CEOs to innovate and keep on adding more value to customers than competitors, to retain customers.

Chapter 3 ‘How CEOs Can Use Value Creation for Customers’

The author introduces the idea of customer ambassador, how a company can create customer ambassadors by creating more value for them than by competitors, how to leverage the customer ambassador’s personal and social network for acquiring more customers. To illustrate his point, he gives examples of Apple customers who are also their ambassadors.

He moves on to the reasons why senior management does no pay as much importance and heed to customers despite being aware of the benefits of being customer-focused and customer value-centred.

The common refrain of most CEOs that they do not have sufficient time for customers is debunked by the author by conducting a task audit, which reveals that 50–70 per cent of the work done by CEOs is not necessary and relevant to the customer.

Chapter 4 ‘CEOs Can See How Their Values Creates Customer Value’

The author broaches the topics of value creation through values, corporate consciousness and conscious capitalism. He urges corporates to do business with values (integrity, honesty and sustainability).

He argues that such companies are preferred by customers, suppliers, employees and all other stakeholders, which will lead to higher prices, higher market share, higher profits and higher value creation for all.

He also advises CEOs to walk the talk and implement the values of the organization and not confine it to the annual reports and corporate walls.

Chapter 5 ‘Business Transformation Ideas for CEOs to Create Value’

The author talks about how CEOs need to change their mindset and unlearn to make their organizations customer-centric. He also suggests ways for the top management to be customer focused. The author, in fact, gives a checklist of what to unlearn for middle and senior managers. He goes on to ridicule the concept of internal customers, arguing that the concept of internal customers creates silos and departments, which are often isolated, and do not care for the customer, passing the buck to the customer department.

He advises companies to break away from the concept of internal customers by building customer strategy whose leadership is from all departments, ensuring that all departments own the customer.

Chapter 6 ‘How CEOs Can and Why They Should Create Value for Employees’

In author’s view, the three pillars of a company are customers, employees and investor. In this chapter, he discusses the role of employees in creating value for themselves and for the company. In the process, he explains the concepts of employee value added (EVA) and employee journey in the context of value creation for the company. He emphasizes on security and self-esteem of employees because only such employees can be proactive and have a sense of ownership towards customers. To build self-esteem and pro-activeness, he suggests building customer-centric circles in companies on the lines of quality circles, where employees across departments discuss, ideate and initiate value creation initiatives.

Chapter 7 ‘Howand Why CXOs Such as CFO/Marketing/HR Create Value’

The author discusses various strategies of de-commoditizing and differentiation and argues for ‘Adding Customer Value’ as the best way to differentiate. He cites several examples of how adding customer value can de-commoditize businesses.

The author also challenges the traditional roles of chief information officer (CIOs) and advocates the growing importance of information technology (IT) and information technology enabled services (ITES) in businesses. He argues that IT should no longer be a support function, but be a core function with the CIO taking the lead and initiative to design systems which aligns with the customer strategy of the organization and create value for all stakeholders.

Chapter 8 ‘Value Creation and Customer Service/Loyalty Tips for CEOs’

In this chapter, customer service, complaints and loyalty issues are discussed. The author is critical of the role of call centres in resolving customer complaints and advises CXOs to take one call a day from the call centre to understand the customer and redesign the systems and processes to be more customer focused.

The author is also critical of executives who stop thinking and acting like customers. He advises them to think and feel like a customer. His focus should be the customer, not the company. In author’s view, it is the training in business schools which alienates the customer from the executive. The focus in business schools is on company’s needs and not on customer’s. He suggests B Schools to start courses on customer strategy and value creation so that future employees are customer centric and not company centric.

The author also distinguishes between necessary and sufficient condition to buy. He reasons that, while experience and satisfaction are necessary conditions to buy, it is the value which is created for the customer over competition which makes the customer buy. Hence, companies should not overtly focus on experience and satisfaction, but make all efforts to create value for the customer.

Chapter 9 ‘How CEOs Can Use Value Creation to Enhance Pricing’

The author focuses on how value creation can be used not only as a tool to improve customer service but also be leveraged for enhancing price, thereby increasing profits and shareholder wealth creation.

The author moves ahead of the standard pricing theories and recommends a story approach to pricing, wherein a story is weaved around product on what the product does to the customer and how the product enriches the lives of the customers. It is this story approach which results in enhanced pricing power to the company.

Chapter 10 ‘CEOs Learn from Value Creation and Education’

The author discusses the linkage between value creation and education. He advocates teaching of value creation in engineering colleges, business schools and companies. The first step towards value creation is awareness about activities which create or destroy value. He goes on to narrate how Michener Centre, University of Texas, Austin is imparting education in value creation.

Chapter 11 ‘How CEOs Drive Their Companies to Become Leaders through Value Creation and Increase Profits through Customer Value’

In the concluding chapter, the author summarizes all the important ideas of the book beginning from meaning of value creation, importance of value creation, changing the mindset of CXOs from short-term profits to long-term value creation, transforming HR and IT from support function to line function, creating value for all stakeholders through values such as integrity and sustainability, focusing on important customer-related activities, creating and nurturing customer ambassadors, etc.

He also provides a road map for implementation of his ideas to transform the company from ‘Companystan’ to ‘Customerstan’, by starting a customer department, headed by the chief customer officer. The customer department would cut across all functions and focus only on delivering seamless customer experience.

This book, though primarily targeted at CEOs and CXOs, is a must read for all executives across functions, across hierarchy. It will change the mindset of executives and will challenge the accepted paradigm of shareholder wealth maximization as the goal of the firm. Executives will embark on a new journey of unlearning and will get ready for leading value-creating organizations.


Surendra Poddar

Assistant Professor

International Management Institute, Kolkata

2/4C, Judges Court Road, Alipore, Kolkata 700027


Become a Customer Expert! Start by Clearing 9 Misconceptions About Customer Value

Posted July 10, 2017 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

Many of you are Customer experts, or close to being one. It is a matter of using what you have learnt, and what you keep on learning. If you are open to new ideas and learn better techniques, you will be a better Customer expert!

For being a Customer Expert, first convert to being a Customer Advocate. Embark on a Customer-Centricity and Customer value journey. Really understand what each of the Customer terms mean and what their limitations are. For example, what are the limitations of Customer satisfaction, Customer journey, or Customer experience?

Once you really understand the limitations, you must create value for yourself and your company by leading them to use the best possible techniques. Do not get swayed by how we compare ourselves vs. the past. We have always said comparing yourself with yourself does not tell you whether you have improved in the marketplace unless you have competitive data. Moreover Customer Satisfaction does not always relate to business results. Lastly, we know customer experience is measured by Customer satisfaction, which does not allow us to get enough data. NPS is an incomplete measure.

Why use also ran measures? Why not go to better data such as Customer Value data endorsed by Philip Kotler, suggested by Peter Drucker, endorsed by Jag Sheth, Don Peppers and others.

The first step in your using Total CVM is to get rid of misconceptions. Some are listed below:

Clearing Misconceptions on Customer Value

Here are some common ideas posted in blogs, and what is factually correct. The word Value is often misused and misunderstood. You can relate to some of these. These may help you in business or as a buyer.

1. Everyone has their favourite term to deal with Customers

People hone in on one Customer term or the other, because their company uses it, or because they read about it, or because it is fashionable to use. Many users of these methods do not delve deeper to understand the real meaning, its actual usage, and whether it relates to Customer buying or business results. Some of these terms are Customer Experience, Customer Goodwill, Customer Intimacy, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Customer Response, and Customer Satisfaction, Customer Journey and so on.

Customer Experience is often used and is a good thought. It is one major aspect of Customer Value. It is often used as the experience with your company but not as a competitive measure. It is not strong on the cost of doing business (price and non-price). It misses many points of doing business which includes items you may not experience. A retailer may do business with your company because of future business potential of which you have no experience; or what you feel about the future of a company with whom you have no experience and you wish to buy. Is it the experience or the memory of the experience that is important? Of the user or the decision maker?

In the case of CRM, while a good concept, does not really work on the relationship but on the data base of Customers. Not much business good has come of it. It is as important as getting good Customer data and insight.

Total Customer Value goes far beyond all these in giving you a picture of why people buy and its correlation with business results, the competitive profiles you can build and use to better your competitive strategies, get prioritisation of, and what is important in the Customer’s buying motives and buying behaviour. You can understand competition better and why some Customers buy from you and why others buy from your competitors. You can understand how to create value, which might mean better experience, better goodwill, better loyalty, better retention, higher market share and profits, better pricing, decommoditisation.

Next, Total Customer Value helps begin a top down approach on Value Creation through a Customer strategy and mind-set changes, and we have pointed out how this happens or can be made to happen particularly by using Customer-Centric Circles. This is a bottom up approach. Moreover, Customer Value weaves in the Bill of Rights and the Circle of Promises, and makes the front-line people more pro-active by running Continuous Customer Improvement Programs.

2. Satisfaction alone is the reason why people buy

People buy because a product or a service is worthwhile to them versus competitive products or services. Satisfaction is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition for purchase. Sometimes, we buy even when very dissatisfied. An example could be a neighbourhood petrol station, where we had a poor experience. The convenience or the price makes us buy there.

3. High Value products have low satisfaction

This implies value is price, and that if something is high priced it has low satisfaction. This is confusing value for price. Sometimes, people pay “money for value” which means they buy high priced items. Thus if you buy a BMW, you can be very satisfied.

4. Low Value products have high satisfaction

This implies value is price, and that if something is low priced it has high satisfaction. This is just not true. It has been proved that at every price point, Customers look for Value. What does that mean: If buying a pen, whether a Mont Blanc or a Bic, the Customer is looking for Value, and buys on Value. You may be very dissatisfied with a low cost ball pen, when it streaks while writing. You will not buy it again.

5. Satisfaction measures Customer Value

Customer Value and satisfaction studies are different. Satisfaction measurements are done on transactions and generally right after the transaction by the user. Normally the top two boxes are measured. Customer Value studies are done a few weeks after the transaction and on the decision maker, not necessarily the end user, so as to get embedded perceptions. Customer Value studies are done versus competitive alternatives and are ratios. Thus a Customer Value study always compares you to competition and is not based on your score alone but their score also.

6. Value means Benefits

Value is what the Customer gets (benefits) vs. cost (price and non-price) versus competing offers. While colloquially we use Value to mean benefit or price, Customer Value is the actual worth of a product versus competing options. Value in the Customer context is not just the benefits, but what you pay versus competitive offers.

7. Values and Value are the same

Values are what someone stands for: ethics, morals, sustainability. Value is defined above. In fact, Values create Value.

8. Customer Value is newer than Customer Experience

Both are old concepts. However, the formal usage is more recent. Customer Value as a discipline started in the 1980s with Ray Kordupleski and AT&T, and CX in the 2000’s. Customer experience, Customer emotions, Brand Value are all measured by Customer Value.

9. NPS is a great measure of what the Customer perceives

NPS only answers a couple of questions on repurchase and recommendation. It does not portray what Customer thinks of the product and whether he has had a good or poor experience. NPS is better used with other Customer metrics

Why Have These Misconceptions Propagated?

My take is that most people tend to follow what they are told, rather than delving deeply into the actual meaning of, and truly understand how these concepts should be used. These concepts are used and understood loosely.

My suggestion to the Customer professional is to truly understand what each of these terms means, how they are used, and how they should be used. Reflection from one’s own experience will show what I am saying makes sense. (Remember your favourite restaurant or airline, and if you are dissatisfied, will you stop using them?)

One reason why companies and executives are not truly becoming Customer–centric is that such loosely used and understood terms confuse companies, and do not give the company true insight into what will really help. Thus just measuring NPS and stating that it tells the company what to do is misleading, and will prevent the Customer Value from truly improving (or Customer-centricity from happening).

Executives like you and Consultants can lead this change in understanding Customer Value and Customer data.

Lastly, stop being a functional Manager and become a Value creator. You will need to build your self-esteem and self-belief, and imbibe the 5As of outstanding awareness and observation, greater ability, fantastic attitude, agility and ambidextrousness. You will soon become a Value Creator.

Making Total Customer Value Management Happen

The COO renamed as the Chief Customer Value Creator: The COO (Chief Operating Officer) runs most departments impinging on the Customer. These include manufacturing, logistics, IT, marketing and HR. We want the Operations department renamed the Customer department, and COO renamed the Chief Customer Value Creator (CVCO)

The CEO becomes the Chief Value Creator: When the CEO is so renamed, his focus shifts to Value creation for the entire eco-system. His company starts to look different. A new organization chart is shown below:



Now that you know what Total Customer Value Management is, you have to see how to get Total CVM techniques into your company or among your cohorts. How do you undo years of incomplete measurements? How do you get rid of misunderstood terminology? If you are a functional executive, you will not make waves. If you are a Value Creating executive you will make changes. Do not be motivated by the fear of failure, but the joy of success. Do not be afraid to admit you may have used outdated measures in the past, so what?

You will have become a Customer Expert!

The Big Bang Comes When Business Needs and Customer Necessities Coincide

Posted May 8, 2017 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

For a business, there are many tasks that are relevant and many that are necessary from their point of view. There are tasks that a business performs or could perform that could be relevant or necessary to the Customer. Often Business needs and Customer needs do not coincide.

The first step is for us to understand what these needs could be, and then to plot them on the Task Matrix.

As definitions:

For Customers

Necessary work is essential for, vital to, indispensable to, important to, crucial to, needed by, compulsory required by or requisite for the Customer

Relevant work is pertinent to, applicable or germane to, or appropriate to the Customer. This is work that can be eliminated without deterioration of present service or product

What work is the Customer willing to pay for?

Every business enterprise has at least eight stakeholder groups, whose concerns must be considered when analyzing business processes: customers, suppliers and partners, managers, employees, creditors, investors, governments and community groups

Customer Value added of task: (Value to Customer after the task) MINUS

                                                            (Value to the Customer prior to the task)

 Who is the Customer? Are some classes of work for internal customers necessary? If such work is free now, would someone pay for these services or work?

It is the final bill paying Customer at the end of the entire value chain who determines if the work/task adds value

Similarly, for Businesses

Necessary work is essential for, vital to, indispensable to, important to, crucial to, needed by, compulsory required or requisite for the Business

Relevant work is pertinent to, applicable or germane to, or appropriate to the B. This is work that can be eliminated without deterioration of present service or product

 Let us list some of these tasks:

Relevant Necessary task table

Customer anxiety, keeping them waiting, ignoring them, Unnecessary contact, annoying customers, poor quality all are a wasted effort for the company and the Customer and should be cut out. These are relevant to the customer as they are exposed to these all the time.

In the example, if the company was to take Customer Value, Customer experience and effort, customer redressal seriously and move them into the top right hand quadrant, then customer needs and company needs would start to coincide.

This is shown in the chart below.

Mahajan Tast Matrix

The more companies can align their priorities with the those of the Customers and make the tasks that are relevant and necessary for Customers, that is make their business priorities the one’s important for the Customers the more successful they will be.


Gautam Mahajan,
President, Customer Value Foundation and Inter-Link India

Founder editor, Journal of Creating Value
K-185 Sarai Jullena, New Delhi 110025
+91 98100 60368, 011-26831226

Twitter @ValueCreationJ

Customer Value Foundation (CVF) helps companies to Create Value and profit by Creating Value for the Customers, employee and for each person working with the companies.

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The First Global Conference on Creating Value

Posted May 8, 2017 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

The First Global Conference on Creating Value

May 23-24, 2018, Leicester Castle Business School

(De Montfort University, Leicester,UK)

 In partnership with the Customer Value Foundation


What is value and how do we create and assess‘value’ in a turbulent global economy?

Value creation underpins all business transactions and engagement. We all seek value for our businesses, as well as for ourselves and for our society (Mahajan, 2016). However, because we are so immersed in our day-to-day functional management, we often overlook opportunities for value creation, possibly to the detriment of our businesses and society (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000). Successful businesses and leaders create value for their eco-systems which include themselves, their companies, customers, employees, partners and society, mostly unconsciously, yet there are challenges in gauging and assessing ‘value’ (Hinterhuber, 2017). This conference is a wake-up call to improve our understanding of the concept of value and, moreover, to find ways of creating value consciously and more abundantly which will in turn allow us to compete more effectively, to build social value and to thrive and be ready for the challenges of a changing and disruptive world. Carl Jung stated: “unless you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”

In the First Global Conference on Creating Value, business leaders and leading academics from around the world will come together to exchange views, and to share and learn from each other regarding the problems, the potential and the real life uses of value creation, and how it can transform people, management, organizations and institutions.The conference facilitate business leaders and academics to work together to establish the action research and development projects they wish to see emerge and what would help them create value. The conference will provide relaxed, meaningful and purposeful opportunities to talk about and discuss latest thinking on value creation and service for improving the worth of companies, their longevity, their ability to be ahead of and tackle disruptive forces, and to embeda value creation leadership style going far beyond traditional and functional management so as to engender a value creation mind-set and reduce value destruction in the future.

The Conference will also focus on value, social good and the well-being of the interconnecting dynamics of production, profit, people and planet invoking consideration of sustainable and responsible value creation (Elkington, 1999; Skene and Murray, 2015). It will help you examine the change in value for constituents and yourself as a host of new ideas such as driver-less cars, artificial intelligence, IT transformations, changing ageing profiles and health care, impact on corporations, businesses, society, service providers, governments, taxes, insurance, suppliers and sellers, infrastructure etc. Value is all around us and the conference will help you become aware of this value and facilitate the generation of ideas and understanding so as to be creative and innovative.Rub shoulders with the best thinkers and the best practitioners in the world to be ahead of competition.

The Conference welcomes presentations and seminars in a wide variety of formats. If you have a particular original idea for a session or an event at the Conference please contact the organisers to discuss it – we will be delighted to support your ideas.We welcome innovation and fresh and thought-provoking approaches.

Possible suggested topics on which papers, presentations, talks, films, documentaries etc. may be offered include, by way of illustration and in no way intended to be comprehensive include:

– Investigating and understanding value;

– Creating value for yourself;

– Creating value for others;

– Value creation for customers;

– Creating value for your businesses and society;

– Creating value in the future;

– Value creation and leadership;

– Manufacturing processes and value creation;

– Value destruction;

– Operationalising value creation;

– Value creation and the circular economy;

– Value creation in relation to specific functional areas: accounting, finance, HR, IT, marketing, sales, strategy, production, after-sales service, customer relations etc.;

– Values as a belief, attitude and perspective;

– Value and Values and the relationship with (organizational) culture(s);

– Future prospects for value creation in education, society and business; in innovation and creativity;

– Threats, risks and dangers for value creation;

– Non-market strategies and value creation;

– Sustainable and responsible management and leadership and value creation;

– Corporate Social Responsibility and value creation;

– Organizational development and value creation.


Key Dates:

1stOctober 2017: Deadline for submission of abstracts, session proposals, roundtables etc.

1st November 2017: Notification/Decisions returned on abstracts and submissions etc.

6th January 2018: Author submission of final papers, sessions, prepared sessions etc. in discussion and collaboration with the conference team.

Early Registration – 31st January 2018

Registration Deadline –28th February 2018


Submission Guidelines:

 Written abstracts and proposals should typically be no more than two pages in length.Font should be Times Roman – size 12

Sources and referencing should follow Harvard formatting.

Final submitted papers should typically be no more than 7000 words in length.

n.b. We welcome, and indeed actively encourage, innovative, insightful and varied approaches and formats of materials, sessions and presentations submitted to the Conference.  Therefore, we recognise that these guidelines are only indicative and you may wish to propose a session which requires alternative media, presentation and styling. Please feel free to discuss your ideas with the Conference organisers (see below)

Conference Co-Chairs and Co-Convenors:

Gautam Mahajan (President Customer Value Foundation and Founder Editor of the Journal of Creating Value)

Gautam Mahajan, Founder Editor of the Journal of Creating Value and President of Customer Value Foundation is the leading global thought leader in Total Customer Value Management and Value Creation. Mr Mahajan worked for a Fortune 50 company in the USA for 17 years and had hand-on experience in consulting, training of leaders, professionals, managers and CEOs from numerous MNCs and local conglomerates like Tata, Birla and Godrej groups.

He is also the author of widely acclaimed books”Value Creation: The Definitive Guide for Business Leaders”, “Total Customer Value Management: Transforming Business Thinking” and “Customer Value Investment: Formula for Sustained Business Success”.

He was President, of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, and was Chairman, PlastIndia Committee, Vice President All India Plastics Manufacturers Association, Trustee Plastics Institute of America. He was a member of the US India think tank. He was Chairman of the US India Economics Relations Forum. Among his honours is a Fellowship from Harvard Business School and Illinois Institute of Technology. He has 18 US patents. He was honoured by the Illinois Institute of Technology with its Distinguished Alumni award in 2001. He has spoken at various businesses, universities and conference around the world on globalisation, strategy and value creation, (course design and research).He was written up in the Wall Street Journal. He gave the first Distinguished Engineering lecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology followed by a Distinguished Management lecture. Mr Mahajan is a graduate of IIT Madras, where he was an Institute Merit Scholar, has a Master’s degree in Mechanics and has completed his PhD coursework from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and an MBA from Suffolk University.Email:

Professor Peter Stokes (Professor of Leadership and Professional Development, Leicester Castle Business School)

Peter Stokes is Professor of Leadership and Professional Development. Previously he was a professor in the University of Chester Business School where, in addition to successfully completing faculty-wide Deputy Dean (2012-2015), Acting Executive Dean (2012-2014), Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer (2014-2015) assignments he played a leading role in national and international research and knowledge transfer projects.

He has taught, researched, published and reviewed extensively in world-class journals in the areas of, among others: Human Resource Management; Leadership Values and Behaviours; Business Ethics; Management Philosophy; Organizational Design, Critical Management Studies, and Research Methodology. His work has appeared in leading journals such as, for example: Human Resource Management; Organization; Studies in Higher Education; Journal of Organizational Change Management; Employee Relations; Entrepreneurship and Regional Development and Thunderbird International Business Review. In addition, he has published books on research methods, postgraduate research, critical management studies and organizational management. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Organizational Analysis and serves on a number of international journal boards including the EuroMed Journal of Business and the Journal of Creating Value where he is an Associate Editor. He has been visiting professor and academic advisor in businesses and university business schools in a number of countries including: France, Holland, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Senegal (West Africa),Vietnam, Morocco, Hong Kong, China, India and Dubai. 

 He has applied his work through national and international knowledge transfer and consultancy projects across a range of business sectors encompassing utilities, construction, publishing, aerospace, diplomatic, emergency services and local government. He currently hold a number of positions on major international bodies including: Vice-President-Business Relations and UK Country Director for the EuroMed Research Business Institute (EMBRI); UK Ambassador for the Association Francophone de Gestion des Ressources Humaines (French Academic HR Association); Organizing Committee of the Research Methodology SIG – British Academy of Management; member of the British Standards Institute (BSI) Human Capital Standards Committee; member of the Steering Committee of the Spiritual Capital Development Company, Institute of Directors, and Associate of the MBRF Foundation (Dubai).

 Professor Dana Brown (Pro-Vice Chancellor, Enterprise and Principal Leicester Castle Business School, DMU)

 Raised by her mother in America with her father in England, Dana’s life and career has spanned the two countries and beyond. While completing her BA in Political Science and Slavic Languages at Rutgers University in New Jersey, she spent a year at Exeter University and a further year on Exeter’s Russian language programme in Moscow. After completing her BA, Dana was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study for the MPhil in Russian and East European Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. She later earned her PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), completing a dissertation on the intersection of market and social reform in former Soviet countries.

Dana has worked in and closely with business, starting in high school when she had the opportunity work alongside a former chief executive of F.W. Woolworth during the launch a new start-up retail venture. She was also amongst the first employees of, where she worked as Senior Manager of Operations in the period leading up to the company’s IPO. At MIT, she was part of an initiative of Sloan School of Management that invited executives from the global clothing and footwear industries to participate in emerging discussions about labour issues in global supply chains. She has worked with several companies in executive education and has supervised a number of student entrepreneurship projects, many of which have been launched into successful businesses.

In higher education, Dana served as Director of the Trenton Academic Centre at Rutgers University, facilitating early experiments in distance learning. After her Ph.D. she was appointed as University Lecturer in International Business at Said Business School and Clore Fellow of Management at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. At Oxford, Dana sat on the LMH Governing Body, Development and Strategic Planning Committees, and led the college’s student exchange programme. At Said Business School, she co-directed an interdisciplinary forum on Corporate Social Responsibility, the Oxford-Achilles Working Group on CSR. She moved to France in 2010 to take up a Professorship of Strategy at EM-LYON Business School, where she was also the Academic Director of the Doctorate in Business Administration run jointly with Sun-Yat sen University. In 2013, she returned to Oxford as the Director of the MBA at Said Business School and oversaw a curricular reform and significant growth and internationalisation of the programme. Dana has also taught executive education and MBA courses at Oxford, EMLYON, IE Business School and the American University in Cairo.  

In 2014, Dana completed certification as an Executive Coach with Meyler-Campbell in London and practices informally. She has worked for eight years as a selector for the Alfa Fellowship Programme, which sends young professionals from America, the UK and Germany on a ten month professional development programme in Moscow. Dana is also involved with Warm Heart, a social enterprise providing opportunities for children and their communities in the Phrao region of Thailand. Email:

 Leicester Castle Business School.

Leicester Castle Business School has been created by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to meet the needs of 21st century business.

Under the leadership of Professor Dana Brown, the school will go beyond business as usual, offering a unique learning environment where students are encouraged to challenge convention and are given the opportunities and tools to think, create and inspire.

Students will enjoy a transformational experience, benefiting from:

DMU is a vibrant, multicultural hub of learning, creativity and innovation and Leicester Castle Business School sits right at its heart, offering a career pathway to students who want to stand out in the international employment market.

*Terms and conditions apply



Mahajan, G., (2016).Value Creation: The Definitive Guide for Business Leaders, Sage, New Delhi

Eisenhardt, K. M., & Martin, J. A. (2000). Dynamic capabilities: what are they?. Strategic management journal, 1105-1121.

Elkington, J. (1999). Triple bottom-line reporting: Looking for balance. AUSTRALIAN CPA69, 18-21.

Hinterhuber, A. (2017 forthcoming). Value quantification capabilities in industrial markets.Journal of Business Research.

Skene, K & Murray, A. (2015) Sustainable Economics: context, Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century Practitioner, Sheffield, Greenleaf Publishing.