Gopal K. Gureja Management Consultant
Gopal K Gureja has been closely associated with the management of customer-service all through his corporate career. Way back, in the early 1960s, when the Indian companies were riding roughshod over helpless customers, Gureja gave up a junior engineer’s job with Himachal Pradesh P.W.D. to start his corporate career with K.G. Khosla & Company—the first ever to start manufacturing industrial air compressors in India. Until it began to hurt badly, the company had remained totally indifferent to its customers’ persistent demand for after-sales support. As the first service manager, Gureja worked out a retrieval plan, got the managing director to endorse it, had the peer group emotionally involved and implemented the plan full force. With good service as its USP, the company virtually changed the rules of the game in the industry, got into a leadership position and stayed there for many years till it merged with KPL (Kirloskar Pneumatic Company Limited). Joining Wanson India (now, Thermax Ltd.) as Service Manager in 1970 was another challenge of similar kind. With unequivocal management support Gureja began to genuinely act as a customers’ representative within the company. This attitude gathered emotional overtones and spread across the organisation. The company soon moved into the league of highly regarded organisations for innovation and customer consciousness. The annual rate of compounded growth that the company achieved year after year became the subject of a case study at the IIMA. As Gureja moved on to manage new business divisions, importance of good customer service always remained under a sharp focus. As a director in charge of a business division and as member of the Total Quality Steering Panel at Thermax, Gureja played a significant role in implementation of TQM. He retired in 1995.
Gureja is the author of Creating Customer Value (1997)—a book on the strategic importance of quality after-sales service and the changing role of the service manager. First of its kind written in the Indian context, the book made it to the Crossword best sellers list. At the Symbiosis Centre of Management and Human Resource Development the book was been prescribed as a reference book for an elective subject—’Relationship Marketing’ (later CRM) forming a part of the MBA Syllabus. Gureja taught this subject as a regular faculty for four years. Gureja has written on various aspects of customer service for The Economic Times.