Santhakumaran Atmalingam: Globally Acclaimed Leader With Expertise In Crafting Customer Centric Organizations

Santhakumaran Atmalingam: Globally Acclaimed Leader With Expertise In Crafting Customer Centric Organizations

 Santhakumaran Atmalingam,     Founder & Consultant

Santhakumaran Atmalingam

Founder & Consultant

As the number of businesses grows, customer becomes paramount, and Customer Experience Management (CEM) emerges as a transformative force. CEM goes beyond conventional business practices, delving into the intricate realm of understanding, anticipating, and fulfilling customer needs. Despite its pivotal role in shaping customer satisfaction and loyalty, the full potential of CEM often remains untapped and is best kept as a secret within corporate realms, awaiting exploration.

Santhakumaran Atmalingam, Founder and Consultant of CX Expert Asia, is a seasoned professional with a profound commitment to customer experience transformation. His expertise lies in transforming organizations into customer-centric entities, bringing a wealth of practical industrial experience to the table. Santhakumaran envisions the future, including sharing his expertise in Customer Experience Management with university students globally, aiming to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and industry expectations.

Tell us about your professional journey and what motivates your daily routine?

I'm a consultant, specializing in customer experience transformation. This passion propels me to witness the tangible results with my clients. When we engage in consultancy and witness companies make strides, achieving awards and recognition, it truly serves as a motivating factor. Recently, one of my clients secured a top 10 position and eventually rose to a top-five spot among insurance companies, particularly in terms of Service Excellence. This success is a significant win for me, serving as a motivation that fuels my drive each day.

Tell us about your academic journey at University Kebangsaan Malaysia

In my current role, I specialize in consulting for customer experience transformation. The foundation of my expertise in this field traces back to my university years. I pursued a degree in business administration with a major in marketing. The knowledge I gained in marketing during those years continues to be the cornerstone of my professional growth. I leverage and draw upon the comprehensive and detailed education I received, particularly from one of the top business faculties in Asia at that time.

During my university days, the academic environment was quite intense, as there were no private universities or colleges as prevalent as they are today. Consequently, to secure a seat in a local university, rigorous study was imperative. I dedicated around 15 hours a day to my studies, ultimately achieving my goal. Despite the challenging workload, my university years were some of the most enjoyable and formative times of my life. Many of my closest friends today are from my university days, and these memories remain close to my heart.

Describe CX Expert Asia and what inspired its establishment.

CX Expert Asia is a distinguished Customer Experience Training & Consulting Firm that began as a training provider in 2008. Recognizing the need to future-proof both myself and the business, I delved into research on the future of training in Malaysia. About 10 years ago, I discovered the term 'customer experience.' I invested in additional certifications, trained my team, and transformed our company into a leading customer experience consulting firm in Asia. Our efforts were recognized in 2021 when we won the silver award for Customer Experience Excellence at the Asia level. The key to our success lies in anticipating future trends and capitalizing on them. Today, I can confidently say that there is no other specialist in Malaysia focused on this subject matter.

Describe your team-building approach and training methods to enhance customer satisfaction.

I've built my team with a foundation in marketing, complemented by certifications in Lean Six Sigma, Black Belt, Design Thinking, and NLP. Recognizing the importance of understanding human behavior in customer experience, I've delved into diverse areas like hypnotherapy, prana healing, and astrology. To enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, I share this extensive knowledge with my team. We employ tools such as customer journey mapping and experiential exercises, like visits to coffee shops and ice cream parlors, to help team members truly empathize with customers. By designing and experiencing customer journeys firsthand, they build soft spots for customers, fostering a sense of belonging and responsibility toward their well-being.

What is the future destination you are headed for?

In the next five years, I aim to share my expertise in Customer Experience Management with university students, whether within Asia or globally. Currently, this field remains a best-kept secret among corporations, and my goal is to bring this knowledge to the academic realm. I want to impart this valuable insight to undergraduates and master's students, enabling them to align with industry expectations for the next level of service excellence beyond their basic degrees. Already, I've initiated off-record lectures with universities, providing fundamental insights into customer experience frameworks. Looking ahead, I hope to formalize this into an elective subject, empowering students to enter the industry with a profound understanding of effective customer management.

What would be your advice to budding industry leaders?

In any industry, my advice is to consistently future-proof yourself. Identify emerging trends within your field of education, expertise, and knowledge, and anticipate what will be relevant in the next five years. Stay informed and accredited in these areas to ensure you are future ready. Extend this approach to your staff, helping them stay relevant in an ever-changing landscape. Given the rapid changes and potential disruptions in the future, it's crucial for leaders to be proactive. Currently, areas like Industry 4.0, AI, and the metaverse are significant, and addressing issues like mental health may become prominent in the next five years. Consider acquiring skills that align with future needs, such as becoming a coach, consultant, or counselor. The key is to consistently look ahead and invest in future-proofing yourself and your team.

Santhakumaran Atmalingam, Founder & Consultant,  CX Expert Asia

Quick Facts:

•Hobbies: I'm an avid reader and audio book enthusiast, always seeking knowledge. My beautiful garden is a calming haven, and family time with my wife and daughter is a top priority.

•Favorite Cuisine: I love authentic South Indian food.

•Favorite Book: Anthony Robbins' "Awaken the Giant Within" is a must-read for aspiring leaders, guiding on self-motivation. I also delve into spiritual books, like the Mahabharata, to ground myself in values while excelling in my career.

•Favorite Travel Destination: I aspire to revisit India, a culturally rich land that holds a special place in my heart.

•Awards & Recognition: Achieving the silver award for CX Excellence Awards Asia 2021 and leading the Asian team to victory in the 2022 Customer Experience World Games are the most memorable achievements in my customer experience career.

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