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Wow ! & Weird

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Wow ! & Weird

Sunil Gandhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before you begin…

This ebook is a collection of my choicest blog posts on www.aanekant.blogspot.com

 

 

I am shifting to my new blog address www.sunilwrites.com and as a token of gratitude to all my readers this ebook published.

 

I have taken care to give due credit to all Copyrighted material.

 

First Published as ebook in 2015

 

 

 

ISBN : 978-81-930395-1-9

 

Welcome to download free eBook on Water and Good Health at our new blog wethecouple.com Click on the book cover below

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Readers’ Guide:

 

 

 

This ebook is not to be read chronologically like other books. This took me five years to write these blog posts and if you read at one go, it may result into headache or even stomachache…

You can read anytime and from wherever you wants. This is an idea book and not indepth research kind of book.

 

 

If you want to know …..

 

Why goodness is better that smartness turn to post number, 1

 

How to become indispensable , read post , 11

What entrepreneurs can learn from Dev Anand , this is on post , 59

 

How to become an interesting company, its on page, 69

 

Do you remove your theatrical hat daily, is post number , 26

 

How to win heart to reach mind of the customers, read post , 30

 

Extreme Customer Orientation , turn to post , 54

 

Ignorant NPA, is post number, 88

 

If cash is king what is the queen?, is post number, 86

 

Financial ratios are outdated to measure success, try page , 90

 

 

Hope readers would enjoy the reading.

 

Readers’ feedback is encouraged at [email protected]

Praise for the book:

“Sunil Gandhi has written extensively on various subjects ranging from world class companies, to focused customer experience. He has drawn lessons from recent change movements like the one led by Anna Hazare to highlight opportunities for companies to adapt and change. The sections on Customer Experience are extensive and there are many nuggets of wisdom captured within the examples shared. Employee engagement, motivation and retention, are key priorities for Indian companies and there are lessons for them within.

The book provides a widescape view of Indian management issues and Customer related concerns. You would find in it, various new ways of recognizing and renewing efforts at improving your own performance or Corporate performance. It shares established management tenets as well as contemporary trends and thus, captures a broad spectrum of management thought.”

By Bijou Kurian , Ex – President & CE of Lifestyle , Reliance Retail

Sunil has put together an interesting e book from his blogs. The style is unique, short and to the point. The subjects covered offer a wide variety on management and are handy and provide quick solutions/suggestions.

The writing style includes SMS lingo to some extent. Its a fine effort to bring everything in a single volume. I hope that he will develop the idea further by expanding the bullet points into detailed reasoned arguments and turn this into a full fledged book.

By Rajnikant Patel , Ex MD & CEO , BSE & Indian Commodity Exchange

“Truly an amazing collection. Readers with different profits and Orientation will enjoy the work. Keep up the good work!”.

Ashvin Parekh, Senior Partner E & Y

Customer experience and customer management are key to success in the present environment of severe commoditization of goods and services.  This book on collection of blog posts truly gives amazing ideas for action for entrepreneurs and senior executives.  There can be a lot of learning for management students as well.  Congratulations and best wishes to Sunil.

Anand Rathi, Chairman, Anand Rathi Group of Companies

 

Contents

h1((<>{color:#365f91;}.

1.Smartness not @ the cost of Goodness 12

2.Connecting People is the thing 13

3.Innovation is not about LABORATORIES , its about Mindset 14

4.Creativity & Innovation – Men V/s Women 16

5.Who are your ADVISORS??? Everyone needs not One but MANY 17

6.Two ways to Present Your RESUME (& Do Anything) 18

7.Five ways to Offer Attention & Win Trust { Both are Extremely Scarce } 19

8.Twelve ways to leverage Social Media for Businesses & Professionals 21

9.In this attention deficit world, what’s Your IDEA worth Attention?? 23

10.By Default are you HAPPY or SAD??? 25

11.If you can simplify, you are indispensable & most sought after 27

12.Steve Jobs in you too !!!!! 29

13.Few Reasons why WE must shed our employer Loyalty Mindset – NOW!!!! 31

14.Three Umpires { Self Appointed } in our lives – Driving us Crazy 33

15.Twelve ways to WOW !!!!! – ( For ) Individuals & Enterprises 34

16.Four ways to Brand “YOU” – Have daily Brand Scorecard 36

17.It’s not FACTs but E-FACT that matters 38

18.Are you curious enough to remain Successful & Relevant ?? Perhaps No 39

20.We the (reactive) People 43

21.Eight reasons for YOU to BLOG 45

22.WHY we MUST do the things for the FIRST time ? 46

23.First Impression is only the First Impression not the LAST 47

24.Are you just auditing or living ? 48

25.IN DEMAND – Script & Crisp Writers 50

26.Do you remove your theatrical HAT daily ? 51

27.Customer Experience - Surprise and Delight are inbuilt in your company CULTURE?? 53

28.Are you mapping WOW!! on your Customer’s Face? 55

29.Customer Service Is Not a Department, It’s your Company 57

30.Win HEART to reach MIND of the CUSTOMERs !!!! 59

31.Eight Reasons to  { must } WOW !!!!! [  Delight  ] Internal Customers  61

32.Surprise & Suspense Element of Your BRAND? 63

33.Only way to handle – Return , Refund , Cancellation & Customer EXIT !!! 64

34.A to Z Do’s and don’ts for Cusomer Centric Innovation 65

35.Eight ways to CHARGE up Call Centres to make it CUSTOMER centric 68

36.Five ways to Rejuvenate Your Brand ( you and Brand you represent ) 70

37.Examples of Failed Customer Focus 72

38.Brand Communication Vs Brand Execution 74

39.Diagnostic Test for Status of Customer Experience 75

40.Who is building your BRAND? 76

41.The First Question 78

42.The brand is WHAT it does and not how it looks and from where it comes 80

43.Everything is up for Re-imagination 81

44.Who Moved Your Cheese (Customers) ? 82

45.What MOVIES teach about Customer Experience ? 84

46.B2B Customer Experience is CRITICAL 86

47.Business Process & Drained Customer Experience 87

48.When business processes fail Customer Experience 89

49.Is your enterprise surviving without Customer Experience Audit? 91

50.Envy people about your CUSTOMERS. 93

51.Are you selling what you are making? 95

52.What is the customer experience elasticity of demand of your offerings ? 96

53.Why your customers MUST promote your brand ? 98

54.Extreme Customer Orientation !! 100

55.We Sell , What We Communicate 101

56.Feedback to Feed Forward 102

57.Sell on YOUR Strength, not compete on OTHERS’ 103

58.Pain around Us - Why HAPPINESS is Critical for Entrepreneurs to Focus on?? 104

59.Six things Entrepreneurs can learn from Dev Anand 105

60.Six reasons why entrepreneurs find it difficult to behave ethically 107

Mostly no one likes to behave unethically , but though not justified, entrepreneurs are compelled to with following reasons. 107

61.Two MUST priorities for every Business Owners !!!! Yes, MUST 108

62.Why HOW is MOST Interesting ?? 110

63.Six Mistakes Sales Person MUST avoid!!!!! 112

64.People who come to you for PRICE will leave you for PRICE 113

65.Nine (old) + Three (new) Early Warning Signs of a Troubled Company 114

66.Great Content is Greater Business Enabler 116

67.Two reasons to transform your Saloon into Beauty Parlour 118

68. Five things MBAs MUST learn from Entrepreneurs 120

69.Fourteen ways to become Interesting Company 121

70.Why Partnership Fails!!! 123

71.Does your enterprise own these new skills? 124

72.What Farmers Can Teach Our Entrepreneurs ? 126

73.Do you employ Chief Imagination Officer? 128

74.Will you be in business five years hence ?? !! 130

75.After Sales to Future Sales 132

76.What are your Fixed Assets? Plant & Machinery or CUSTOMERS & Brands !!!! 133

77.Who is the next leader competent to replace you ? 134

78.SIGH of an Entrepreneur 136

79.Seven Reasons Why entrepreneurs suffer 137

80.CSR Drama V/s Unhappy Employees 139

81.Failed Communication !!! 140

82.Lessons for Corporate Directors from the Master Yash Chopra 141

83.Incomplete Business Plans & Executions 143

84.Nine ways to check whether you are in Obsolete Business 144

85.Your Mood & Cash Conversion Cycle are Inversely Related! 146

86.If Cash is King then what is Queen ?? 148

87.Seven ways to Boost {encashable} Bottom-line 149

88.Ignorant NPAs !! 151

89.Capitalist Trap we are all in !! 153

90.Financial Ratios – Outdated to measure SUCCESS 155

91.Deadly DEBT ! 156

92.Sitting is NEW Smoking then What is the NEW Solvency Ratio ? 157

93.Entrepreneurship & Start up is in vogue, but don’t ignore Reality 159

Act Now. You need someone who can mentor and anchor you. 160

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Smartness not @ the cost of Goodness

 

Smartness is in Vogue. We appreciate smart people. The end justifies the means. We find many smart people around but there aren’t as many good people as well. 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We break queues and get things done before others. Smart but not good !!

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We tell lies and get things done. Neither Smart nor Good !!!

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We bribe others with word of mouth (wrong promise) and succeed. Not good may be smart !!

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We make promises and go all out to fulfil the same. Smart and good.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We genuinely convince others and change their way of thinking/action. Smart & Good.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We manage short-term at the cost of long-term results. Smart but not good

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We sack people and add to profit. Smart but not good.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We sale somehow without understanding a consumer need/wrong promise and achieve sales target. Smart but not good.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We appreciate smart wrong doers & dislike right good doers.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We delay supplier payment, fool bankers with wrong data, fool customers with quality promise, ignore shareholders by anti governance policies, break environment laws to squeeze profits. Some people may classify us as SMART Company but more smart one plays more stupid one becomes in the long run.       

When managing immediate, and short-term is the norm , smart people will always score over good people.

 

Dr Peter’s quote “ Super-competence (Smartness) is more objectionable than incompetence.

 

All scam-sters are smart ( those not caught yet ) , all innovators are smart, all path breakers are smart, all leaders are smart, successful people are smart. However, their goodness will decide their fate.

 

Who are in demand Smart People or Good People??

 

Doing things like a Linchpin i.e. good as well as smart are the SKILLs in demand.

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Connecting People is the thing*

Yes, biggest difference people can make is by connecting two right people. People meeting people create SYNERGY

 

Book, LinkedIn or for that matter every social media sites are doing it. Nokia has a slogan Connecting People.   

 

Every seminar and conferences are opportunities to connect with people. Knowing the people can make a huge difference. Be it professional or personal life. 

 

Recollect WHO all were introduced to you by someone and now you have a great relation with the ones who were introduced. 

 

Many times intermediaries are not valued at the value they deserve. Be it a broker or your friend who introduces you to new people are doing great a service to your life. 

 

Value intermediaries, value the people who bring new contacts, new deals, new opportunities in your life. (They may have a commercial angle to it, even though – as your benefit is far larger than what commercial interest intermediaries might have). 

 

Change your life by – Surround yourself with people who bring new contacts of the right people to you.

 

 

 

 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

 

African Proverb

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h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Innovation is not about LABORATORIES , its about Mindset

 

“When you choose to be an active BLOGGER, you become a keen observer of things round you. “  John Jantsch of The Referral Engine.

 

Yes, you start observing things keenly , small but different things. Similarly small innovation is natural and originates not from laboratory or after brain storm. 

 

Auto rickshaws in Mumbai are small lifeline and they are in thousands in number. In many cities, it’s a means of commuting for millions of people daily. There is nothing new about it. 

Newness and innovation come when you see an auto rickshaw which is a moving library cum book selling store cum social service activist. 

Yes, the name is Sadanand an Auto driver who has converted his vehicle as library and  book store. 

He displays religious books at the back of his seat. Commuter can read the book of their choice for free while commuting . Now, if the commuter likes the book he can buy the same from him immediately while finishing his commuting. Library cum book store done. 

Now, if you don’t want to buy even though he will give you some religious book or pamphlet for free i.e. social service. 

Read, buy and get it for free if you don’t want to buy. All these when you have nothing else to do but waiting and killing time some how. 

This small innovation is interesting. It’s a clue to many service providers and entrepreneurs to think of something which can add value to the customers time while dealing with your enterprise of-course over and above what is expected from your enterprise. 

Autorickshaw is taking commuters from one place to another place i.e. a primary expectation and everything happening in between is innovation and value addition. 
Bettering customer experience requires just a mindset to offer something better, extra and pleasantly unexpected and relevant value addition. 
Pause , Check Business Processes and  Innovation Index of the Enterprise , NOW. WOW!! can happen only then.

 

 

 

Fall seven times, stand up eight.
Japanese Proverb

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h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Creativity & Innovation – Men V/s Women

 

Interesting facts;

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Why men wear ties and move like buffaloes without a shepherd??  How many men who wear tie enjoy it?

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Why the colour of men’s suit is invariably BLACK? If you go to any conferences or seminars , you will hardly see a difference (apart from Air Condition) between the conference hall and a stable. All black in colour!!! No imaginative thinking as far as men’s wear is concerned.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Now compare this with women’s conference. You will not find a single similarity in dressing. Amazing amount of innovation and creativity.

 

I think this speaks of creativity and differentiation in thinking that takes place when in any organisation WOMEN are at the helm.

 

It may sound in-comparable or no parallel but, somewhere deep down the line it’s true.

We are what we do daily in our lives. Men please wake up. Innovate personally to innovate where you work. By default it’s always Inside Out, for Outside In it takes open eyes, mind and courage. Next time in seminar and conferences or wherever, apply yourself, don’t follow blindly. Try & Strive to differentiate and create your own BRAND. We LIVE in times of personal BRANDS.

 

 

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
Swedish Proverb

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h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * [* Who are your ADVISORS??? Everyone needs not One but MANY *]

I have three personal advisors:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Technology for Me – My Son (Age: Early Twenty)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. My Fashion and Entertainment – My Daughter (Age: Late Teens)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. My Diet and Fitness – My Wife (Well, Fitness Guru)

 

I am thinking that what (all the 3 areas) I used to handle once upon a time, I was having the latest updates on the subjects are NOW not within my domain!!!

 

This applies to everyone in life be it individual or entrepreneurs. Tom Peter in one of his books (Circle of Innovation)  almost two decades back had written that if your IT department has no one under the age of Teen , you are soon going to be obsolete. We Indians have seen power of new age teens in the movie WEDNESDAY also.

 

As a successful entrepreneur ( With I know Everything Bug/EGO )  if One is not investing in the start-up business started by people in their teens and twenties & if one is  not surrounded by various critical domain experts, his/her business OBITUARY is in the making.

 

To make your future Happier, take decisions which you have never taken out of fear /EGO or any such emotions or you thought you don’t need to.

Wake Up to the new realities of 21st Century.  Decade No. 2.

 

 

 

Words should be weighed, not counted.
Yiddish Proverb

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h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] [* Two ways to Present Your RESUME (& Do Anything) *]

You have two options to present RESUME

Option 1

 

1) Structured, Standard – Starting from your name, date of birth even birth place , address , qualification & experience etc etc etc. No Innovation, not even interesting for readers. But yes in proper format and how it used to be. { Even you will find it boring if you remove your name !! }

 

Option 2

 

2) Describe your life story till date. Your likes, dislikes, your achievements and failures, your projects and performances, your family and friends, your education and life experiences.  It’s a story and one can make a real life movie out of it. Make it interesting, keep it real do not fake, readers must get engrossed. You are the HERO of your story.

 

Pinterest.com has a collection of Infographics way of resume. It’s just a way in which future Resumes will be presented.

 

It’s a competition (Red Ocean) everywhere. How do we differentiate on whatever we do? To stand out in the crowd, we must add SPICE/STORY to whatever we do and present.

 

Be it your RESUME or your Project or your day to day work. Nothing should be routine if we are SPECIAL. To quote Dev Anand “ Without style we don’t exist. We are our own STYLE. “   The man has proved this also throughout his life.

 

[+Bottom-line – Do everything in STYLE. Your OWN STYLE. +]    Most routine and monotonous things can be presented and done in STYLE. Simplicity Yes, Routine No.  Refrain from being routine and boring.  Who likes it??

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Five ways to Offer Attention & Win Trust { Both are Extremely Scarce }

It’s all FAKE outside. It’s a public perception and is growing.

 

There was a Film show by young film maker Umesh Agarwal on “Brokering News”. It’s about HOW politicians, sports persons, businessmen and entertainment companies are exploiting the media to fool viewers/readers. Their nexus are not only dangerous but depressing. Someone also raised issues about healthcare industry also. We also know HOW real the reality shows are.  We also know HOW bogus & over committing advertisements are. We know HOW countries after countries & companies after companies are tumbling.

 

[+Big Question therefore is : Whom do WE trust?? +]

 

We all know “attention is the most scarcest thing in the world.” Yes it is. Look at the people around. People are busy with their gadgets and mobiles.  They are busy with their Facebook or twitter or What’s App updates.  They are busy with their problems be it career, business or personal. 

 

Having agreed about attention , the next question is whom do we trust??  Renowned author of the book, The Experience Economy , Pine & Gilmore’s next book was Authenticity. Trust factor has just evaporated from everywhere. Who / What is Authentic?

 

Even the publication who arranged a free show of the above film , had kept their old issues and subscription forms on every seat. Selling is the ultimate objective, irrespective of cause you promote or action you take. 

 

The winner in this economy will be the company who genuinely believes in solving CUSTOMER problems. Social Media Expert Michael Stelzner writes: “Don’t think about people as targets for sale. Rather than focus on people who are buying your products and services, shift your attention to people you want to help – regardless whether they buy or not. If you are just focused on sale, you are missing mega opportunity.”   

 

In this attention and trust deficit society How to demonstrate both , are the key challenges. But how else would you create your own blue ocean?

How to Offer Attention and Win Trust ?

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Focus on Problem Solving { sales will happen , happen more than expected }

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Focus on Listening { Reading also on Social Media  }

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Honour commitment/trust even at loss and inconvenience 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Focus on Offering Designers Experience that WOWs!!! { Why else are you in business , mediocre are fighting in the red hot ocean } 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Believe in – Net Happiness is greater than Net worth 

 

The likes of Capture Wall Street Campaign must awaken us that something is grossly wrong the way we are managing our business and politics. 

 

Is your company an exception??

 

 

If you can’t live longer, live deeper.
Italian Proverb

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h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Twelve ways to leverage Social Media for Businesses & Professionals

 

All of us are members of many social media sites. We are also members of many groups and fan clubs on these sites. We have 100s or 1000s of friends/followers/fans & we are happy. 

 

Networking is a great business tool. Many of us visit seminars, conferences and business events just to network. Suhel Seth (PR & Communication Expert) has written a book on networking Get to the Top.

 

Business Networking Sites like LinkedIn are very important to get connected with someone with whom otherwise we can’t even dream to meet ever. Small businesses and professionals can and must leverage these unprecedented opportunities.   

The big question is HOW ?? Luckily there are many HOWs.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Get connected with a potential customer or experts.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Get connected with your customers for update and quick customer service.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Professionals can showcase their expertise by contributing to their groups regularly.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Many businesses also hire by selecting skills from LinkedIn profiles.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Get handle in the big corporate house when you want an inroad.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Don’t just remain connected online. Whenever possible or make it possible to meet up. Network to physically meet is really warm & interesting.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Regular product updates and launch on these sites will attract target audience.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Educate people about your products , its usage, maintenance, support etc on a regular basis. Soon you will become famous and become known for your products. I know someone on LinkedIn who regularly writes about new cell phone models. So next time when I want to know about cell phones, my first resource would be her. Same applies to your area of product and services.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Follow groups of your interest to know more and network with people from your peer group.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Share something interesting from your friends/connects with your groups i.e. which may be interesting for your suppliers or customers.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Build community around your offerings. Invite experts or share useful insights with them periodically.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Don’t just expect, give, give and give, give reference to someone for their potential leads. Here tit for tat is given.

 

Many more interesting case-studies are happening through online to real business. You may think that business was not used to be like this, but …………… it was always like that only medium is changing.

 

& yes share your social media to business success stories [email protected]

 

 

 

Do good and throw it in the sea.
Arab Proverb

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h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * In this attention deficit world, what’s Your IDEA worth Attention??

Yes, IDEA clicks (when executed with innovation). Can you beg for others? Yes BEG in the Mumbai Local train for others? Yes, more than collecting money for his mission, this man has attracted attention of most of the media, publications and a few of the bloggers like me. 

 

An innovative idea of fund raising clicked and is getting free public attention through mass media attention.

 

When we do things differently, people will notice us , we need not make attempts to get noticed. Most marketers don’t do things differently (campaign and products) and spend lots of energy in getting customer attention. It fails. It MUST fail.

 

We unfortunately have learned to copy and follow the trend/others. Unconventional thinking and ideas are not encouraged. Our central banks keep raising interest rates as a sole solution to control inflation. I think it works other-way although. But no one can question the wisdom of central bank where highly intellectual people are managing the affairs with the data access none of us can have. Same applies to our corporate houses and business of all stages and size. Follow the rule, boss , owner and look for precedent. Big NO to untested, uncharted and unprecedented. One must understand that entrepreneurs take risk not employees.

 

Everyone is setting up call centres, so let us do it too. I don’t know how much lead/sales ( this refers to outbound call centres ) it generates, but it surely causes anger and irritation to 99.99% of the callers. It’s a social problem now.

 

Do something unprecedented , let it fail but  it gives a chance for newness around us, it can be a source of great inspiration and risk taking, and if successful it can be a source of abundant wealth creation. 

 

Prof. Sandeep Desai (Ex SP Jain Inys Prof) referred above, begs in Mumbai local trains for his mission of education. He collects money daily from commuters for his 3 schools for deprived students. He collects appx. Rs. 3,000 to 4,000 daily from commuters on the local train during non peak hours. CNN, ZEE and many other print media wrote about his innovative way to collect funds & his message spread to many so quickly. He has won CNN IBN Unsung Hero 2011 award also.

 

Bollywood super star Salman Khan tweeted about him “ Prof Sandeep Desai ka jawab nahi, kamal karte ho yaar prof saheb”  and has requested his fans to donate to the professor.

 

The point is not Prof. Desai, Point is his innovative and unprecedented style of collecting donations. Sellers/Marketers and CEOs , please awake & ask : have we innovated lately in what we do and how we do? Customers MUST say “ Yeh company to Kamal karti hai.”   { with their products, people and customer services }.

 

Do you think, you will then need massive sales and ad campaigns??? Your brand ambassadors should be your customers and free media. Now it’s our turn to do Kamal!!!!

 

 

 

 

Where love reigns, the impossible may be attained.

 

Indian Proverb

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h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] By Default are you HAPPY or SAD???

 

By Default are you HAPPY or SAD???  {Pause and Check for a minute}. We read motivational books , watch movies, go on a tour , picnic , movie and drama. Go out for dinner , parities, play with kids. Celebrate birthdays, other important days, marriages, people who drinks go for it. We develop a hobby to remain engaged in activities we like. In otherwise painful realities of our life, we feel happy to watch movies, which take us away from the realities.

 

We try to escape from { painful } realities to all these places and resort to these activities.  We like to remain HAPPY { always }.

 

The corporate world has to take clues from our need to become and remain HAPPY. Happiness is not only in demand but is at Premium. Yes make your customers HAPPY and you will neither have to find customer again nor worry about the profit. The equation goes like this – Delivering HAPPINESS = Customers = Profit.

Happiness Drivers:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Extraordinary customer service.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. An extraordinary product knowledge/Insight

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Unexpected pleasant surprise {read somewhere those restaurants on a particular day offers select diners’ free dinner on a random basis. Not announced marketing scheme but genuine un-announced pleasant feeling of surprise. Word of mouth can bring more customers than marketing gimmicks}.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Without expectation authentic kind gesture. Authentic word is critical as most marketers have failed to invoke this feeling in customers. Sale not Solution is the ONLY motive. Met a politician and could sense this – getting a voter base may be at the back of his mind but during the meet genuine urge to help and not seeking vote were his efforts).

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Designing extra ordinary products / service is a work of an ART. Art will always attract its followers.

 

In our entire chain of business processes and touch points – what will make my customers HAPPY or what will remove sadness and pain from his life??? Ask & Act.

 

 

It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
Chinese Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * If you can simplify, you are indispensable & most sought after

Noted Film Director Mahesh Bhatt described MAGICAL voice of renowned Ghazal Singer Jagjit Singh as “Simplicity, simplicity & simplicity”  Magic is Simplicity or Simplicity is MAGIC. How true but difficult to achieve.

 

We are here in this world contributing our daily bit of complexity to the world in whatever we do. We love complexity. Simple is no brainer is what we believe.

 

When Reliance Industries wanted to raise funds they came out with TOCD. Triple Optionally Convertible Debentures.  No investors would know how safe it was, when and at what price , how many shares he will get. That’s big brainer. Opposite of simplicity.

 

Retailers now a days offer discounts like buy 1 get 5 free. Why do they keep price of one so high to cover cost and margin of 6 ?? To sell quantity & fool customers.

 

We have our tax laws more complex which requires highly qualified professionals to unravel the clauses and the implications { we can even have multiple views and opinions }.  This is a big brainer by our bureaucrats and source of income for professionals. Additional gift of so much complexity is litigation.  

 

How we calculate our poverty and GDP is again a big mystery. Complicated enough so no one can understand and no one can question.

 

My private sector bank sent me customer charter. Good that they have this but its spread over many many pages, small fonts which make it unreadable.  Look at our legal agreements, EXIM procedures, forex procedures, internally our company policies, customer policies, promotion policies, all are voluminous work of senior professionals and lawyers. General thinking is unless it’s complicated and complex it’s not worth it. Smartness is in complications. 

 

Many companies come out with various attractive schemes for the customers but while availing such schemes we came across small asterisk and that leads us to complex terms and conditions. Everything around us is complex.

 

On many of the websites they put up a whole lot of information but contact or mailing details we could find with great difficulty. Reaching them, which is the most important thing misses the attention of the designer.    

 

I come across many business plans , IMs /project reports, 70% of the pages are useless collection of data.  We just can’t keep it KISS. Simple job is not worth and should not be paid much { our notion , which promotes complexity }.

 

However, as rightly recognised by Mahesh Bhatt, it’s the simplicity that clicks, works and gets noticed. Life is otherwise very complicated so those who can make it simple by their action and work will be cherished and valued. Simplicity is at a premium. If you can simplify, you are indispensable & most sought after.

 

 

 

A man who uses force is afraid of reasoning.
Kenyan Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Steve Jobs in you too !!!!!

“ Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”  – Steve Jobs

 

Of the so many quotes of Steve Jobs, according to me, the above quote is the most powerful and highly inspiring. 

Yes, we live only once and we mostly forget the same till we are close to the death & how many of us will get the chance like Steve to know that the death is near!!!! While I am writing this I am also watching the Discovery Channel’s programme Super Structures of America. What an imagination, mammoth effort and dedication is required to create these super structures !!!! Amazing. Yes, but once achieved these structures remain in the world for years to come. 

 

Combining the two – Steve’s Message & lesson from the channel’s programme – Bottom-line is: We only live once & leaving a mark on the earth requires all the three i.e. imagination, efforts and dedication. (That to in the limited time and ignoring other’s opinion on what we are doing with our inner voice).

 

How unfortunate that we always need social proof to do something and even to know whether what we are doing is right or not. Whether to listen, whom to listen and what to listen is very rarest of the skills.

 

Therefore two things to remember – Just do it and Making an Impact of our Action in this World. 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. If you are a writer – write like a Booker prize winner writer

#
p<>{color:#000;}. If you are a builder- build every structure as a monument and wanting to make it to city sightseeing itinerary.  

#
p<>{color:#000;}. If you are an employee – first & foremost be happy & smile while dealing with customers and co workers. { mostly that is lacking }   , act like a CEO of your own life as you LIVE for the self not for your employer. Live your passion too.   

#
p<>{color:#000;}. If you are a mother – not only love your children but make them the finest citizen too.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. If you are a father – not only earn for your family but give time and attention to your children too. Expose them to the best and the worst of the world.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. If you are an entrepreneur – your product and service may not be the best in the world but be known for integrity and customer passion.  Become a problem solver not only seller and marketers ( We are taught Seth Godin that All Marketers are Liars). 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. If you are an activist -  obviously making an impact is your job. { Keep self interest aside. }

#
p<>{color:#000;}. If you are passionate about something – start today to fulfil your dreams. It may be a small start and may grow later but STARTING TODAY is a MUST.  

#
p<>{color:#000;}. If you are a blogger – well, write immortal posts and again making an impact is an innate desire. { More suggestions are welcomed }

“ Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I started to underline the important words in the quote above. But immediately realised, every word is important, relevant and powerful. So I highlighted the entire phrase with BOLD.

Steve Jobs have left us and we all we will also go. But till the time we go, we are living. Make the most of your living. Your time is limited and had already started long back. 

 

Know your views, dreams and passions & write what action you will take to achieve it , TODAY?

 

[*Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank him for not having given it wings. *]

[
Indian Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Few Reasons why WE must shed our employer Loyalty Mindset – NOW!!!!

“Applicant should be ready to work 24 × 7” was the sentence in one of the recruitment Ad in a leading national daily. 

 

I wonder who would apply for such jobs???

 

Under the pretext of loyalty and commitment these types of companies are social evils. They do not want us to be with ourselves, our families and live our lives. 

 

We are first loyal to ourselves. In Mahabharata KARNA was first responsible to himself but he chose to first remain loyal to Duryodhana knowing fully well that Duryodhana was wrong. We all know the result of remaining loyal to wrong people ( Boss & Company too) .

 

Likewise all fanatic target crazy and only ROI focused ( not sensitive to employee happiness, customer WOW !!! and social responsibility )   companies want us to be their slave under the pretext of loyalty and commitment  { How many companies are interested in happiness and lives of people working for them????  }. why no companies measure non financial measure of success like people happiness, customer happiness , social and environmental commitment every year ? .

 

We all want happiness, a time for family, time for self, a time to enjoy not once in a year but, on an ongoing basis. We all work , yes , for our passion but primarily for money ( lets accept the fact ) and money we can enjoy by spending it on our own life purposes and happiness. 

 

We spend our (only) life to earn for happiness , earn for education of children , earn for the marriage of children and for our retirement corpus. This is possible through working for someone or for our own. 

 

We are compelled to stay on even though we do not want to is because ;

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. There is no other option (That is what we have assumed)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We don’t want to dare

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We are afraid of change

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We do not want to look at other options

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Assume that known devil is better than the unknown devil

#
p<>{color:#000;}. (How about the reality of – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara !!!)

Today’s corporations are INSANE about growth & valuation sans sensitivity towards people influenced by their existence. 

 

( They give employment and money so they can demand 24 × 7 of our weeks !!! )

[+Something must change fundamentally, the way we manage our companies. +]

 

[ Add On : Must Read ( by the board, CXOs and employees at all levels ) : Seven Days Weekend by Ricardo Semler. ]

 

 

 

 

Still waters run deep.
Latin Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Three Umpires { Self Appointed } in our lives – Driving us Crazy

Yes, we have been hugely driven by 3 umpires of our life   (Personally and Professionally too ) .

 

These are ;

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Society – What other ( peer pressure included ) will say, many times influence our decisions ??

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Media – How the media will react is making us hide the facts or do we need to manage them to hide the facts ??

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Stock Analysts – They are the major cause { though not direct } of Satyam and many such frauds ( detected /undetected ).  They can hammer and bring down the price of your listed entity but can’t impact intrinsic value and future potential of the enterprise.

 

If one can ignore these 3 umpires  { Self Appointed } and focus on the facts and own independent free thinking , without being influenced by these 3 umpires, we can have hugely happy & stress free life.

 

“ If you can sing your song , not worrying who Listens and what they think, you are going to be extremely successful “ – Deepak Chopra

 

Ignore these 3 Umpires. Don’t allow them to take charge of your life. 

 

 

He who does not travel, does not know the value of men.
Moorish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Twelve ways to WOW !!!!! – ( For ) Individuals & Enterprises

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Unexpected Speed (Execution, Thought, Response ) WOWs !!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Complete Precision (Product, Work ) WOWs !!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Unprecedented Design ( Product, Service, Anything { beautifully } Planned ) WOWs !!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Deep Insight (Report, Research, Study, Letter { mails too } )   WOWs !!!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Change in Paradigm (New Idea, New Way of looking/doing things , Unimaginable ) WOWs !!!!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Total Dedication (Employees,  Followers ) WOWs !!!!!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Human Kindness (Going Out of the way, Forgive, Humanitarian Conduct )  WOWs !!!!!!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Power Packed (not necessarily Power Point) Presentation (Oral, Pictorial or Movie ) WOWs !!!!!!!!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Sudden Surprise & Suspense (Prize, Gift, Free , Deep Discount )  WOWs !!!!!!!!!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Great Courage & Confidence (Leaders, Entrepreneurs, People ) WOWs !!!!!!!!!!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Ease & Simplicity (Boss, Product Design, Problem Solving )   WOWs !!!!!!!!!!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Are we as an Individual & as an enterprise WOWing !!!  someone DAILY??  ( keep your daily WOW  !!! scorecard ). That's THE true competitive advantage. 

 

Rest all differentiators are commoditised.

 

 

[*It is not enough to run, one must start in time. *][
**]

French Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Four ways to Brand “YOU” – Have daily Brand Scorecard

 

Most of us are UNBRANDED commodity !!!

In-fact if we decide to WOW !!!! daily someone and keep increasing that scorecard day after day imagine what can happen to :

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Our own personal image  - You become a BRAND that wows!!

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Our work outcome – Excellent (mostly)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. People depend on us – Feel Confident about dealing with us

#
p<>{color:#000;}. People around us – Feel Happy 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Our Self confidence – Get Steep Boost

WOWing !!!! through my act, conduct & work not only change {I} as an individual but everything around me i.e society as a whole. 

This also reminds me of great Tom Peter’s WOW !!!! mission. 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Astonish me

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Build Something Great

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Make it Immortal

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Reward Excellent Failure , Punish mediocre successes

 
I am first responsible for brand  {I} and then every other brand I represent.

Evaluate everything you do on the following parameters:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. WOW!!

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Beauty

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Impact 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. (will make) Rave Fans

When most of us are going to spend sustained periods of our career in some form of self employment – imagine how this WOW !!! thing is going to impact our career. 

Make it a point to WOW !!!! someone daily. Improve your score from one to two to three and then everything you do. The result will be instant. It’s all about value {I} put to the BRAND {I}. ( Most of us are unbranded commodity, your own brand building starts NOW. )

 

 

 

 

The night rinses what the day has soaped.
Swiss Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] It’s not FACTs but E-FACT that matters

In Mumbai Suburban Railway sometimes people having a ticket of 2nd class travels by 1st class. In one such similar instance a commuter who appeared to be of  2nd class commuter boarded the train. While he was boarding the 1st class compartment, a couple of commuters informed that this is the first class compartment so don’t board.  He didn’t pay heed and entered the compartment.  Then one of the commuters told him that if the ticket checker comes and if he was found with a 2nd class ticket he will be fined Rs.500/-. Immediately without thinking for a second he got down from the compartment. 

 

Fact : 1st Class Compartment E-Fact (effect): Rs.500/- penalty

 

Yes, stating fact is just a statistic. 

 

Toothpaste with Salt or Clove or LED TV or 200 CC Bike or Cement main Jaan hain – but so what? How does it matter to me??

 

Mere statistics may not move people to take action. If you want action,  talk about the impact of the facts or non action on the person. Communication, be it advertising or marketing or any such personal persuasion should have this in it to be E-Fact-ive !!!

 

 

 

Measure a thousand times and cut once.
Turkish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Are you curious enough to remain Successful & Relevant ?? Perhaps No

CURIOSITY is what keeps us relevant , interesting  & growing as a person or company. Yes, we stop to remain interesting or growing once we stop to remain curious. ‘I know everything and I am successful and don’t need to know more’ is a  KILLER attitude. Literally KILLER. It kills companies and starts the downfall of individuals. 

 

Observe children and you will learn HOW curious they are about everything on this earth. Curiosity is the mother of learning and for continuous learning continuous curiosity is important. Life is a continuous changing process. It changes daily every moment. However successful companies once when they have achieved success think they have the permanent expertise to remain successful. 

Meet a child and meet a hugely successful person or even some 40 plus year odd person. The child is extremely curious to know , asks questions and tries to understand while successful and senior adults would mostly behave in “I KNOW” or I don’t care to know or learn attitude

 

I was watching Classic Legend programme on Zee TV by Javed Akhtar and he was talking about legendary actor Ashok Kumar. He said Ashok Kumar was so curious throughout his life that he started learning new languages at the age of 64. He always wanted to know and learn new things till he lived up to the age of 90. I think that was the reason the star ruled Bollywood for 60 years.

 

Yes, it’s absolutely important to remain curious about new things in life. Companies MUST not only keep learning about new products and services but also about new ways of doing things, new ways to attract and treat people, new ways to manage the affairs every few years. 

 

In history we have plenty of examples about very successful companies and person failing miserably after a few years. Even we have seen countries, first Japan and now European countries failing after remaining successful for many years.

 

Pattern of thinking MUST be broken to see things with new perspectives. I know and I don’t care attitude is about FIXED pattern of thinking.  

 

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.“ Albert Einstein

“I am a big believer of boredom , boredom allows one to indulge in curiosity and out of curiosity comes everything.” Steve Jobs

 

With success and growing age  , unfortunately MOST of us individually or as an enterprise fall in this trap, without fail.  To remain interesting, one must be interested. Not Curious is equal to Not Learning.

 

Shakeup everything if you are so successful and inculcate a sense of curiosity in your enterprise { people} . May not be relevant today but if you want to remain successful tomorrow also , its the first ingredient.

 

Paulo Coelho – “An interesting life is full of questions , a boring life is full of answers” – The Pilgrimage.

 

 

A spoon does not know the taste of soup, nor a learned fool the taste of wisdom.
Welsh Proverb

#
p<>{color:#002060;}. Are you a SHAKER or Looking for One ??

 

Unless you shake up the bottle, you will get only diluted version of the medicine. Unless you share up the institutions /companies, you get diluted performance. 

Therefore, shaking up MUST be a part of the regular activity if the medicine or institutions have to perform at its finest potential. 

 

Our Institutions and companies for that matter perform below the potential merely due to not shaking up regularly. Mr Arvind Kejriwal & Team Anna have shaken up our democracy. People are now more forthcoming , speaking up and participating in the democratic process and issues concerning them. 

 

Even at companies ,new CEO can bring life if he is enthusiastic and has the capability to see things in different perspective. Status-Quo is the biggest challenge everywhere. Status Quo is nothing but unshaken condition. 

 

Look at the leaders who shook up the things. 

 

Public Life: 

 

Arvind Kejriwal , Narendra Modi , Nitish Kumar , Rajiv Gandhi , TN Seshan, CAG Vinod Rai , Manmohan Singh of 1991 , Ex Bombay Municipal Corporation Commissioner Subodh Kumar……..

 

Corporate: 

 

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Narayana Murthy (IT), Kishor Biyani (Retail), Dhirubhai Ambani 

(Capital Market and Business) & Bansals of Flipkart …… 

 

There are many institutions and companies that are looking for someone who really can shake them up and enable them to realise and/or  regain its true potential. 

Shekhar Suman’s Show Movers and Shakers might have lived its life, but we need Movers/Shakers everywhere, or else we all are likely to become lethargic and sleep. 

Are you a Shaker or waiting for one?  

To become Shaker: 

Ask Why as often 

Ask Why Not more often

- Challenge [+Established Practice +]for betterment (better Speed, lower cost, higher reach, more revenue, happier people )

- [+Change Responsibility +]in Organisation

- Re-imagine a world around You (every year). Execute what you can influence.

Name some of the Movers & Shakers known to you? How they Shook the world around them. Remember Steve Jobs’ quote ” There must be a better ways.”   

 

 

 

 

The most beautiful fig may contain a worm.
Zulu Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] We the (reactive) People

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Cigarette Smoking  is Injurious to health &  can cause Cancer.

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Going to the Gymnacium and doing Exercise is good and must for Fitness,[* else disease and medicine dependent life *]

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Right eating is important for healthy life , [*else obesity , dependency, diseases *]

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Customer Experience is the sustainable competitive advantage [*else low margin, redundant business , possibility to go out of business  *]

Two things are common in all the above 4 statements.

First – Everyone knows this.   Second – Hardly anyone takes action to get the benefits of the knowledge

[+Why:  Why we don’t ACT even if we know what is right and the dangers of doing wrong ? +]

Love for Status-Quo & Procrastination. Unless we are forced to ACT even when the action is for the survival, we don’t ACT. All of us like to react to the situation. Most do not like to Pro-Act.

When we are diagnosed with cancer , we leave cigarette immediately.

When we are diagnosed with some diseases or become obsessed we go to the gym and eat right food.

When we are about to go out of business , all options are over , margins are shrinking , competitor/innovation had taken over our market share – we react and focus on better customer experience creation.

Stephen Covey of [+The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People +]will tell you that the very first habit is to be proactive. Covey explained that to be proactive “means more than merely taking initiative.  It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives.  Our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.”

Be it business or personal level, we refuse to be PROACTIVE. Circumstances will force us to ACT.

Customer Experience is the most important thing every business CEOs and Entrepreneurs agrees/understands but where is the FORCE? Where is the compulsion ? Waiting for PRO to turn RE, is too costly , yes very costly and sometime FATAL.

Change yourself and fortune will change.
Portuguese Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Eight reasons for YOU to BLOG*

 

Reasons can be many 8 or 18 or even 80.

 

Blogging is about: 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. expressing the self , 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. expression in what you believe in, 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. expression of your point of view, 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. sharing your world and work experience, 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. it improves your writing i.e. communication skills ,

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. it improves your subject knowledge you are writing about ,

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. it makes you known for your area of interest and expertise ,

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. if you have something to say and share with the world, you need to blog ,

 

Yes, in the world that we are in today BLOGs are a huge opportunity to create our own platform  and our own audience. An opportunity like this was only available to a select few,  few years ago. Its a great equalizer. 

 

Select your subject, blogging platform, blogging schedule , blog promotion strategy on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn ,Twitter, Pinterest and write your first Blog. 

 

Content is King and Blogging by you creates content for brand YOU.  

 

The question is : Why do you think you are not blogging yet?

 

 

 

In love, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek.
French Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] WHY we MUST do the things for the FIRST time ?

 

[*WHY we MUST do the things for the FIRST time ? *]

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. It makes us believe that we can do it

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. It enhances our confidence

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. It makes us understand the importance of team work

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. It tells us how lousy it can be

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. It enables people to give their feedback to improve it further 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. It also makes you stronger to digest negative comments and yet not give up

 

The most important lesson -[+ It teaches us HOW NOT to do things for the 2nd time+]. This is very critical. 

 

Therefore  whatever you want to do , just do it for the first time  ASAP. Just ship and deliver do not procrastinate or remain in self doubt. Learning will follow only after the FIRST Time. 

 

 

 

Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree.
Ethiopian Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * First Impression is only the First Impression not the LAST

 

The first impression is the last impression is highly overrated  and bias thinking. This mindset does not believe in any scope for improvements. 

 

Life is all about continuous improvements and NO ONE can be perfect at the first time. We have in life and in business many instances of great first impression and lousy impressions thereafter and vice versa. 

 

Yes we have to give our best at the very first time but that is not all. We can always learn from mistakes, from others’ experience , from customer’s feedback. The first impression is not and can never be the last impression. 

 

Yes , not improving continuously is a cause for concern. Worrying too much about the first impression will pull you back to create any impression at all.   

 

Try and create the great first impression and work to make it better at every next impression. 

 

[*First is not the last , first is just the first. *]

 

 

Who begins too much accomplishes little.
German Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Are you just auditing or living ?

 

Everywhere we find appointed or un-appointed Auditors always. People criticising others , other’s work , other’s behaviour , finding fault has become their way of life. These auditors will never see right and good  side of the people and things. 

 

Finding fault in everything is not about perfection oriented mind but its about critique state of mind. It’s a disease. Even if the things or person is not right there is no need to wear the cap of auditor in every walk of life. 

 

Let it remain imperfect. We are not concerned with every imperfect and wrong thing/person. Things will be imperfect , people will do the wrong things ,  life will appear to be unjust , but let it be. 

 

( Audit means an evaluation of a person, organisation, system, process, enterprise, project or product i.e. everything )

 

We audit best of the cricketers , we audit prime minister , we audit work of the best of the artistes , we audit great film makers , we audit our neighbour , we audit our boss , we audit our relatives , infect we audit everything and every person we know. We are not only auditing but like a good consultant we have the solution for everything we audit. 

 

Many a times it is perfectly okay to ignore imperfection even in our area of influence and that includes our own imperfection. 

 

Pause for a day and watch your behaviour & count – to how many things,  situation and person we have some suggestions to be better ? 

 

Then ask , is it necessary ? Does it really matter ? Nine out of ten times, it doesn’t. Just remove your auditor cap & stop being an auditor and start living your life. 

 

 

[*It takes time to build castles. Rome wan not built in a day. *]

[
*Irish Proverb *]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] IN DEMAND – Script & Crisp Writers

 

From 5 days test match to 1 day match to 20:20, this is how the game of cricket has evolved during the last 30 years.  People can’t wait for 5 days to know the result. Rules of the game have remained more or less same but the wait for the outcome has reduced from 5 days to 3 hours. 

 

Attention deficit , impatient & speedy society needs new forms of everything.  

 

From magazine articles to blog to micro blog (twitter). Whatever is to be conveyed is to be conveyed in short & with speed.

Print to TV to Social Media , modes of communication has changed. People are changing their platforms to know what they want to know. 

 

From Commodity to goods to services to experiences.  Yes, now customer needs and pays premium for experiences.  Needs and ways of receiving the same has changed. Commodity providers are many , experience creators are in scanty.   

 

All communicators i.e. enterprises are the largest class of communicators to their customers and potential customers , must learn to know how the new society behaves , communicates and consumes things.  

 

Movies are creating experiences and spend millions of dollars in communicating the same. 

 

Script writers ( writing business plans that delight and wow customers )  , directors of experience creation ( executing  wow !! script ) & Crisp communicators ( smart ,quick & innovative ) and  in demand in the new economy. 

 

Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
Spanish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Do you remove your theatrical HAT daily ?

 

“ Every business is a stage and work is a theatre said,” Pine & Gilmore in their famous book ‘The Experience Economy’.

 

Yes, in a sense, therefore every enterprise must know HOW to perform on stage to create a scintillating experience for their customers. 

 

But other-side of the quote is equally relevant & powerful. Once you are off stage you must stop performing and start living. Usually that is a difficult proposition. 

 

Military men will behave like military men even in their house with their family and in their social circles. Same applies to Police men and for many other professions. An auditor will always try to find faults with everything he encounters even when he is not actually auditing. A lawyer will always have a legal angle in his personal and social life situations. A boss will mostly act bossy in his house and social circles.

 

Removing theatrical hat is very important as well as difficult. We become the role we play on stage. It is only the real actors on stage who know when to remove such hat and live normal and natural life unlike the on stage roles they play. 

 

Amitabh Bachchan and the likes will not act police or goon at home , they will be natural human beings different from their on-stage characters. Position of power & preference is only during on stage professional and business performances. When we try to mix up our on stage roles with our personal and social roles, the difficulty starts.

 

Family relations for all are common  - husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter etc and friends for everyone  be it lawyer or beggar. They expect us to behave normally without our theatrical hat. 

 

Are you removing your theatrical HAT while with them ? Next time be conscious about the on stage hat you are wearing and removing the same when you are off stage. Life will be a different experience.

 

 

[*Let your heart guide your head in evil matters. *]

[
Spanish Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Customer Experience – Surprise and Delight are inbuilt in your company CULTURE??

Are you getting Repeat Customers?? Are your Customers referring your product or services to others?

 

Some of the steps:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Add delight factors in your offerings. Restaurants have to improve not only their food quality and variety but also improve the overall eatING experience. Likewise every entrepreneur has to think of adding ING to their offerings. Hospitals have to work on carING part of all patients and visitors to enhance CUSTOMER experience. I as a blogger have to work on readING experience of my guests.    

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. At the cost of profit, surprise them. Send them sweets on their birthdays or on Diwali or on the day when the school opens. Imagine + Imagine. A lot can be done to surprise , wow & awe them. You as well as your employees and customers must enjoy and celebrate every day of your entrepreneurism. Cinema/Multiplex - How about Popcorn in occasional shows for free??? Imagine the publicity and referral & repeat customers it can generate!!!

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. At the cost of your time, guide & help them. Also follow up with calls after sales. Ask for any additional support they may need. Do it even after six months and check. Invest a lot in your existing customers and let them do the marketing for your offerings. Starbucks measures customer experience in twenty different ways. How about you?

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. After doing all these don’t hesitate to ask for referrals.

 

Initially you will do it with the selfish motive of getting more referral customers. But slowly it will become part of the business and culture. It will become BRAND to be identified with.

 

Live with wolves, and you learn to howl.

[
Spanish Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Are you mapping WOW!! on your Customer’s Face?

Customer Experience is the new and now management practice. NEXT has quickly become NEW and NOW.

Commodity, Product, Services, Experience , this is the hierarchy of business offerings as defined by the father of customer experience, Pine & Gilmore in their famous book, “The Experience Economy”[*. Most Companies struggle in 1st two categories , some reach to third level and very few reaches the 4th level. *]

[*Companies like Starbucks , Virgin , Apple, Zappos, Amazon, Flipkart, Ritz Caltron , Maersk lines & Commerce Bank thrives on superior customer experience. There are unfortunately hardly any Indian brands which can be classified in the 4th category. *]

Reasons may be that Indian Customers are either not demanding or there is no culture at the top of offering WOW !! CUSTOMER Experience. Most management is so tied up in day to day affairs in managing quarterly results, no one in the organisation thinks long term brand building interest of the company.  Like steroids, they take shelter under extravagant advertising and media campaigns. However, hardly anything changes  at ground level.  Everyone’s performance bonus is linked with quick results and not with sustainable results.

It requires a culture of WOW !!! at the top , thinking about HOW ?  and  action plan (which may take longer time) to change the organisation culture.  Performance parameters MUST change and should be linked to increase of Net Promoter Scorecard (NPS) or other Customer Experience (CX) matrix and not only financial performance. Financial performance today which is not guaranteed tomorrow is hardly of much use.  Linking it with NPS will ensure that long term interest of the company is also taken care of.

If your existing customers are promoters of your brand half the battle is won. Today, hardly any Indian brands know what is their NPS , forget about action to improve the same.   Some customer sensitive companies have a customer feedback system but either they do not know what to ask as their questions are irrelevant or do not know what to do after the data is collected.

However off late, very very few companies have started appointing Chief Experience Officers (CExO).  It’s just a very small beginning. Still we have to see how they are able to improve their customer experience. One such company I know is a leading holiday resort company. However if one looks at customer reviews on the Google/mouthshut.com it’s horrible. Customers are happy with their locations but not the way pre sales to post sales and actual stays are handled. Hope CExO will address especially pre sales ways, post sales booking & during stay customer care issues on war footing.

[*Now when we go to buy most of our products after reviewing online review, how important it is to offer amazing customer experience? Isn’t it critical?  No amount of smart advertising & smart sales person can replace the culture of offering “WOW !! CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE”.  *]

Are entrepreneurs working to see smiling & the happy expression on their customer’s face?

[*If yes, it’s your market or else work hard to transform Commoditised offerings into experiential offerings. *]

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
English Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Customer Service Is Not a Department, It’s your Company

Why Surprised !!!!. As an entrepreneur you started the company to offer some solution to the CUSTOMER. Isn't it true ???

 

Unfortunately as the company grows, it develops silos and other than the CEO, everyone else is responsible for their limited area of operations. This is how companies are managed. But the problem with this way of working is NO one cares about the customers other than customer care and sales department. 

 

But the difference between core competency and competitive advantage could be  – Excellent Customer Focus & offering Delightful & Memorable Experience.

 

Core Competency will keep you in business , competitive advantage will give you an edge by allowing some extra profit , low marketing efforts, quicker sales cycle & more repeat/referred customers. 

 

One of my young followers sent me a mail stating that Kingfisher Airlines was offering wow customer experience & now they are almost on the verge of closure & other non wowers are surviving thereby questioning entire wow experience strategy.   

 

I have read tweets of many whom I follow. There are two views on Govt bailout or support to the private sector company in trouble, but everyone unequivocally agreed that the company was offering a great customer experience.  All of them were brand loyal , brand advocates. Opponents of financial package also can’t stop but admire what kind of experience company was creating for their customers. This loyalty and wow!! experience perhaps will be instrumental in helping the company in times of crisis. Financial Troubles are and can be due to various structural and financing issues, but WOW !!! factor they could create is the key not only for voice of customers to support the company but loyal and repeat customers will remain loyal to the company  for revenue to keep coming. 

 

Even in the case of Satyam Scam, one of the independent directors acknowledged that their customers’ loyalty was the key reason they could revive so dramatically even in times of severe survival crisis. 

[*Wowed Customers = Happy Customers = Loyal Customers = Brand Promoters *]

 

Therefore keep wowing customers; they will go to any extent to support you in times of crisis. Is Wowing Customers, your competitive advantage????

 

 

 

 

Don’t sail out farther than you can row back.
Danish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Win HEART to reach MIND of the CUSTOMERs !!!!

Watching one of the finest movies of the 70s, Parichay, (Jitendra & Jaya Bhaduri Starrer) , was very thought provoking. Simple concept , present day marketers must learn & implement. 

 

Social Media champion (http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com) and well known blogger Michael Stelzner says, “Offer free knowledge to attract customers.”  Seth Godin in his famous book Linchpin talks about art of gifting , “ Gift without expectations in return is a true gift. “

 

The rule is : First offer and give without expectations and you are likely to get expected behaviours of returning favour. But without thinking about giving , just expecting will be difficult to yield result. Respect buyers’ choice and preference before you try to sell your idea.

 

Buyers are here to solve their problems or experience some pleasure.  Your product and services may be an answer to their need. However the route to their mind (which makes the decision to avail or ignore) is through their heart. Heart goes to selfless & going out of the way solution providers (of course not to hardcore marketers and sellers). 

 

Rule your space with entire gamut of solution. [*Something is free, something is out of the way, { just to show your commitment towards a solution and not JUST sale } and something is paid. *]

 

In the movie, mission of Jitendra (lead character) was to educate & discipline 4 notorious students. He could have remained focused on his job by remaining and behaving like a typical teacher (like his predecessors) . But he chooses to become their friend, wins their hearts, goes out of the way of his KRA, spends extra time with them to understand their behaviour and response influences. This extra time and effort helped him in achieving his end result of disciplining students who were interested in their studies.

 

How much extra sellers/marketers can invest in customers /buyers/ clients {without expectations} that will decide sales, customer engagement and customer loyalty?  [*Route to MIND through HEART may be longer but it’s a sure , authentic as well as long lasting. *]

 

What is your investment to win hearts of your existing and potential customers before you aim to reach customers’ mind???

 

 

There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out.
Russian Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * [*Eight Reasons to  { must } WOW !!!!! [  Delight  ] Internal Customers *]

 

I had to send one project report to someone who would depend on the same and would work on the same further.  While working on it , I thought I should do the work in such a fashion that the other guy need not have to do anything better and just take the process further. That will make me feel happy , make me dependable and save his time (i.e project execution time).

 

This made me think of Customer Experience of Internal Customers. Most people in the organisation think that they are not in direct touch with the final customer how can they WOW !!! their customer??? They think we are sitting in one corner of the office of accounts or purchase department. We don't even see our customers. WOW !!! is not for us. 

 

As an accountant, if I make a mistake on tallying accounts or adjusting customer payment to his account I am impacting customer experience. As a purchase manager if I am not buying right quality products, at the right time I am impacting customer experience. Everyone therefore can influence ( is influencing ) customer { external } experience. 

However my point here is about impacting internal customers. Internal customer is the person who is dependent on our work to take it forward.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Auditors are dependent on Accountants work

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Production Team is dependent on Purchase Team

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Sales Team is dependent on Marketing Team

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Project Team is dependent on Finance Team

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Sales Team is dependent on Logistics Team

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Everyone dependent on IT Team & even Security Personnel

#
p<>{color:#000;}. & PM is dependent on PMO !!! 

     { One can add many more dependencies }

 

Even within the department, one person is dependent on another person’s work. If we wish to WOW !!! our customer, WOW!! The person(s) dependent on our work by giving not only best of us but more than what is expected. { going out of the way to make his work easier , faster and even beautiful }

Advantage:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You are happy { doing something great plus you also will get dependable work from a colleague on whose work you are dependent }

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Fellow Employee is Happy

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Everyone in the organisation is Happy

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Time of rework or recheck saved

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Customer { External } Happy

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Culture of WOW !!!! percolates

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Everyone work to WOW !!! daily , on every assignment

 

Bottom-line : Blue Ocean creation for the company. { unbeatable competitive advantage }

 

 

 

Age is honorable and youth is noble.
Irish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Surprise & Suspense Element of Your BRAND?

We { Consumers } like something EXTRA than what we are expected to get. The value of that EXTRA is incomparable. It becomes the talk of the town, cause for referral point and repeat experience. 

Mindset of offering an EXTRA  { going out of the way } , entrepreneurs can make their offerings Extra Ordinary.

 

- Surprise – Offering Pleasant EXTRAS

- Suspense – Every-time something Different (Different Surprises) 

 

Restaurant is offering free meal every Monday but it will not be announced in advance. At the time of billing customer is informed that it was free.

 

Stock Broker is offering brokerage refunds for one week and next time sending free gift holiday vouchers to their valued clients.  

 

Home Builder is offering school scholarship to children of all habitats & next time full sponsorship of all festivals we celebrate. (In India, we have many festivals that we celebrate )

 

Dentist offering free Coffee coupon ( CCD or Barista or Starbucks ) to their patients , next free annual check up for the family.

 

Garment Store offers free  { Fashion tips and grooming seminar } , next family picnic pass.

 

Accounting Firm offering free accountant’s training to clients , next free seminars to clients from marketing experts. 

 

What are the SUSPENSE and SURPRISE elements of your BRAND ? { Most brand unfortunately neither offer surprise nor offer suspense but only offer sacrifice i.e. less than expected/promised  offerings !!! }

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Only way to handle – Return , Refund , Cancellation & Customer EXIT !!!

We remember LAST incident. LAST incidence influences all future decisions. We observe how companies are behaving during unpleasant customer action i.e. discontinues, refund, return, exchange, exit, cancel, don’t want etc etc. 

 

Unfortunately in MOST companies, processes are written & culture is developed such that it cannot face such incidences GRACEFULLY.  

 

For CUSTOMER it’s a brand experience, for companies and point of sale it’s a lost sale & customer is gone. They think customer experience happens only when the customer is consuming our product and services. 

 

However if BRAND wants to become known for their superior customer experience it is NOW at the occurrence of unpleasant incidence HOW it behaves is what matters the most.  

 

Most retailers follow fix time for return which is mostly inconvenient, no cash refund, so many T & C & that famous asterisk. Once customers become Ex Customers, they are treated differently. 

 

BRAND has longer life than people handling returns and whose incentives may be impacted with returns. Who will develop such Culture ?? It starts at the TOP

 

GRACEFUL, Pleasant, WILLING to let go though expect to SERVE in FUTURE , Facilitating Smooth Exit, attitude ( MOST PROBABLY ) will win back the customers. Not only win back but will make repeat and most referring customers. 

 

In a battle between elephants, the ants get squashed.
Thai Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] A to Z Do’s and don’ts for Cusomer Centric Innovation

Well,  please don’t go by the numbers , grab the meaning. Any new ideas will face somewhat similar objections or hurdles.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. I have never heard of this !!!!! ( That’s why it must be done )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We do things this way only. ( When will you innovate ? )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. New ideas will not work in this environment ,,,,, ( Let it be experimented )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Do you have proven case study??????? ( Why can’t you become means of this case study? )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. I know this better since I have been doing it for years now @@@@@ ( Will doing things in new way harm or change for the better )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Customers don’t care   , they are just interested in low price. ( Do you have the data to justify so )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We can’t afford to connect customers in an online media initiative. Their unity is not in our interest. ( Well most large brands are doing so and reaping benefits, call is yours )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We work with consultants having experience in our industry. ( New ideas need new unconditioned brains )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Brand means nothing more than a logo, stationery , uniform and sign boards. [+ (Its mere 8% of the same ) +]

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The last word in customer care is CRM. [+ ( It’s the basic survival tool, should we not go beyond mere survival efforts ??? )  +]

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

z) We are the market leader , we make huge profits, we are almost in monopoly condition. [*( Check last 10 years business stories, business situation (position) changes every 3 years – likes of Tatas, GEs , Toyotas, Infosys , Facebook and Microsoft are threatened by new ventures ) *]

 

I might have missed many dos and don’ts  in between but I am sure readers will exceed my last number.

 

Someone has quoted “Success Immortalises the way things are done.” It’s not difficult to learn new things but the challenge is to unlearn what is already learned. Daily most of us confront with many new ideas but our mental conditioning blocks many and most of them to touch the reality.  

 

If you are in a deciding position whether to implement a new idea or not, allow to experiment with new ideas, allow the person coming with an idea to make it happen,  be willing to make him successful, have an open and broad mind, have the innovation and ideas brain storm a regular feature of the company. 

 

I always wonder why best practices of best companies to work for or customer experience surveys are not even simply copied by the rest of the company. No copy , no inspiration, no innovation and no change. 

 

 

 

[*In a calm sea every man is a pilot. *]

[
Spanish Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Eight ways to CHARGE up Call Centres to make it CUSTOMER centric

Cool Experience with Call Centre of Income Tax Dept, Bangalore CPC.

 

On calling: IVR took data of company e.g. PAN and purpose of the call.  Thereafter, the receiver immediately started with what I wanted to know without again asking about the name, PAN or purpose. She was ready with when did I inquire last and what the status of my problem is. 

 

I have rarely found this efficiency or process even in most big private sector brands & most call centres are far from what they should be. They keep asking the basic data N number of times, waiting time is high and the line gets transferred to new executives every time more queries are asked.  Even if we have punched the basic data, purpose of call, still they ask us the same thing. Their scripted speeches are too monotonous & time consuming.

 

What we callers/receivers expect them to do:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. When call centre is busy – mention how long will it take (ICICI Bank has of late started doing it but their time waiting is too long to wait) for executive to attend. Better if every drop callers is called back by the call centre. 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The caller is calling mostly to solve the problem so is in a hurry or in an anxiety. Quickly come to the solution part in the script. The rest can be taken care later or may not need many a times. Most of the time background is too noisy. Avoid. 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Train,  Train and retrain the executives – skill set – [*language, communication , product/service knowledge , how to solve the problems/help. *]

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Solve the problem there and then without waiting or having layers of executives’ therefore more waiting time and chances of disconnection.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Post request, immediate action by the company if something is to be done after the call. Usually we get a call after 2 days or a week, once we place the request.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Outgoing Callers – First and foremost ask about convenience. Whether “Right time to talk?”. They come to this after the long opening statement. 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. No hard sell. Once listeners say NO , politely thank and exit. Most executives inquire why , when and insist on listening to them. They should listen to the prospect first.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Keep choice of words powerful and conversation attentive.  

 

Keep CUSTOMERS in focus and not your business processes or sell hard agenda. Solve their problem, offer them information and sell them only if they want it & not because you want to sell.  

 

It’s about BRAND company has created. It shall not be destroyed by untrained people with casual approach, long process driven (centric) out-sourced activities. 

 

[*In today’s market MOST call centres will not qualify test of Excellency. Nobody is listening either customers ( What callers have to say in an out bound call ) or executives ( In out bound/inbound calls ) or even  companies ( What is happening at call centres ) !!!!. *]

 

If you take big paces, you leave big spaces.
Burmese Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Five ways to Rejuvenate Your Brand ( you and Brand you represent )

 

Past Experience sometimes is the biggest hurdle. It CONDITIONS our mind. Previous patterns determine our future actions. Life is an exploration and conditioned mind can’t explore but just follow the trend. This applies to individuals and enterprises equally.

 

Therefore to UNCONDITION our mind we need to be alert of our thoughts & actions.  Out of the Box or Lateral Thinking is all about this. Everyone be it individual or company becomes prisoner of this “following the pattern” habit. This is how we become stale after sometime/ years.

 

The challenge is to get out of this and rejuvenate our thoughts on an ongoing basis:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Do something non routine daily.(take new route to office or home, buy  non regular magazine, go to movie with not so good review, watch channel not viewed regularly, offer peak season discount on products and services, pay your supplier early and thank them for the support, celebrate achievement of family members of employees,  ask back office team to deal with front end customers,  respond to call centre queries in 48 minutes instead of 48 hours, offer no question asked goods return for a day, call customer after a day of his purchase to know whether he is happy with product or service

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Challenge Obvious Idea / Action / Interpretation. (Get feedback from suppliers, service providers, go to a different restaurant, take leave from the job without any reason and be with the family, have without appointment day for all patients,  go and play cricket with children on Sunday )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Think, apply your mind and look at the things in a different perspective.(Talk to grieving customers or employees by calling him and giving full attention to know his perspectives)

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. For the sake of change do something differently. (Offer Lassi or lemon juice in place of routine Tea/Coffee to your customers /employees)

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Check Business Processes more often for better customer experiences. It’s a dynamic world, processes must be reviewed to achieve speed & convenience to customers.(Remove or merge processes, add the delight factor in the process)

 

Many more such actions can be taken up routinely to un ( Condition + Routine ) our mind. Daily Targets, Quarterly Results and Annual Bonus will make it difficult to think anything other than routine but believe me thinking non-routine will improve all the three targets.

 

This is BRANDing in ACTION. Atrophy (Regular CONDITIONed) or Rejuvenate (Regular UNCONDITIONing). Choice of actions is clear. 

 

 

 

 

Before you score, you first must have a goal.
Greek Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Examples of Failed Customer Focus*

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We get automated replies to our mails & but we can’t reply that mails.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We get marketing SMS without direct number of the sender.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We speak to call centre agents – every time different person.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We get computer generated letters hence signature not required.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We get letters signed by an authorised signatory (un-named)

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. We can return goods only within a fixed time/day. However they sale us 24 × 7 through outbound call centres (even if we are in a toilet). They have refund policy but no sale policy.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. They send us most complicated prize winning competition documents every now and then. (Earlier Readers Digest then India Today)

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. They offer attractive prizes on joining the club but when the time comes to utilise the membership advantages, we are less preferred.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. They make fancy website but wants us to call them by not providing online contact help/mail.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. All of them work only for MONEY and Profit & not for customers (Ignorant that customers ONLY can bring profits).

 

It’s a lose lose situation out there and not win win. Customers are unhappy (shifting brands, no brand loyalty, no trust, frustrated with the way they are being treated) and marketers are fighting in their own red ocean (no customer centric innovation or focus).  

 

[*He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom. *]

[
English Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Brand Communication Vs Brand Execution*

 

Mr. Narendra Modi is a very good Marketer. He marketed his state so vigorously, that perhaps no other CM could match his passion and vigour. No two views here. The opposition also agrees and says so.

The issue is , what about SUBSTANCE ? Whether successful marketing is possible without matching investment in product and service ?

Marketing that follows good product and service development will only succeed. Howsoever aggressive marketing may be , it will fail miserably if the product and service being marketed is lousy. Therefore good marketing can not make a lousy product successful. At the same time bad marketing can fail good products.

The bottom line is both product and marketing has to be excellent. The product can fail without the smart marketing but smart marketing has to  fail  without smart products/services.

“I rather die of bad marketing than a bad product!” Quote.

Most companies are smart marketer but not enough is done to make a product or service smart that can give wow !!! customer experience.  Examples of product and service failure due to weak marketing are rare whereas examples of failure of smart marketing campaigns due to weak product and service are many.

Mr. Narendra Modi is smart a  marketer but that is because he had substance to offer to the voters. He cannot be a successful marketer unless he has invested in his offerings to the voters. Most political parties are just good campaigners but nothing to be shown on the ground . That is a problem and that is the difference. Bollywood is the best example where companies have become a smart marketer without investing adequately in the product.

So next time when you are deciding on marketing campaign just re check whether your product and services deserve this kind of marketing &  if the answer is NO , invest and work more on product and services than marketing communication. Make a brand promise you wish to communicate through marketing campaign actually executable while using your offerings.

Does your product LIVE your brand promise  marketed by your marketer ??

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Diagnostic Test for Status of Customer Experience

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Our company has a customer experience statement

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Our business Process Team work Closely with Customer Experience Team

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Our advertising/marketing messages match with experience our product/service offers to our customers. We make it sure.

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Our people know the impact they create on the customer experience

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Our top management participates in customer issues/complaints/initiatives

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Our distribution channels are trained on the company’s customer policy

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. We measure customer experience our company creates.

If  the answer to the most of the above statements are NO,  your company is already suffering Customer Experience leakages &  call for action is loud and clear.

Do you think your company is proactive in the matter of customer experience initiatives?

Good advice is often annoying, bad advice never is.
French Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Who is building your BRAND?

 

Customer Experience is EXTREMELY important in the times of Social Media.

When we celebrated our marriage last marriage anniversary , my wife recommended one restaurant for which she had read an article in the newspaper about one restaurant known for mouth watering food , visits of celebrities there and all new varieties of food.

The plan was finalized.

Just on the day when I was looking to get a clue of the location on the internet and that provoked me to just check the review of the restaurant.

And to my shock and surprise, most reviews were against the restaurant. Not only food quality reviewed by the customers was pathetic even hygiene was not up to the mark , few customers stated.

Rather than me telling my wife, I asked her to read reviews. Her mind changed immediately and our plan also changed for the day. May be we were saved from pathetic experience on the important day.

The point is:

- Companies MUST focus on creating better experience and then leave it to the customers to spread the word. Yes , companies can play a role in  facilitating  that.

- Paid media , paid/unpaid reviews or high claim advertisement will not work.

- Create awareness about the brand and let customers speak .

Generation NOW is highly connected with the help of Mobile Internet. Words spread fast, faster than one can imagine. Traditional advertising and marketing models and mindset will quickly give way to what CUSTOMER Speak.

Role of Brand building has moved from creative AD agencies to CEO , Customer Experience Designers & Social Media Champions.

Customer experience is the end result of everything  an organisation does. No one can hide in the name of BACK OFFICE. Every action in the organisation impacts the customer experience.

We all are in an alert mode in an experience economy. [*SO CALLED *] advertising agencies and brand champions  will find it difficult to get the desired results. ROI of such initiatives will diminish , diminish quickly.

Who is building your brand? Your Customers or Ad Agencies/Paid Media ?

Give a man a fish, and you need him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
Chinese Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *The First Question*

 

Customer Experience Management is the mother of all enterprise level initiatives like lean, six sigma, tqm, process engineering, business strategy, human resource etc all are in a way impacting customer experience. Now, if we consider Customer Experience as sustainable competitive advantage then all our initiatives should commence by keeping CE perspective at the center.

 

After the company decides about the products and services it is planning to offer to the market and geography it decides to operate in, THE FIRST QUESTION to be asked is what kind of customer experience company wants to create for its customers?

 

There are nine leakage points which dilute scintillating customer experience. Therefore unless customer experience statement is defined, the lens of the management will miss these leaky points.   In the process to answer the first question company will define customer experience statement.

 

Having defined the statement every action and initiatives will be aimed to achieve & maintain this statement. Budget for any initiatives will be viewed in terms of its impact on customer experience.

 

Every initiative mentioned below will help to fix the leakage in customer experience happening through leakage points;

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Leadership & Culture ( Culture & Governance Policies )

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Customer Strategy ( CE Statement & whether every other function align with this strategy? )  

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Customer Expectations ( tqm, lean, costing, innovation  )

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. People ( HR )

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Process ( BPR, Lean, Six Sigma )

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Marketing & Branding ( Marketing , Social Media, Advertising , PR )

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. System ( IT, Technology, Mfg or Service Set up )

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Measurement ( right measurement matrix )

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Distribution Channel ( distribution policy, training and hand holding )

When the above nine points are focused on a regular basis by keeping lens of customer experience on , company will then hardly need any other area to focus upon ( ofcourse except taxation ).

 

The time has come for every organisation to ask the first question and realign to answer the first question. 

 

 

 

Do not rejoice at my grief, for when mine is old, yours will be new.
Spanish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * The brand is WHAT it does and not how it looks and from where it comes

 

Some of our political leaders behaved and spoke during the election campaign showed how a brand can be ruined by their behaviour.

Yes, everyone of us is a BRAND. We build our personal brands by our conduct. Not only the way we speak but what we speak, what we do , people we influence makes us brand.

In the business sense it’s Customer Experience a company creates that makes them BRAND and not an advertisement , stationery, and logos.

Nana Patekar on one of the TV shows aptly said “ importance of good looking Heroes is just for 5 minutes, then public evaluates his Heroism by what he does on screen.”

The same rule applies in the real world. One may be from big and rich family, holding big post and look handsome, but WHAT he does with that will make him HERO i.e. Brand. 

 

 

 

What you see in yourself is what you see in the world.
Afghan Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Everything is up for Re-imagination

 

Yes. True.

The world around is slowly but surely changing at a speed not easily recognisable.  However change is happening and happening everyday.

New WORLD that we are daily experiencing is the result of thinking or re-imagination of people around us. Someone somewhere is re-imagining the existing way of doing things and living life.

Steve Jobs re imagined laptops, mobile phones, music dispensing system  , Bill Gates re imagined operating system , Starbucks re-imagined coffee shop experience, Narendra Modi re-imagined politics of development & governance, Capt Gopinath re-imagined low cost airlines, Zappos re-imagined customer experience, Dr. Kurian re imagined milk collection & distribution system,  Mark Zuckerberg re-imagined social networking, Baba Ramdev re-imagined Yoga for masses , Steven Spielberg & most movie makers are in re-imagination business, & Gandhiji re imagined use of non violence to achieve independence. Many people around us are re-imagining our world and doing their own bit to make the difference. Tom Peter has written a book [* Re-Imagine*].

We all  have to re-imagine the world. Re imagine relationships, re imagine commuting , re imagine travelling, re imagine businesses, re imagine politics, re imagine parenting, re imagine governance and management , re imagine education , re imagine jobs & re imagine religions. There is no limit or restriction on any thing as far as  Re Imagination goes. Its not about small changes here and there. It’s something completely NEW and unheard of.  Conditioned mind will find it difficult , it requires an unconditional mindset to re imagine.

 Re imagination capacity is the most valuable asset a person and an organisation can have. Any entrepreneur, organisation and individual can create a huge difference in the world by his/her power of re imagination and action to make imagination a real one.

The point is : World around is subject to change  and all those who can re-imagine the life and world around them & work towards achieving that change will  be the most sought after people.[* *]

What is your re-imagination agenda?

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Who Moved Your Cheese (Customers) ?

 

You need your customer more than they need you . Do you know this fact?  Many would reply – YES we know.

But the real problem starts when we see our action  as far as customer experience is concerned. Our actions are not commensurate with the statement above.

How many companies have mission /vision statement?  Most companies will answer in affirmative.

But again real problem starts once the statement is frozen and put up on website and reception area. Other than customers no one in the organisations reads it, forget practicing it.

How many of the entrepreneurs are aware that in an era of commoditisation of products and services , ease & delight in fulfilling customer needs is the real sustainable competitive advantage? A fair number of entrepreneurs have now started realising this.

But how many entrepreneurs have done anything to achieve this competitive advantage ?

Become your own customer – visit stores, call call centers , use after sales, talk to the front line people , talk to back-end people (their action or inaction impact performance of front-line employees and customer experiences)  and realise – map competitive advantage your company enjoys.

Entrepreneurs and CEOs are talking & complaining about low sales, competitive pricing pressure, top-line growth issues, the challenge of how to differentiate – but a rare  number of entrepreneurs and CEOs are taking action in the space of bettering the customer experience (CE) and most are just clueless , complaining and talking about ROI on customer experience initiatives.  

What is the ROI of investment in life insurance policy? What is the ROI of medical treatment cost of a dying patient?  What is the ROI of the cost of going to the Gym? No we do not see the ROI on an insurance policy or medical treatment as it is a MUST to protect our family from risk , survival or preventive health measures. CE initiatives are beyond ROI as these are MUST , not just to survive  but it is the cause of every business. It has to be a part of business strategy. (though ROI of better CE is obvious i.e. survival) 

Cheese has again moved and those focusing on bettering the customer experience know who moved and how to remain with cheese , all remaining are questioning & complaining –  WHO MOVED MY CHEESE  (Customers) ?

It takes a whole village to raise a child.
African Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] What MOVIES teach about Customer Experience ?

 

How many times all of us have seen the movie we liked ? 

 

We spend hours at the cost of watching the same movies repeatedly over and over again(remember time is our most precious resource) . 

 

We know the story and sequence exactly. Repeat purchase (viewing) is for the fact that we have had a good experience at the first instance &  we wish to repeat our experience that we had liked , cherished

However, when directors’ creativity takeovers viewers’ expectations, we have seen movie from great directors failing at the box office. 

Likewise, if your company is keeping internal system , processes and efficiency at the core, it will end up like a flop movie. 

[+Some recent experiences when customers are not at the core of business decisions: +]
- Hospital wants medicine replenishment from internal medical store by the patient’s relative every time.  Isn’t it the internal process of the Hospital ?  

- The leading credit card company uses 4 pages for bill printing (incl Ads) but not a line on the customer care contact details for any billing related issue. Is customer experience/need at the core when designing this bill ? 

- On a website of a leading private bank no way to reach them but for only FAQ driven email options & call centre numbers which require many punches before we can talk to anyone. No email ID to reach customer care. Shouldn’t  they be customer driven rather than process driven only ?  

- One of the large holiday resort companies keeps responding to mails with standard replies without reading the customer concerns that too not as automated replies but with personal name as signatory.

 

Ask yourself every-time , what will happen to customer experience when any business decisions are taken ? 

 

Create a lovely shopping experience during the shopping process and product usage and you have acquired one of the finest assets any business can have  -[+ loyal and repeat customer+].  

 

How much time , effort and most important [*thinking *]is invested in offering a scintillating customer experience which they wish to repeat again and again and still again ?  

 

 

 

Examine what is said, not who speaks.
Arab Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *B2B Customer Experience is CRITICAL*

 

B2B customer experience (CE) is critical as a share of the business each customer brings is substantial. The share of each business referral a customer can bring is also substantial. Therefore to survive and to expand – both , CE in B2B business is critical. 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. When was the last time you sought customer feedback (and acted on the feedback)

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Do you know whether they are buying more from you over the period of time (% of your turnover and % of their turnover) ?

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Are you aware about the concerns of your customers ( they are facing with your organisation and they are facing as their own business ) ?

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Have you taken steps to solve their concerns with your organisation ? 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Have you asked them about their other business issues where you can play a role ?

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Think to delight them , surprise them and make them aware that you care about their business and relationship. Help them in their success. 

 

Most businesses assume that they are delivering a great customer experience and enjoying a great relationship with the customers only to realize sooner that the customer is lost to someone else. 

 

[*Appoint TODAY Customer Delight Officer *]( This is not a cost but an investment that can improve financial ROI of your business ). 

 

 

Two wrongs don’t make a right.
English Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Business Process & Drained Customer Experience

 

Chetan Bhagat recently wrote in TOI about stupid procedures at Indian airports. Stupid procedures are one of the foremost reasons for India’s slow economic development. Stupid processes in business are the reasons for pathetic customer experiences.

 

Stupidity is the crux. No one wants to call the shots. No one wants to change the status quo, No one wants to fail, No one wants to be criticized for the failed attempt, infact no one cares at all. Otherwise, why only Chetan Bhagat noticed what many CEOs , Ministers, Bureaucrats and Process Champions could not notice or even if they noticed why couldn’t they do anything about the same?

 

When was the last time your business processes were realigned keeping the customer experience in mind ?

 

Do you know business processes are the major culprit in creating damaging customer experience ? 

 

While fulfilling a customer need – business processes can play a key role in making it happen with ease , speed and delight. 

 

Process complexity delays the delivery , irritates the customers , breaks the relations and customer looks elsewhere. 

 

Business process mastery can give you a competitive advantage. Flipkart is the shining example of process mastery. Their enviable TAT is the result of process mastery keeping customer at the center of the process design.  Whatever the processes are, the customer gets speedy delivery. 

 

Huge money was invested to built brand through media , huge money was invested in technology and logistics. However before they built a brand through media there had already word of mouth online brand building happening through customers. Media helped them to achieve the tipping point, but the ground work was kept ready through their superior logistics. 

 

There are plenty of leakage points in offering superior customer experience but business process is the critical part which makes or breaks the business. Business process re-engineering which keeps customer's need and not company's need at the core achieves what the company ultimately wants -  [*superior PROFIT through superior CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.    *]

 

 

 

A large chair does not make a king.
Sudanese Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] When business processes fail Customer Experience

Outgoing facility on my cell phone suddenly stopped.

On inquiry I found that I have not paid (cheque returned for some reason)  my bill for the month of Sep.  Bill for September and action taken on 19th December that too without any communication, affected me.

On inquiring with call centre, I was told to go and meet customer care and pay the bill and meet AO for late billing complaints. So, I had to leave all my work and rush to my telecom service providers to set the things right. This is the way they function:

- Send bills late – on due date or after that

- Respond to the cheque bounced in September in December that too by disconnecting service

- No intimation or warning that what has happened and what can happen because of that

- Call centre cannot resolve the issue and I have to meet some of them  personally to restart the service  {What in case if I was travelling then? (when I need my cell services the most) –  sorry?}

I am their customer for more than 10 years and almost 95% a regular bill payer. However , they have one system for all without any credit to the relationship and track record.

I didn’t meet any of them & I emailed to the MD of the company with a copy to the Minister of Telecom.

Thereafter, for the next 24 hours I got various calls from the telecom company officers from various departments.  They asked me to pay at the earliest but as a goodwill gesture restarted my services.

All these could have been avoided if they had informed me about the returned cheque on time and asked to pay in lieu of that.

Business processes’ [*designers MUST take, “Impact created on Customer Experience” VERY seriously. *]

 

 

Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone.
Moroccan Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Is your enterprise surviving without Customer Experience Audit?

 

When you are clueless about results of financial audit, think of the customer experience (CE) audit. Yes, CE audits can bring out many of the causes of good or bad financial results. Unfortunately, no companies engage in CE audits. 

 

When your company’s EPS is dropping, it is not necessarily due to higher capital deployment or higher input cost, it can be because of your lower pricing capability, it can be because of higher ad/marketing cost, it can be because of higher customer turnover, it can be because of low per capita buying by existing customers, it can be because of your faulty customer service design & it can be because you are neither listening nor watching your customers.    

 

VOC & Journey Maps / Customer Mirror are some of the ways in which you can know about the kind of customer experience your enterprise is delivering while dealing with your customers. Remember Mystery Shopping is not CE audit. It’s just one component of CE audit. 

 

Financial performance is the result of all these activities company performs during the year. We are too keen to know the result & then analyse it superfluously without even thinking about CE. 

 

It’s like focusing on result of exercises for weight loss without focusing on diet. If you keep analyzing and changing your exercise without proper diet plan it is neither a right analysis nor it will give desired results even in future.

 

Our intake is critical for weight loss programme, exercise just supports and supplements it. You can reduce weight with proper and timely diet without exercise but without diet discipline & only with exercise, weight loss is not possible and even if it is achieved it is not sustainable.

 

Likewise, without focusing on the customer experience part , financial results shouldn’t be analysed as it cannot remain sustainable. For long term sustainable financial results which every company desires, focus on CE is a critical prerequisite for analysing the results. 

Therefore immediately after financial audit , companies must commence CE audits. Both put together is the right recipe for performance improvement initiatives. Without CE audits and knowing what kind of CE your company is delivering , all performance improvement initiatives will  be incomplete and won’t give the desired outcome.

 

 

Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, small wisdom.
Chinese Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Envy people about your CUSTOMERS.*

 

Have you made your potential customers envy your existing customers? 

 

Yes, it is the role of every customer experience professional. Every company MUST make an endeavour to achieve this status.  Once upon a time Onida TV used to have slogan as,” Owner’s Pride Neighbour’s Envy”. Converting this slogan into reality is exactly what is needed in today’s time of commoditisation. 

 

Your customers, MUST love, talk about and advocate your offerings. 

 

When  I read the book “Delivering” Happiness by Tony Hsieh, I become a member of “very happy person’s group” on their site & I received a gift hamper with one copy of the book, a T-shirt and a pack of wafer from the US.  When I first used Flipkart to buy a book it was very simple and quick – a superior experience. Thereafter, I have recommended both the companies to many through my blog as well as in person. One CM made the entire country envy of his state and people even made PM. This is the power of making others ENVY about what you have to offer to your customers (citizens in this case). 

 

It is not only about physical appearance & rationality, it is about touching the senses , it is about human emotions. 

 

Make it a habit to please few of your customers every week -  DELIBERATELY (Even if you are a b2b company). Do unexpected, go out of the way, and make them feel special. Words will spread and more & more people would like to be your customer.  Your DELIBERATE habit will make your company talk of the town. 

 

In this attention deficit world something unique will get the attention. It is far easier and cheaper than huge Ad and marketing gimmicks (which no one believes) .  

 

How do you think you can make people envy of your customers ? Share your ideas. 

 

 

[*Fortune is blind, but not invisible. *]

[
French Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Are you selling what you are making?

 

Are your brand management and product design teams in sync with the kind of customer experience your company wishes to offer ? 

 

Most of the time it is seen that there is no connect between brand commitment that company conveys through all kinds of communication , product design team and customer service team which manages the gap between the two. 

 

Customer experience design is a deliberate DESIGN & therefore involving CE team during the inception of product design , process design , advertising , branding  , marketing and training is CRITICAL.  

 

When symphony music is orchestrated , every aspect is planned in order to achieve the kind of experience the symphony director wishes to offer to the audience. Everything is in sync with the expected outcome. 

 

Offering scintillating customer experience which is truly a competitive advantage requires entire company to behave in sync with expected outcome i.e. an experience which company aims to deliver to the customers.  Your branding and marketing team should not behave in a way which may make people disbelieve your brand.  Unfulfilled brand promises can cause disaster for the brand it self. 

 

Ask your people what they think to get a clue!!

 

 

A man does not seek his luck; luck seeks its man.
Turkish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * What is the customer experience elasticity of demand of your offerings ?

 

This principle of economics is used for elasticity of demand for price. The time has come to use the same for better customer experience. 

 

PED definition is : 

 

Price elasticity of demand is a measure used in economics to show the responsiveness or elasticity of the quality demanded of a good or service to a change in its price.   

 

New age definition of importance is:  

 

Customer Experience elasticity of demand is a measure used in economics to show the responsiveness or elasticity of the quality demanded of a good or service to a change in its customer experience.   

 

 

Therefore before one asks for the ROI of better customer experience initiatives answer following questions:

 

What is your advertising & marketing budget ? 

 

What is the cost of acquiring new customer ? 

 

What is the potential loss due to losing existing customers ? 

What is the gain from repeat purchase from existing customers ? 

 

What is the gain from referral business from existing customers ? 

 

What is the gain from existing customers (+) WOM across the channel ?

 

What is the loss from existing customers (-) WOM across the channel ?

 

What is the potential market share loss due to competitor taking a lead in offering a better customer experience ? 

 

What is the elasticity of demand for better customer experience ? 

 

What is your budget for better customer experience creation for existing customers? 

 

What is the gain in to be known as customer experience champion company? 

 

Answer these questions before you ask about the ROI of customer experience initiatives in your organisation. 

 

 

A teacher is better than two books.
German Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Why your customers MUST promote your brand ?

 

Why your customers are NOT promoting your brand ? 

 

When customers are not promoting , their own loyalty is also at risk.

 

It is a very serious issue. 

 

- may be they are not satisfied (not meeting basic need) 

- may be they are not happy (not exceeding expectations) 

- may be they think there is something better available 

- may be experience was not engaging 

- may be experience was not memorable 

- may be it was not emotionally touching 

- may be they considered price was more than the value it delivered

- may be you promised more than what you delivered 

 

Reasons could be any and many. The company cannot afford to ignore these reasons. It is not that it saves your marketing cost but it is for the [+very purpose to know whether your enterprise is doing the right things in a right way. +]

 

Before you get financial results at the end of the year , knowing what your customers are doing for you in the market is an indicator of financial results. 

 

Like political parties would like to know mood of the nation before election & take last minute corrective measures, entrepreneurs also must know & act on mood of the customers. When the mood is like the points stated above challenge for entrepreneurs is bigger. 

 

Make it a mission that every customer MUST recommend your offerings by becoming a brand advocate.  There are few companies that enjoys this kind of reputation. 

 

 

 

He who does not know one thing knows another.

[
Kenyan Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [][] Extreme Customer Orientation !!

 

Yes, Norwegian Insurance Company Gjensidige decided to become [+Extreme Customer Orientation +]company. 

 

The point is not HOW and WHY. The point is degree of customer focus that companies have started to become to differentiate and create a superior customer experience. 

 

Customer Experience (CE) as sustainable competitive advantage is now accepted by many companies. Leaders will always take a lead and grab first mover advantage. Followers will have no choice later and will be forced to focus on CE but that will be at the cost of lots of brand damage & first mover advantage. 

 

By two and half years into the process Gjensidige had seen a dramatic rise in their position on Norwegian National Customer Satisfaction Barometer & won two of the biggest customer satisfaction awards in their industry. They have consistently beaten market expectations with their financial results & can prove that they provide their services more efficiently than their peers in Europe & US.   

 

Even CE is a new Marketing strategy. Without first focusing on customer experience or extreme customer focus, thinking & deciding about marketing campaign is a shallow strategy. 

 

- Do you map your customer journey ? 

- Do you conduct a customer experience audit ? 

- Do you measure your customer experience ? 

- Have you defined customer experience statement? 

- Do you have a deliberate customer experience design for all touch points? 

- Do you have someone in charge of end to end customer experience ? 

- Do you discuss customer issues in senior management meeting ? 

 

Extremely customer sensitive companies have started focusing on extreme customer orientation, have you stared focusing on the basic customer experience ?  

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *We Sell , What We Communicate*

Isn’t it surprising that insurance companies are not FOCUSING on Health Care for People through their mass communication drives? Why do they just focus only on selling insurance policies in their promotional campaigns???

 

Advantage: (Manifold)

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Wide spread health care campaigns will do over all health improvement across the population

#
p<>{color:#000;}. This will be social awareness along with brand building. People will feel that company is genuinely interested in their health management and disease prevention. ( & Not only interested in selling their products)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Better health will make lesser health claims

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Better health means longevity so longer duration of fund management for life insurance companies.

 

Still we do not see any insurance company talking about preventive health management as their mission or in the communication they use. They only talk about their plans and policies using costliest possible BRAND ambassadors.

 

This is what happens when companies are internally focused and how they ACT when they have COMMODITY selling mindset. NOW this applies to every enterprise, insurance or otherwise.

 

 

A beautiful thing is never perfect.
Egyptian Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Feedback to Feed Forward*

 

Feedback is the most POWERFUL tool to know how enterprise is performing. Feedback from customers, vendors and employees. 

 

Free and Fair feedback from these stake holders will shape the management policies to navigate into the future. 

 

TOP Management do lot of things assuming that their stakeholders will be happy about it or with whatever I /We do is always correct. Who better than us can know it better ???

 

It’s always a myth. Feedback from Family members transformed Valia the Don to Valmiki the GREAT SAGE. He was notorious as long as he was living on his OWN thinking. Without the feedback, he assumed he was doing the right thing for his family.

 

Does your company have a feedback system which regularly maps the performance against the expectations of three stake holders stated above??? (Shareholders will be anyway happy if these other three stakeholders are happy). When the last time your company took feedback and it also was reached to the TOP management & they too also acted on it!!

 

Point to pinder !!

 

 

The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.
Japanese Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Sell on YOUR Strength, not compete on OTHERS’*

 

Compete with your OWN strength. It means, it does not necessarily have to have what our competitors are competing on. Our strengths are different & so is competing style and ability. A beautiful female dancer can attract those men who love dance so she does not necessarily have to look beautiful. Rest all will have to look beautiful to get attracted. Those girls who can cook tasty & variety of food can attract food loving men. Rest all will have to look beautiful to get attracted. 

 

Point is to find your own strength and you will have your own market /market share. In order to capture your market, FOCUS on your own strength and find who are in sync/love with your strength. Rules of the game are not uniform for everyone. You can have your own rule and own way to market your strength (Product, services or time).

 

Customers are not UNIFORM however marketers have treated them like that. Sell your strength and do not try to compete on competitors’ strength. Set your own agenda and don’t dance to the tune of competitors agenda.

 

 

Character is always corrupted by prosperity.

 

Icelandic Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Pain around Us – Why HAPPINESS is Critical for Entrepreneurs to Focus on??

Pain Around Us

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Daily Commuting to Work

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Prolonged Financial and Career Goals

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Family Unrest (Spouse /Children and Parents)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Health Issues

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Heavy Debt Burden

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Children’s Education/ Career and Marriage

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Heavy Traffic

#
p<>{color:#000;}. For Entrepreneurs – Customer Acquisition and Cash flow Gaps

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Inability to Fulfill Other Long Term Dreams 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Unwanted and Boring Job Profile

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Long Queues in the Malls

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Huge Credit Card Dues & Interest Charges

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Call Centre Culture , where one holds the phone & listen more than talk/convey

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Not getting vehicles to commute easily while returning home in the evening

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You may add yours also

 

Can you make Out : Why HAPPINESS is a major driver to offer talk of the town product & services ??  Why Zappos.com, a US based shoe retailer is focused on Customer HAPPINESS? Is there any connection between Shoe Selling and Making Customer HAPPY?? 

How by providing your offerings which can add and bring HAPPINESS in the life of your customer, can not only make them HAPPY in his otherwise painful life but will also make them talk about their experience with your BRAND.

At the cost of short-term share holders’ interest, invest in long-term CUSTOMER HAPPINESS.  (Both will gain in the long run)

Apply yourself HARD and check HOW and WHERE elements of HAPPINESS which can be added in your customer journey maps i.e. customer touch points with your BRAND.

 

It can be a huge competitive advantage in an otherwise painful world.

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Six things Entrepreneurs can learn from Dev Anand*

 

Yes, legendary and complete film professional Dev Anand can be a great source of inspiration and learning for every entrepreneurs. 

In an industry known for its misbehaviour and arrogant attitude, he was a complete professional and always very well behaved. 

a) Believe in yourself.

Have your own way of doing things. Don’ t copy or follow any one. His style was his uniqueness and his own brand. Style says he is YOU. Unless you have your own style you are nonexistent. 

b) Behave with conviction

When people told him not to make cult movie like HRHK, he was himself convinced and movie created a history. 

c) Passion for what you do

Passion to live & breath MOVIEs for 65 years.

d) Unrelenting Pursuit of Passion

Till the age of 88 he was active in making movies. In an interview with Karan Thapar he quoted “ No one can be master of any subject in the world. The moment one thinks he is a master, he stops learning and that’s the beginning of one’s end. “

e) Of course commercial failures of his movies in the later age also teaches us ,  change with the time, delegate to others what others can do better than you : After Des Pardes , his all movies failed commercially but he continue to remain director and actor. Like Yashraj Films , he should have developed a brigade of directors and actors working for Navketan Films. 

& Finally 

f) Live life to its fullest, NOW, Today

Our time is flying faster than we think. When asked, by Anupam Kher in a interview: Why he was speaking fast ?, He replied, life is short and I don’t have time to speak slow.  

“ I am a fast executor,  once I decide to do things “ Dev Anand & we can see that from so many projects he has executed during his life time. 

Learning can come from anywhere & life of Dev Anand offers huge real life experiences and insights to learn from. 

 

 

 

A fault confessed is half redressed.
Zulu Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Six reasons why entrepreneurs find it difficult to behave ethically

Mostly no one likes to behave unethically , but though not justified, entrepreneurs are compelled to with following reasons.

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Huge corruption in Government and Govt. Departments makes them helpless to indulge to survive.

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Flourishing of Tax Evaders and No WILL of the Govts. or visible action to bring evaders to books.

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Huge Tax Rates, Multiple Taxes, Cost Increase, High Inflation and Competitive Pressures. It’s about Survival is at Stake.

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Lax & complex legal System. Tax Evaders & Corrupt go caught free for Years. Multiple laws and levies to cope with along with doing business.

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Huge expectation from shareholders, analysts and lenders.

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. 6th Reason – well every entrepreneur will have his own apart from above !!!

Most entrepreneurs start with clean slate and high morale but the above realities of life and culture around us makes one indifferent towards immoral and unethical behaviours. 

In the given scenario it is very difficult to act ethically and survive in the cut throat business atmosphere. Pity !!!!.

Everything is justified and fair in war, love and now business.

[*This is the reason Narayan Murthys and  Azim Premijis are at premium. *]

 

h5={color:#000;}.

To be willing is only half the task.
Armenian Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Two MUST priorities for every Business Owners !!!! Yes, MUST

 

Most of us either want to buy our own home or have taken debt to buy our own home. Most of us do not want to do the job but with no other option and hence compelled to do job to survive. It’s not our natural choice. Yes, this is not any survey result but learning from KBC participants. I think it’s a representative class of the masses across the globe. 

 

Manoj Kumar produced Roti Kapda aur Makaan in the early 70s. However Makaan has still remained a major problem for most of the population on the earth. How Pity!!!! People spend their lifetime earnings to buy one home and indulge in debt which they keep paying during their lifetime. 

 

I think this is directly related to another inner feeling of the masses who dislike their jobs. Shareholder-ism over people-ism is the major cause of this grave situation. People spend their lifetime in doing what they don’t like!!!! What a waste, not of time, but of lives. 

 

It is the responsibility of every entrepreneur/corporation to make sure that they do two things:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Make your employees love their jobs (Doing whatever it takes).

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Working for Financial Freedom of employees before they think about shareholder expectations (We have hefty reserves and surplus in the company’s balance sheets but employees working for these are in debt and not happy).

 

All of us must work to increase the gross happiness of people working for us. All other CSR initiatives are meaningless without achieving this first milestone.

 

We have entrepreneur Tony of zappos.com (Entrepreneur and author of the book “Delivering Happiness”) or Ricardo Semler (Entrepreneur and author of the book – “Seven Days Weekend”) who thinks on this line.

 

Ricardo Semler, “Concentrate on building an organization that accomplishes the most difficult of all challenges:  to make people look forward to coming to work in the morning.

 

Yes making work/jobs interesting is the MOST important and difficult responsibility of the business. 

 

Second takeaway – Making jobs interesting & employees reap benefits of success and shareholder should not earn at the cost of employees’ happiness.

 

 

 

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough, but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Why HOW is MOST Interesting ??

 

How is Design , How is Style , How is Courage, How Motivates, How is Execution of Strategy, How is Description, How Instigates Thought Process,  How Excites. [*How is all about ACTION. *]

 

I saw movies like Sholay , Lagaan , Hum Aapke Hai kaun and Three Idiots many a times and knew who will win the cricket or what will happen to Gabbar Singh and fate of Nisa and acts of idiots , for that matter, we see the match highlights even after we have seen the entire match. We do this repetition just to watch “HOW” part again and again.

 

Someone has won Rs. 5 crs in KBC, we all knew that before the telecast, but still we all see the show to know “HOW” of the victory. The result is less important than “HOW” of achieving the result. 

 

The venture capitalist may be pretty excited about “WHAT” of your business plan but it’s “HOW” that decides for or against investing. 

 

In school days, many a times we know the answer to our Maths sum, but we got marks only for doing HOW of the answer i.e. steps.

 

HOW your cell phone or laptop or tab works is more important than anything else. Its beautiful , its cheap, but HOW i.e. functionality will be the key decision factor for buying.

 

Discovery and other science channels have many programme on HOW it works or Built.

Mahatma Gandhi or President Obama or Sachin Tendulkar or Amitabh Bachchan or Dhirubhai Ambani, we all know they are/were leaders in their respective domains. We read about them & what fascinates all of us is HOW they become what they have become.

 

Many self help books are all about HOW.

 

I believe Customer Experience as Brand in Action. Rest all (brand building exercises) is Gyan , HOW is Gyan in Action.

 

Point for all us to consider is to focus on HOW of what we do. Beautify / Focus/ Committed on your HOWs and it doesn’t matter what you do. It will be noticed and acknowledged. In his book “ 7 Habits of Highly effective people” , Stephen Covey says “Sharpen your Saw”, Yes sharpen your HOW.

 

 

The heart that loves is always young.
Greek Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Six Mistakes Sales Person MUST avoid!!!!!

 

Sales Person invariably doesn’t know HOW to respond to REFUSAL or NO from prospective customer. { based on my experience with one of the trained senior professional /entrepreneur }.  

 

Six things one should never do: { business can happen later if you avoid these glaring mistakes } 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Do not challenge person’s values and principles just to sell your idea or products (not your territory so respect & salute)

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Do not try to convince by proving others and everyone else wrong ( Whole world is wrong and I am right attitude mis-fires ) 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Do not doubt or argue what the prospective customer is saying based on her/his past experience.  (Loses your trust which is critical to win the deal )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Learn to read the mood and undertone of the communication & do not keep only focus on sales and deal closure. ( Failing on this makes you disconnected.)

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. TRUST must remain during entire communication. If you can’t make her customer, make her your friend ( Friends can become customers but if the trust is broken , prospective customer goes forever).

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Don’t ever lose your kindness, politeness, interest during conversation (Future sales opportunities will be lost with these changes of gestures ).  

These situations may arise during the conversation, you may feel that deal is gone and may not happen, but MUST not commit these unpardonable mistakes { Do not focus on not sale any cost but buy aim for TRUST any cost }. 

 

He that lives on hope will die fasting.

 

[
North American Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * People who come to you for PRICE will leave you for PRICE

 

Yes. Obvious & TRUE.

 

Price is the ONLY differentiation your company offers to the customers?  Think twice about your business strategy. Today, cut throat competition forces many businesses to merely compete on price. However, this strategy may get you immediate business but will not take you a long way in business. 

 

Thin margin to get business is riskier than more margins, but less business. Mere volume without adequate profitability is company on steroids. It’s like High on workout and low in proteins. As with high workout muscles break down in our body & without adequate protein, it can’t be built again , similarly with high turnover without adequate margin , business breaks down. Yes, unsustainable activities without capability to invest in future sustainable activities like research and innovation or talent attraction and retention.

 

Secondly, most critical are the differential factors that will decide the business volume other than price. What value you can design within your product. We buy branded products by paying a premium. What differentiation does a brand offers ?? Comfort and confidence that the product is of reasonable quality, customer service would be good if not outstanding, the complaint would be handled professionally and with care, reasonable exchange policy and service centres.

Therefore, when Price has become a major deciding factor, offering a WOW !!!! factor in your product and service design is very critical to become & remain competitive. Compete on WOW factors; there are not many players there.  Brands like Apple , Virgin , Starbucks, Amazon   { In India unfortunately service excellence and WOW! factors are missing from product and service design } are rare , hence sustainable. The customer will stay with these brands irrespective (Which obviously not off market but at better premium) of the price of their offerings. 

Next time when you get the deal merely on the basis of price, it’s an ALARM, think inward and check your business strategy and product and service design.  It requires IMMEDIATE attention { & action too} .

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Nine (old) + Three (new) Early Warning Signs of a Troubled Company

Great insight stated in 1 to 9 below which was true a decade ago but are still true.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The One Man Show – Does the company allow key people to grow in their jobs and make key decisions?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. No Succession – Is someone being groomed to replace the president?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. High Profile / Low Tech – How does company’s hardware compare with that of its chief competition?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Giant Customer Trap – Would the company survive if it has lost the biggest customer?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Operating on Old News – Does the company have an accurate financial snapshot of its operations on a monthly or fortnightly basis?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Touring Without Road Map – Does the company have a written business plan & it’s still valid?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Banking Blues – Does the company communicate with lenders regularly about shortage of funds, temporary overdrafts and low balance cheque clearance?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Hazardous Growth -Expanding too quickly on a non sustainable basis?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Change Factor – Whether company and how much company has changed during last 12 months?

This was the fact about a decade or two back. However, MOST of these may still hold true, rapid change in economies, technology and entrepreneurial landscape,  we can safely add a few more.   

 

x) No focus on CUSTOMER. – Business Plan/Strategy defines everything else but Customer Experience , the company proposes to offer.

y) Not engaging customers on social media (SM) platforms by providing great insights on the products and services being offered.  Not using SM to address customer concerns and complaints {quickly}.

z) Inability to attract Great Talent. Yes, war is of TALENT. People run the business. Rest all can be improved upon if people are right. This also applies to having diversified & somewhat weird board members.

As we advance in TIME we need lesser reasons to fail {even survive and succeed }. Test Check TODAY. It’s all early warning signs. Be alarmed NOW or be surprised and shocked, later. 

 

 

He who always thinks it is too soon is sure to come too late.
German Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Great Content is Greater Business Enabler*

Great Content is Greater Business Enabler. 

 

Yes, people are interested in great insights. They are interested in solving their problems. They deal with companies { be it product or service } to solve their life problems or get rid of their life problems. 

 

All of us who are on the other side of offering great products or services MUST know this. MUST know Why we are offering WHAT we are offering. All of US are solution provider; transaction of sale is JUST a means to the solution. The ultimate objective of solving the CONSUMERs problem MUST fructify with our offerings.

 

If require we MUST go out of the way { its never out of the way if you have a solution mindset } & enable solution by supporting CONSUMERS with extra efforts over and above selling and offering our MENU of  services. 

 

- If you are an e commerce site – Provide Content on Why you buy what you buy, various product variations and its implications , suitability of products for the buyers, what to take care when buying from a retail store, how to use the products, how to maintain etc.

- If you are a Real Estate company - Provide content on home buying precaution, how to manage the asset, how to form various interest groups in the society, how to celebrate public festivals ,  how to maintain the flat and society etc.

 

- If you are in the restaurant business – Provide content on what to eat, when to eat , how to eat, even how to cook at home, culinary science etc.

 

- If you are a Dentist – Provide content for maintenance of healthy gum/teeth,  what to eat and what not, how to avoid dental decay, what to know before any treatment etc.

 

- If you are in Hospital Business – Provide content on preventive health, fitness regime, diet and food, precaution before any treatments in {any} hospitals, regular maintenance and health check up tips, how to buy medical insurance etc etc.

 

- If you are a Bank – Money Management, investment avenues and risk associated, wealth planning, will and various loans and its nuances, how to get better ratings, how to avoid CIBIL reporting and remove names from CIBIL, financial discipline, your family and your finances etc etc. 

 

- If you are a Tour & Travel Company -  Where to go, how to go, what to take care, when to go, what to carry, real life experiences of other travellers, How to enjoy the journey, how to plan for a journey of your own, where to stay, what to see en-route etc etc.

 

Likewise, any and every company can create powerful, supportive and holistic content for the customers. Helping them 100% should be the motive. It may not mean less focus on marketing efforts and but definitely mean more focus on reaching out to help genuinely solving customer problems.   

 

Going beyond the MENU into the shoes of COSTUMERs. It’s easy if you sit on the other-side of the table & think and plan, but it’s difficult if you are obsessed with your products and offering.  

 

 

 

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.
New Zealander Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Two reasons to transform your Saloon into Beauty Parlour

When my wife returned from beauty parlour having her hair cut, I just asked { out of curiosity } – what do they charge. I was !!!!!! on hearing the price. They charge 6 times than what our poor fellow barber charges. 

 

[+We men go to Saloons and women go to BEAUTY Parlours. +]

 

This is what customer experience is and positioning is all about.

 

Our Barber, Hazaam or what we call it is low profile, hardly professional, basic services, trained in his village kind of person. They can maximum talk about Hindi movies and their village politics. They do not position them as Handsome Parlour!!. They THINK that they just provide basic hair cut services. {They do provide all other ancillary services as provided in Beauty Parlours but sell only as some of the menu items}.

 

Beauty parlours are run by better trained and professional people; they convince you that they play an important role in HOW you look.  They have different ambiance, products and knowledge. They discuss about beauty, your look and also advise you.

 

An outcome you produce for the customer decides what you do.

 

Are you a tax practitioner or Compliance and Governance consultant? 

 

Are you a Gym Instructor or Fitness Guru?

 

Are you a Film Company or Entertainment Company?

 

Do you run a water park or Theme Leisure Park?

 

Are you an Internal Auditor or Risk Officer?

 

Are you an Insurance Agent or Risk Management Advisor?

 

Are you an employee or LINCHPIN  { Proactive, thinking and assertive hence indispensable } ?

 

Are you a Cook or Chef?

 

Are you a Real Estate Company or in Delivering Happiness Business?

 

Are you a Prime Minister or CEO of the country?

 

Outcome WE produce for the customer not only decides what WE do, but hugely influences the price (reason 1) we charge. { It will change our thought process also (reason 2)}

 

 

 

When the sun rises, it rises for everyone.
Cuban Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Five things MBAs MUST learn from Entrepreneurs*

 

WOW!!! Met an entrepreneur, in Pune who was in his early 40s. He has grown his business from 180 sq foot shop in 2006 to 15000 sq feet corporate houses in 5 years – Focus – Just One Business. No formal graduation in college ( Dhirubhai Ambani , Bill Gates & the Likes ) , but his policies which can teach today’s MBAs many things. We also had a girl in our group pursuing her MBA. She was just astonished by the way this man was driving his decisions and business. We also had some interaction and discussions, but to cut a long story short, I could list down some of the learning from our meeting with him. 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Battle for Profit is won with great relationship ( suppliers, employees & customers ) and not by logical /rational analysis of left brain thinking alone.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. People (Employees) will work for you and Die for you, depends on your HR Practices & How Top Man walks his talk.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Taking Risk is indispensable, Managing it Successfully is the Art (differentiators). ( Of-course not by all means, End should not justify Means) 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Technology is just Business Support , people are the business drivers.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Gut Feel & Luck MUST be given due consideration in every decision. 

 

I would like to add two more to the list : vision & daring.  

 

 

No man can paddle two canoes at the same time.
Bantu Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Fourteen ways to become Interesting Company*

We all are BORING unless we do INTERESTING things[+. +]

 

Author of the book ‘The Referral Engine’ writes that BORING companies are never talked about or referred by any one.  

 

This is interesting. Not only people, but companies are also BORING. This made me think about “Which is a Boring Company??”

 

- Customers talk about the way you do business or about your product /services?

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Do they feel WOW!!! while dealing with the company?

 

- Media – takes notice and covers write up or interviews?

 

- People - eager to join your company (getting good number of resumes) and employee turnover ratio is the lowest in the industry? Employees are given opportunities to grow personally? Happiness surveys are part of the appraisal process  

 

- Suppliers - can’t afford to lose your contract. Ready to offer more credit, get paid on due dates. 

 

- Processes – customer friendly, quicker and easier to deal with

 

- Project – undertake interesting, large, relevant projects and execute with passion and purpose

- Experiment – invests in our internal people for their startup ideas? Ideas fly from bottom to the top 

- Innovation – way of life , failure is respected internally, customer focus is the ONLY focus

 

- Unexpected - surprise element is a part of your offering 

- Social Media – customer often write great reviews about your offerings 

 

- Celebrate – all festivals , birthdays of employees (even customers) and  small successes

 

- Social – activities are encouraged internally  (apart from CSR , P(Personal) SR is encouraged)

 

- Case Studies - business school studies your company for their classroom case studies

 

- Referral Business – most new business are coming this route 

 

- Board of Director – have some interesting/weird member not connected with the business and governance 

 

[*(I also invite more real life case studies which make company interesting) *]

 

If no such things (ideally everything must be happening) are happening , of-course, then the company can be classified as (classic) BORING

 

Boring V/s Interesting !!!Agenda should be to make company interesting and exciting. The rest will be taken care automatically. 

 

 

If you go to a donkey’s house, don’t talk about ears.
Jamaican Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Why Partnership Fails!!!

#
p<>{color:#000;}. No clear (roles, responsibility & business) definitions.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Not knowing the clear strength of each partner.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. No idea of how a team can produce results which individuals cannot.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Different Goals & Values

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. No large heart & attitude to let go.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Attitude, ego and I don’t need anyone / I alone can do it mindset.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Mixing personal problems with business issues.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Joining hands (without due diligence or for limited, selfish motives).

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Unable to accept one as a leader.

 

Ambanis, Bajajs, Goenkas, Birlas, Mafatlals, Salim Javed, Thackreys are examples of many such broken partnerships in business, politics and families. 

 

Mostly it destroys value, It’s sad , its worthless & repenting in the long-run. Synergy is in joining hands & reverse of synergy is in the separation. 

 

 

Speak the truth, but leave immediately after.
Slovenian Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Does your enterprise own these new skills?

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. You have used the services of designers/ architects to design your office premises.

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. You have used the services of interior designer to design your office interiors

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. You have used the services of graphic designer to design your soft images , logo , stationery 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. You have used services of industrial designer to design your manufacturing set up

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. You have used services of product designer to design your products .

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. You have used services of fashion designer to design your employee’s uniform.

 

Designers are only used by companies & individuals for self use and benefits. However, in an era of  customer experience where every company is in the service business , unless companies use designing skills of following two classes of designers, competitive advantage won’t be achieved by use of all other designers. They are ;

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Customer Experience Designers

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Service Designers 

 

To an extent their role overlaps , but there is a clear cut need for their skills to design what is called excellent , delightful & memorable customer experience. 

 

Service Designers (SD) actually design the services that will be delivered. It’s about intangible ways in which customer feels WOW !! while availing the services. 

 

Customer Experience (CX) Design is a large canvas which includes HOW the experience will be created , unfolded at all touch points.  

 

Forrester Research Consultant , Kerry Bodine has written about the interplay of CS & SD in her recent article  HOW DOES SERVICE DESIGN RELATE TO CX AND UX?

 

CX covers the entire customer journey while SD covers each of the touch points separately & how actual services are delivered. Unless proactively designed, services & customer experience will be listless , plain, undifferentiated and  many a times frustrating for customers. 

 

It’s time businesses MUST embrace CX & SD skills – In house or outsourced. 

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] What Farmers Can Teach Our Entrepreneurs ?

 

REAP WHAT YOU SOW, is the universal truth. 

 

If your organisation has systems, processes, targets, thinking and culture of MAKING MONEY at ANY cost. Then your people out there in the market will mis sell, over commit, indulge in unethical business practices, do all kinds of accounting jugglery , evade tax , do environmental harm, break laws. In the process, your organisation will become anti social organisation even though it is doing ‘so called’ legal business.  You will attract and recruit people with similar culture and mind-set. 

 

Fruits on the tree are the result of its seed, root, water, fertilizers & environmental support it consumes.

 

If you want Apple you need to sow seeds of Apple. This is the first and foremost requirement. Business culture which percolates from the top is the seed for the business. You can’t expect your people to be honest when top management is indulging in all sorts of wrong doings. 

 

After the first step of sowing the seed, you need to nurture the tree with regular water, fertilizer and allow sun rays in right quality to get the best fruit. Even organic and inorganic fertilizers can impact the outcome. Likewise, business processes, training and soft skills of the people, IT systems, leadership everything matters and impacts the customer experience your company is offering to your customers. 

 

When you need to offer Kashmiri Apple reaped with organic fertilizers, you need that kind of environment and nurturing.  You will not get the same Apple if you grow it in a different environment and offer inorganic fertilizers like cosmetic culture. 

 

Therefore, if you wish to attain SUSTAINABLE competitive advantage of offering a delightful customer experience (CX), it should start with seed i.e. culture.  Only system, processes and training won’t last much. Look at all the companies known in CX space and you will realise how their culture is and why they are leading in CX space.  Be it Virgin, Starbucks, Zappos or Apple. 

 

You can create delight factor for some time or for some products/services or for some processes, but it won’t be sustainable if it is not through culture change. The seed has to be right for delightful products or else it won’t be delightful.

 

Problem is, top management expects best of the fruits i.e.- business performance- but they turn a blind eye on what it takes.  

 

There was an international report which reports, “ Indian firms can lose 18 to 20% of the business due to lack of clear customer experience strategy. ”

 

The above report indicates the possibility of loss of business internationally by Indian firms. However, within India due to poor or not so delightful customer experience how much business local firms can lose to competing firms is yet not known. 

 

The bottom line is clear , if you want a better bottom line , focus on CX and if you want the better CX focus on seed i.e. culture at the top. 

 

 

 

Better to ask twice than to lose your way once.

Danish proverb

 

 

 

 

 

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Do you employ Chief Imagination Officer?

 

“ We know for sure and not what we don’t know , will put us in trouble. We get fooled by what we know for sure about our business, customers and our self.  Seek out opportunities to observe and update your world view. “   Book Creative Confidence.

 

The World is changing but, we have a fixed view of the world around us.  Customer preferences are changing, they seek better and better experiences, entrepreneurs and their ways of doing business is changing but we know what we know. We hardly change. Mind patterns (Also known as Mind-set) are extremely difficult to change. 

 

We have MBAs and some such fancy degrees. We have read books written by stalwarts in their field. We have grown business multiple times. Success immortalizes way of doing things. It kills imagination and creativity. It freezes our thinking. 

 

Imagination , creativity, observation , challenging status quo , challenging present way of doing things , these are the qualities that are in demand and not mere degrees obtained from class room studies. Education qualification should de-freeze our way of thinking and not fix your way of thinking and kill imagination power.   

 

Actions of seven billion people daily are making this world very dynamic. Imagination, Creativity & Action are the winning combination and not just static knowledge. We as individuals and we as organisations are work in progress. Static knowledge combined with imagination and creativity will take us forward and make us progress. 

 

Who is the CIO in your organisation? I stand not for what INFORMATION we used to know, but for IMAGINATION. To have CIO in organisations is the first step to become more imaginative.

 

 

He who does not wish for little things does not deserve big things.

 

Belgian Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Will you be in business five years hence ?? !!

 

Extreme Turmoil and No Optimism. Country after Country is going Bankrupt. Large Corporations are finding it difficult to sustain the growth rate & momentum, smaller companies are finding difficult to survive and Mid Caps are finding difficult to grow. Commodity & Oil prices are rising and volatile, currency rate dependency is a killer, right manpower very hard to get and retain. Governance and Regulatory Laws are tightening – in short, no entrepreneurs are happy about the state of affairs they are in and managing. Yet, Terrorism, Political Policy Paralysis, Corruption are the facts of the life we have to live with.

On top of these external factors , companies usually die internally first due to various self-destructing habits.  Veteran of Marketing Jagdish Sheth has written about Self Destructing habits of Good Companies. He states that companies die due to various internal inaction and ego.

Let’s run through these habits to understand what applies to your enterprise.  Objective read will help. ( I & You referred here is for business owners and CEOs)

#
##
p<>{color:#000;}. Denial – Lead to Denial  – of emerging technologies, changing consumer tastes, new global environment -  Symptoms  - I am different Syndrome, blame other for the situation

#
p<>{color:#000;}. 2) Arrogance – Lead to Arrogance - Exceptional success of the past, you are smarter than the other guys -[+ Symptoms+] –   You stop Listening, You Flaunt it, You are high handed, you want to be surrounded by people who approve your idea

##
p<>{color:#000;}. Complacency -[+ Lead to Complacency+] - Pass success if through regulated monopoly or by distribution monopoly or chosen by Govt. , Govt. owns and control business -   Symptoms – no hurry to make decisions, bureaucratic processes, cross subsidies by function, product ,market and customers

##
p<>{color:#000;}. Competency Dependency -[+ Lead to Competency+] Dependency – R & D Dependence, Design Dependence, Sales & Service Dependence  -  Symptoms -transforming exercise futile, the thrill is gone, stakeholders are jumping ship

##
p<>{color:#000;}. Competitive Myopia – Lead to  Competitive Myopia –  Natural Evolution of the Industry, Clustering Phenomenon  -  Symptoms – you allow a small niche player to coexist, underestimate new entrants, helpless against new technology

##
p<>{color:#000;}. Territorial Impulse -Lead to Territorial Impulse  - Corporate Ivory Tower, founder’s culture subsumed in large corporate culture  -   Symptoms – many headstrong lieutenants, decision making is a long and difficult process,  no one is happy, no internal communication mechanism

##
p<>{color:#000;}. Volume Obsession - Lead to Volume Obsession – High Margin Pioneer, Fast Growth Phenomenon, Paradox of Scale -  Symptoms - free and adhoc spending patterns, culture of X subsidies, functional level cost centres

Well, some points are difficult to understand unless read with relevant examples. However, it’s time to check the status of your business and analyze the scenario with some experts to gauge whether you will be in business five years down the line !! These pointers are analysed by the author while analysing various case studies of companies at various scales.

Risk Management , Scenario Analysis & present Health Check of the Enterprise are very critical functions and activities of the TOP management.  Just do it. Who knows Kal Ho Na Ho!!!

Life is a bridge. Crossover it, but build no house on it.

 

Indian proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *After Sales to Future Sales*

Yes, it’s what happens. AFTER SALES decides HOW/WHAT sales will happen in future. Having closed the sales deal is the easy part but, what happens when the customer consumes our product or services, how we support, how we communicate, how we take care to see whether there is any problem or support needed with our offerings, how we hold hands , how our offering functions , how it helped in solving the customer’s problem or offering them required pleasure, how we stand by them for present sales or future need , how we keep contact with the customer. 

 

Everything POST SALEs are critical for long term survival of the company.  )As customer loyalty is dependent on that.)

 

Unfortunately, most companies are focusing on pre-sales and sales efforts only. That’s it. Short-term target-ism is so firmly in command that even CEOs are not beyond this pressure. Who will think LONG TERM??

 

Like feedback is the feeder to feed forward, after sales are efforts which make every successive sale easier , for existing customers and for new and referred customers.

 

Who in your organisation is in charge of beyond QUARTER targets??

 

 

Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.

 

Japanese proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * What are your Fixed Assets? Plant & Machinery or CUSTOMERS & Brands !!!!

In the Economy where everything like,  business model, competitive landscape , new technology, is changing so fast I wonder what is the real asset of the company ???

 

Amazon.com & Flipkart.com in India started with Books – Today they are selling almost everything under the sun. ( because they have customers, product range can be anything!!! )

 

Sony was once upon a time highest Camera selling company – Nokia (initially) /Samsung has taken over Sony by selling Camera through Mobile Phones. (technology & convergence of everything into Mobile Phones)

 

From nowhere Snapdeal.com initially started selling thousands of services at discount deals per day. Suddenly perishable service providers had a long queue of customers. (Large customer base, product can be anything & everything what customer demands or buys)

 

Question: What are the real assets??? Yes, it’s not Plant & Machinery or Website or anything else. It’s your  CUSTOMER base that’s it. Whatever is spent on customer acquisition, customer service, customer experience and customer moments of truth are the ONLY assets of the company. Brand is the only Asset. [* *]

 

Everything else is subject to TRANSFORMATION quickly before one imagines or realises. 

 

Business Balance Sheets must incorporate or provide for changes in the business ecosystem we live in. Or else Balance Sheet will lose its relevance in evaluation of company performance.   With IFRS and much more coming up in accounting space, are accountants and auditors ready to recognise the new reality of the new world we live in ??

 

Pause for a moment & think !!!! Restructure your Balance Sheet TODAY.

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Who is the next leader competent to replace you ?

 

Leadership is EXTREMELY important. The World is facing huge a leadership crisis at all levels. Corrupt leader is one problem but incompetent leadership is what I am discussing today.  

 

There are discussions all around about the difference between leaders and managers. That difference is startling and critical when managers are given leadership roles. 

 

Managers are Cook and leaders are the Chef. 

 

Leaders don’t require instructions while managers do. Leaders don’t need a map to follow but they create their own road map, while managers can’t do anything without a map. Leadership is scarce and very precious as leaders define & execute the destiny of the organisation or country they lead.  

 

There may be five to seven founders of Infosys but among them who can lead? Hardly one or two. Being a part of the team is very different than being a leader of the team. It requires vision, fairness, anticipation, inspiring goal setting , executing , reasonableness , patience , firmness , perseverance , fearlessness & pressure handling capability and many such qualities. 

 

Richard Branson inspires dream and innovation, Narayan Murthy inspires fairness and consistency,  Vinod Rai , Ex CAG inspires fearlessness , Gandhiji inspires truthfulness , patience and walk the talk qualities , Indira Gandhi & Sardar Patel inspires firmness , Ex BCCI Chief Srinivasan inspires pressure handling capability & Narendra Modi inspires vision, firmness, execution, fearlessness & pressure handling capability. They all are competent in their roles and predominantly display qualities and leadership styles they have used in their role as leader. 

 

Look at the leaders around you and find out what he or she inspires ? If the reply is NOTHING then these are leaders occupying leadership role without being competent for the role. 

 

To share my experience I suggest all leaders wherever they are leading to just find their replacement from the people they are leading.  I am sure you will not find many faces who can aptly replace you considering the role you are playing as a leader.  [*Its a rare commodity & therefore valuable like brands. *]

 

For top leaders of every organisation and institution , one of the very critical roles is to identify  , train and make the next generation of leaders ready to take charge. Howsoever robust the organisation is today with its brands , technology and customer loyalty , incompetent leader can spoil the game and every sustainable competitive advantage an organisation enjoys.    

 

Who is the next leader competent to replace you ? If you don’t have the answer or clue – leave everything else and find the answer.

 

 

 

A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.

 

Netherlands

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *SIGH of an Entrepreneur*

 

You started your enterprise to serve your customers with your skill and passion. However, in the process, you need to manage people, policies, processes , acquisition, various regulatory compliance and many other things apart from serving customers. Managing the management of the business is a Herculean task. It is this task which is the major culprit in diluting and shifting focus from customer experience to business management.

 

I met one senior doctor managing her own clinic. With a deep sigh, she uttered “ I am tired. Managing patients are fine but it’s the other things about the practice that is too tiring. “ I think most entrepreneurs in their entrepreneurial journey must be going through this SIGH.

 

It is important for entrepreneur to remain deeply focused on customers and delegate all peripheral activities of “ Management “ to others. It is the customers and only serving customers is the objective of the business or else who are going to pay for the business to survive?  Customers money is adding to the networth. All other money are debt and at cost.

 

Before you lose sight of customers while managing MANAGEMENT part, it’s time to wake up and get a grip on what you always wanted to do -  SERVING the CUSTOMERS and in the process making them RAVING FANS of your business.

 

 

Experience is not always the kindest of teachers, but it is surely the best.

 

Spanish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] *Seven Reasons Why entrepreneurs suffer*

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Greed – is the greatest curse ( Will lead to over trading, tax evasion, corrupt practices, low governance standards to indicate a  few )

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Inaction  – when a decision is expected either way and its deferred for a long time assuming things will be okay on its own.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Too quick actions   -  Execution for the sake of it without proper HOMEWORK. Activity without productivity and focus.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Petty Mind Set – Micro Managing, less delegation, less trust of people, less or no freedom to think.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Not focusing on Talent attraction – Its people who manages the business. They make or break the business. Not only ability to attract but willingness to attract great talent is the KEY to top management decision and action.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Low on Governance – It’s about Mind set not abiding the laws. NR Narayan Murthy said, “ Corporations that genuinely recognises and embrace the principle of good Corporate Governance will drive enormous benefits – the availability and lower cost of capital , the ability to attract talent, clients and business partners, improved competitiveness and financial performance and truly sustainable long-term growth” 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Low on Learning - How we individuals remain relevant? By continuous learning and adapting. Same applies to enterprises. Most enterprises are low on new learning and lack of innovation culture.

 

Let every New Year bring the whole mindset of NEWNESS in every organisation. Shake up the way things are being managed. Hire a weird outsider and start experimenting. Results will {surely} surprise you pleasantly.

 

[*Good luck beats early rising. *][
**]

Irish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] CSR Drama V/s Unhappy Employees

 

There was a news of one more premature death (heart attack) at the age of sub 30. The deceased was working in forex dealing room. Probably one of the most stressful jobs. 

 

Forget the nature of job, all jobs have become stressful , there is huge demand on human being at work place. Why? because Finance professionals have taken over the performance matrics. Only and only finance matrix is considered to evaluate the success of the entity.   At the cost of mass stress and unhappiness , handful of shareholders are enjoying the fruits of success. Our models and matrix have become unsustainable. Forget environment and community, people working for the organisation are facing the biggest threat. 

 

This CSR drama must end and actual CSR must start from within. Within the organisation. Making their people & customer happy is the real CSR for every business. What is the fun of the CSR when there is tax evasion , poor quality , mis-sell & pathetic people policies? 

 

Zappos of the world and happiness officer like  Alexander Kjerulf of the world MUST spread like an avalanche in the business world. We must give happiness matrix equal if not more importance to financial matrics to measure success of the enterprise. 

 

We are talking about sustainable business practice, starting point is – happy employees & happy customers and not just happy shareholders.

 

 

 

Having two ears and one tongue, we should listen twice as much as we speak.

 

Turkish proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Failed Communication !!!

 

I received birthday wishes from the only club I am a member of. I was pleased to see the envelope wishing me birthday in advance. 

 

When I read the communication my happiness doubled when I saw they will treat me with 1/2 kg of cake on that day. 

 

But …

 

Yes, there is a big BUT  towards the end. They asked me to intimate them in advance how many people will join me to a party which they assume I will offer on my birthday at their restaurant where they will serve me a free cake… 

 

I realised that this was not a birthday wish but only a sales letter in disguise. 

 

Companies must refrain their urge to sell every-time they communicate with customers. Sometimes a sincere wish can do wonders and more sales than these kind of letters. 

 

This letter at the end didn’t serve any purpose. Birthday wish was to sell and sell will not happen when I see such selfish approach to wish me and lure me through 1/2 kg of cake.

 

Focus on genuine experience creation , genuine wish and then only genuine sales will happen automatically. Many a times focus on sales pitch is the reason for no sale. When  customers see ingenuity in communication and approach. 

 

Are you genuine when communicating with your customers? 

 

 

Better say nothing, than nothing to the purpose.

English Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Lessons for Corporate Directors from the Master Yash Chopra

Bollywood MASTER of ART Yash Chopra is no longer alive , but there are lessons to learn from him for all Directors , not for Bollywood but corporate directors.

The word DIRECTOR means  A person who is in charge of an activity, department, or organization.

 

Most of his movies WOWed !!! his audiences. That was the touch of this master DIRECTOR. His success was the end result of all his efforts in making a movie. From script to casting to music to dialogue to costume to set to message – everything was PLANNED , the well THOUGHT of , executed with PASSION and marketing was an end of the tail activity. Every ingredient was chosen and executed prior to marketing was initiated.  PRODUCT and not  MARKETING was his focus. Word of mouth worked for most of his super duper hit movies.

Bollywood directors know that route to become producers (shareholders) darling is through audiences (customers) and box office success.

Corporate directors work the other way. They invariably fail to act as DIRECTOR. They are functional directors and Managing Director is just managing DIRECTORS. Film Director is in charge of end to end execution of the movie. He is the owner of all the activities and complete execution and his SINGLE focus is his MOVIE and his AUDIENCE . Everything on screen is PLANNED and nothing is left to the chance.

Corporate MDs are busy with managing share holders, corporate governance issues, attending meetings, making presentations at conferences, cost cutting drives , heading various sub committees and many such endless issues baring AUDIENCE i.e. customer. The Audience is the responsibility of sales & marketing team. MDs do not plan or even know end to end customer experience. They don’t even measure customer experience , unfortunately they do not have critics to tell them areas to look into.

When Bollywood talks of Rs.100 cr club it tells about the success through audiences. Corporate figures have nothing to do with customers. The focus is on their own performance and pleasing shareholders /analysts. Poor customer not even find a place in their annual reports. There is no measurement  to tell the world how they treated their customers. However, there are N number of financial ratios and analysis.

How many directors are making movies whose success are dependent on movie analysts/critics ? They are not working to please producers, but they work to please the audience ,  pleasing producers is the by-product. However in corporate world FOCUS is to please producer i.e. shareholders.

When Pine & Gilmore said, “Every Business is a stage and work is a theatre”, they cautioned corporate directors about the shape of the things to come.  If companies do not start treating their business as a stage and theatre –  plan end to end experience and focus on the audience , the days are not far that mere shareholder focus will drive the company out of the business.

It is the CUSTOMER/ AUDIENCE who pays for the salary of the directors and not keeping them at the centre is a sure way to lose competitive advantage.  Customer Experience is the Competitive Advantage and NOT shareholders’ ROI. By-product has taken the centre stage and “MUST FOCUS” area has become by-product.

Mr. Yash Chopra’s movies have proved the same again and again.  Corporate DIRECTORs must learn where to FOCUS for success from this master DIRECTOR.  Who is the Yash Chopra of Corporate DIRECTORs’ world ?

A country can be judged by the quality of its proverbs.

 

 

German Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Incomplete Business Plans & Executions

 

Yes, How many business plans are discussing about the kind of experience they wish to create for their customers ?  

 

Business plans contain information on a whole world of product differentiation and sales strategy ,  financial ratios and revenue models , market segmentation and team but I have not seen any business plan explaining in detail about the customer experience and the kind of culture the team wants to build. 

 

I read a comment in response to my earlier blog post , “ don’t spoil customers by offering finest experience. “ But I would say some companies are spoiling their talent in order to retain them.  Once habituated to the vibrant culture and decent pay , employees find themselves misfit and uncomfortable with other not so great culture. This is the way to retain them from moving away. 

 

Likewise spoil your customers to retain them. Give them an unprecedented and unmatched experience and you get their lifetime loyalty. This requires thinking and creation of culture. This is a huge competitive advantage and MUST find its way into the business plans. 

Design and define customer experience in your business plan and that will set the ball rolling for the culture it will entail. 

 

 

A friend’s eye is a good mirror.

[
Irish Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [][] Nine ways to check whether you are in Obsolete Business

 

Look at erstwhile cinema houses and multi-screen multiplexes , look at Udipi South Indian hotels & fast food/pizza/burger chains, look at housing societies built 10/15 years back and present day housing societies,  look everywhere hospitals, retailing , banking – everything has changed and is changing. Everything is moving from being product & services to experience. 

 

It is the need of today. This shift happens with every new generation of consumers. With new generation of consumers comes a new generation of entrepreneurs. They break the old way of thinking and create blue ocean for themselves. 

 

Therefore the issue is to check whether you are in the business of selling obsolete products & services. Here obsolete doesn’t mean typewriter vs computer. Here it means old way of thinking about business. 

 

Yes , 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If CUSTOMER is not at the center of all your thinking and action , you are in obsolete business.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If EMPLOYEES are not considered critically important asset of the business , you are in obsolete business.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If CRM is the only thing that is happening as far as customer services is concerned ,  you are in obsolete business.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If OFFLINE is the only mode of your doing business ,  you are in obsolete business.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If SOCIAL MEDIA and CONTENT MARKETING is not a part of your marketing plan, you are in obsolete business.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If your enterprise is not measuring customer experience and employee happiness along with ROI and ROCE, you are in obsolete business.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If your enterprise is only thinking about single bottom-line and not about the social and environmental impact of your business, you are in obsolete business.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If your branding and advertising is not matching with actual customer experience, you are in obsolete business.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If your board is not comprised of professionals from diverse fields & Corporate Governance is only limited to compliance , you are in obsolete business.

 

If you escape all the above IFs , YES, you can congratulate yourself , your business & its products & services are NOT obsolete. 

 

Even if you are selling TEA and not using any advance technology to produce  , all the above pointers will keep you out of Obsolescence. 

 

 

A broken hand works, but not a broken heart.

[
*Persian Proverb *]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Your Mood & Cash Conversion Cycle are Inversely Related!

Cash Conversion Cycle – CCC  is Interesting way to know how fast you are turning around your cash. You are aware about your turnover of goods and services , reflected on the top right hand side of your Trading or Profit & Loss Account , however, how fast are you turning around your cash?? This is reflected nowhere in the financial statement, however, it is a very important thing to know.

Higher Inventory Turnover will add to your PROFIT , Quicker Cash Turnover i.e. conversion cycle (CCC) will make you do business with less cash & en-cashed profit.[*  As an entrepreneur, what is more Important, Profit Earned or Profit Encashed ? *]

 

Quick Cash Conversion indicates;

 

- Dead or Slow Moving Inventory Status

- Bad and Doubtful Debt Status

- Availability of Credit in the market for your company

CCC is calculated as under:

Inventory Turnover Days + Receivables Debtor Payment Days – No of Days Credit Available

Suppose your inventory takes 60 days to turnover i.e. Purchase to Process to Dispatch to Clients

You offer 60 days credit, but your customer pays in 90 days and you get 45 days of credit from your supplier.

Therefore, CCC = 60 + 90 – 45 = 105 days

Now you know the variants and you can work upon to improve the CCC.

Debtor and Inventory to be taken average as you have to consider slow moving inventory and debtor also.

Inventory Turnover Ratio = Total Inventory / Annual Purchase * 365

Debtor Turnover Ratio = Total Debtor / Annual Sales * 365

Creditor Turnover Ratio = Total Creditor / Annual Purchase * 365

For example, two Companies with a similar turnover of Rs.20 crs  but 105 Days of CCC & 180 days of CCC respectively. A company with 105 days of CCC will need lesser cash than the other company. However, another company might be achieving higher profit by offering more credit to the customer.  Very often a low margin business can also earn more with quicker CCC.

[*Higher and delayed / doubtful Profit or  lower, but quick profit is the call entrepreneur has to take. *]

 

This is very important Ratio to know Profit Reflected in P & L A/C is also credited to the Bank Account. This ratio could be starting point for performance improvement measures.

- Make Operation Lean to Quicken the Business Processes & Improve CCC

- Offer more credit to the customer and get rid of slow moving or dead stock

-  Offer quick cash to supplier & get more discounts or just do reverse if the profit margin is good but CCC is longer

CCC offers enough food for thought on HOW business is performing unlike PAT , EPS or EBIDTA  as these measures do not take into consideration , velocity of actual money in the bank account!!!

 

Shorter the cycle, happier the entrepreneur.

A silent mouth is melodious.

 

[
Irish Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] If Cash is King then what is Queen ??

If Cash is King then what is the Queen ?? This question is never asked or thought of.

It’s the MARGIN. Yes, the contribution that each product brings is very vital for the king to rule. Without the Queen , the king cannot survive for long.

Many a times for the sake of sales entrepreneurs indulge in low or even no margin trade.  Yes, it’s good for turning around the inventory, but it can prove dangerous unless the inventory is dead or very slow moving stock.  To start up, early stage companies low margins can be seen as market making cost/sacrifice.

But companies MUST get hold of sustainable margin if they want to survive in the long-run.

Margin can help in attracting investors, investment in research & development which is extremely vital, it also helps in attracting right and bright talent, investment in ever changing technologies which offers cutting edge to the enterprise , lenders view margin as a very important figure ,  its the margin which ultimately adds to the networth and not cash-flow.

With cash-flow enterprise survives, but good margin can build the organisation and make it ready for long-term sustenance.

Cash-flow is necessary but not sufficient and without margin cash-flow is like person on oxygen. Days are numbered unless ofcourse MARGIN improves.  Feeling happy with either of them & ignoring the other is risky. Cash and Margin go hand in hand and one without the other is vulnerable.  Cash King badly needs support of Margin Queen to hold on to the Kingdom. 

 

A thief believes everybody steals.

[
Proverb of Unknown Origin]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Seven ways to Boost {encashable} Bottom-line

Increase Profit without More Sales.

 

- Check your rate of interest on borrowing. See what is impacting your ratings and work to improve the same , better rating will bring down your financial cost

- Calculate interest and bank charges debited to your account. Chances are there may be excess charge or calculation error.

- Be watchful about dead & slow moving stock. Yes, it helps in higher borrowing of working capital loan, but it compels for more blockages of resources like finance, space, raw material and manufacturing cost & lengthen the cash conversion cycle.

- Validate in-source and outsource strategy. Many a times in-sourcing requires asset, labour, finance, raw material storage and depreciation etc as a cost.

- Validate business processes. Many a time business process re-engineering is critical as process adds to cost. Wrong or lengthy processes are the cause of leakage. Lean Business Processes are not only cost saving, but it speeds up the organisation also.

- Manage your forex risk. If your motive is not to earn out of forex gain, hedge the risk as open risk will invariably end up in forex loss in most cases.

& Ofcourse, if you can increase the sales price without an increase in sales quantity, that will be a great boost. It is proven that an increase in sales price by Rs.1/- can have a far better impact on bottom-line than a decrease in cost by Rs.1/-

Enjoy your profit and remember its profit on hand that matters more than profit only in books. It’s not about book profit or camouflaging books. It’s a tangible cash profit.

[A wise man hears one word and understands two.
**]

 

Yiddish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Ignorant NPAs !!

We are bound to have NPAs, tax evasion and everything else that is wrong with business and corporate sector.

Every profession needs training and subject knowledge to practice.  There is nothing such for entrepreneurs. No entry barrier. No prerequisite or training or skill set check – nothing.

Everyone wants to become an entrepreneur.  Form small Panwala to large businesses – all are entrepreneurs. Whether one likes it no, many of our  entrepreneurs do not know WHAT and HOW of business. We have degree holders engineers, textile designers, graduates , under graduates, uneducated everyone we will find, is doing business.

Why many of our real estate developers are in trouble? Asset rich, but Cashflow crisis , why many are good at borrowing but do not know neither their overall  cost of capital nor profit margin ? why many businesses just survive on tax evasion?  Why the smartest of IITians fail in business? Why smartest of MBAs are failing in business?

There is a large number of entrepreneurs who do not know the difference between cash-flow and profit   They assume cash flow as their own money and live accordingly. Many would assume a hefty margin to be the only thing they need to take care of.

Business acumen is one part and it is necessary however knowing what are the parameters of financial success are equally important.  Many of the entrepreneurs are illiterate about this.

Deduct from your stated profit, tax evaded, dead stock , bad debt , required provisions not made  and you will know what your real profit is.

Deduct from cash-flow , creditors to be paid , dead and slow moving stock , add receivable debtors and saleable stock to know whether you are spending your own money or borrowed money?

Knowing all these critical data is very important for every entrepreneur to know. Unless these are known, acted upon to improve, leakage will continue and entrepreneurs will keep living on borrowed money, bankers will face splurge of NPAs and tax department will have a long list of defaulters.  How many businesses can afford to hire CFOs ?

Even the biggest entrepreneurial example, we give of our time faces charges of business without integrity. That success story is based on the many wrong doings.

There are entrepreneurs who thrive on tax evasion, who thrive on corrupt business practices, who thrive on bending the rules of the land and who thrive on ignorance. The rest is really thriving. Select your real category.

Entrepreneurship is in vogue , it is important however we also need preparation for that. Institutions like TIE and many others are doing a great job but its spread must expand and expand very fast to all size , sector and geographies.

[An angry man is not fit to pray.
**]

Yiddish Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Capitalist Trap we are all in !!

 

I had two conversations about the PEOPLE in organisations.

One of the new recruits of a public sector bank told me that before joining the public sector bank he was with the largest private sector bank.  On my asking, why did he leave ? he responded  - It was highly stressed organisation. From Peon to CEO all were living in high stress.

Work culture in the Public sector is relaxed in  a way. They employ more people , less efficient and these are less ROCE enterprises.

The same day I had an occasion to meet someone very senior in public sector general insurance company. The Officer told me – yes, we want to make changes and want to make organisation customer centric but you know we are public sector company and people’s mindset is a major issue.

Job is mostly secured, union support, high employment ratio, pay scale is relatively less but work culture is also relaxed,  mostly corruption on a higher scale, listed but suffers low Price earning ratio.

Private sector company’s less job security, high pay scale, high work related stress, low employment ratio so higher work pressure , corruption , hmm, well little less,  listed entities so huge performance pressure.

Companies in both sectors are competing with each other.

Inefficiency, low ROCE v/s highly efficient and high ROCE , low pressure v/s high pressure, high employment v/s lean employment.

Which one is better ?

Do we want more efficiency , better ROCE and therefore high stress and pain or we want more employment, less stress &  therefore  more happiness ?

What do we really need ? In the name of privatization and capitalism,  humanity is lost somewhere.

My vote is for the man who switched to public sector job leaving highly paid private sector job.  People in the public sector can be trained for efficiency  , attitude and customer centricity  but we can’t train and convince capitalist for lesser ROCE for better happiness at large.

For the sustainability of the humanity,  the private sector MUST learn and take some clue from the public sector.

What do you think? Are we in a big trap of a few capitalists? 

[Anger can be an expensive luxury.
**]

Italian Proverb

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Financial Ratios – Outdated to measure SUCCESS

 

ROI, ROCE, EPS, PE, EBIDTA  all these words have assumed so much importance in the business world that what it takes to achieve is completely ignored. The cost of achieving better and better of these figures is so huge that it consumes humanity , environment , ethics and every other thing. 

 

Capitalist society we are in has attached extreme importance to the figures/ratios stated above. All our business actions are only measured on these parameters.  There is no measurement of corrupt practices indulged , environment polluted , the stress generated among people working for the organisation , [*customers fooled , under-served and even cheated *]to achieve these ratios. 

 

Single minded focus on financial ratios is killing the ethical and human factors in business. Growth at all cost is doing harm to the society and benefit handful of shareholders. We are talking about sustainable business practices  keeping environment in focus however what about the sustainability of ethical norms & human sustainability ?  

We have seen in the movie Guru , one company takes on the Govt rules by breaking and indulging in unethical practices. Who has authorised them?  What if every company starts doing that? Just for personal gain ethical standards have been broken and justified for business & share holders wealth creation. We live by quoting that as an illustrious example. It is nothing but collapse of value system and unethical conduct for personal gain of a few. 

 

Just focusing on financial success is the cause of all this nonsense prevailing in the business world these days. There are a few companies like Zappos.com which make [*DELIVERING HAPPINESS *]as their business mission and not only financial ratios. We need more and more of such companies and rest assured in times to come these are the kind of companies which will be valued more than just financial ratio focused companies. Non manipulative and socially sustainable measures will be in demand, 

 

Any one of the Indian companies dare to do things differently ? 

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. [] Deadly DEBT !

 

Yes, it’s deadly. 

 

Inadequate debt won’t allow your business to grow and entrepreneurs will suffocate & die. (The business will die)

 

High debt will drown you in the burden of interest. Yes, more debt without adequate productive use will eat into your profit. Invest excess debt thoughtlessly and inability to repay will make your account NPA and your otherwise profitable business will also sink. 

 

No bank /institutions will finance NPA accounts. Inability to raise finance means stagnation.   

 

Debt is necessary for growth, but its adequacy is what matters the most.Many businesses are out of business today just because of either of the two scenarios mentioned above. 

 

Understanding play of –  cashflow , adequate sustainable leverage (debt) , criticality of margin & contribution , cash conversion cycle  , inadequate working capital , debt trap , fixed and variable cost , current ratio , cashflow to debt ratio etc are very fundamental to every business. 

 

Even if you do great business, illiteracy of financial implications will undo all your great marketing efforts. 

 

All entrepreneurs deal with money & work for money, but unfortunately many entrepreneurs do not understand the money part of the business. 

 

As we live, so we learn.

 

[
Yiddish Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Sitting is NEW Smoking then What is the NEW Solvency Ratio ?

 

“ Sitting is NEW Smoking. “ Rujuta Diwekar leading diet consultant writes in her new book – ‘Don’t Lose Out, Work Out’.  

 

We all know and believe that smoking can cause serious diseases to the smoker likewise if you remain seated for longer , poorer  your health & you may die earlier, no matter how fit you are. This is a new scientific research. Physical activities throughout the day are necessary to remain fit and avoid many modern day diseases.  

 

Applying this research to our topic of Customer Experience (CX);

 

The Customer Experience Index is the NEW Solvency Ratio. Yes, this is also true.  You may have very good EBIDTA margin, Current ratio , DSCR , ROCE, and PAT but if your CX Index is not healthy, all these robust ratios are just temporary. CX Index will indicate whether this health will be maintained, is improving or deteriorating. 

 

Problem is, like we don’t measure how many hours we sit during the day, we don’t even measure CX index of our enterprise.  Things we don’t measure , we don’t focus upon. But the fact remains that, all our critical financial ratios are ultimately dependent upon our Customer Experience Index. 

 

Better CX enables more sales, quick sales TAT, lower marketing cost, better margins, better cash flow, lower debt, higher margins means better stock valuation, attracts more capital. CX Index is really a critical measure of enterprise’s health. It can also be used as a preventive measure to stop deterioration of financial health. It can tell in advance the state of financial health . 

 

You can measure CX Index by Net Promoter Scorecard (NPS) , Customer Effort Score (CES) or combination of the two or define your own CX scorecard. You can do it in a more detailed way by measuring experiences at all the touch points, different customer segments/persona, different product wise. More intense the scorecard ,  more it can be put into action. 

 

Before your CFO tells you the state of your enterprise’s health your Chief Experience Officer (CExO) {Of-course if you have one} must tell you that.

 

Next time before you think of smoking, think of sitting and before you think of financial solvency ratios, think of CX Index. 

 

 

 

[*Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own. *]

 

[
Chinese Proverb]

#
h1<>{color:#f79646;}. * * Entrepreneurship & Start up is in vogue, but don’t ignore Reality

Entrepreneurs don’t need any degree. Agreed.

However, entrepreneurs do need  a knack  for business and finance. Without having an understanding of the financial impact of economic developments around the business isn’t it difficult to survive?

Today entrepreneurship is in vogue. Even otherwise educational qualification was & is never a barrier for businessmen and entrepreneurs to venture in to own business.

I wonder how many of them are really doing well and successful ? 2) How many of them are making money and not just managing cashflow? 3) How many are thriving on banks’ and creditors’ money? 4)  How many of them will be the networth negative if asked to close down by next 31st March ? 5) How many are just surviving on tax evasions & subsidies ?

Wherever entry is easy success is difficult & vice a versa.  IIT or MBA entrance exams are too difficult to crack but having cracked, almost all students come-out with degrees. Hardly anyone fails. CA entrance exams are comparatively easy to crack but getting out with flying colors in the finals is the most difficult.

Same applies to business.  No barriers & hence easy entry. How every or most of the entrepreneurs are & can be successful?

Bad debts, write offs, bankruptcy, surviving through cash flow but not by the profit is a regular feature of the business landscape.  How many start up survives in proportion to how many start up starts every year? According to one recent data only 49% of the businesses survive [- -] for more than 5 years  i.e. more than half of the ventures die down with in 5 years. Interesting as well as disappointing.

Of the survivors, many are surviving longer for 5  reasons stated above.

When more than 50% businesses are not surviving for more than 5 years , does any one has any idea of how much capital is being destroyed?

Even many of the companies coming out with IPO cannot do well post IPO. There may be reasons like willful no interest as promoters have earned their wealth but many a times it’s also inability to manage the large finance /projects and expectations.

The point is businesses are subject to failure just due to entrepreneurs’ inability to manage and understand the dynamics of finance.

Becoming entrepreneur is easy but understanding & managing finances and ever changing business dynamics is the very difficult part. There are early signs of businesses becoming weak:

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Slow debt /receivable recovery / asking more goods to make previous payments

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Weak bank ratings / change of banks

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Over due tax payments

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Thinking to change the company name

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Piling of dead stocks

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Major reliance on a couple of customers

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. All financial ratios are  below its benchmark (Ofcourse of realistic financial and not cooked up data)

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Need to cook the data to fool banks and regulators

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Key people leaving the company

#
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. All possible liabilities exceeds your own resources

Since there are no entry barrier entrepreneurs may think that success is for sure and guaranteed. However, periodic stress & reality test are very critical to measure business performance. To remain on the side of surviving 50% , fooling self with cooked data or ignored reality will be deadly.

* _ [_Act Now. You need someone who can mentor and anchor you[.*]]

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

Ralph Waldo Emerso

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Wow ! & Weird

A collection of author's blog posts- subjects include personal branding, customer experience, small business finance, entrepreneurship. This is an idea book. All small posts contain observation, experience, and viewpoints of the author. A must for CXOs , Management Students & SME and Start up Entrepreneurs.

  • Author: sunilgandhi
  • Published: 2017-06-14 13:21:05
  • Words: 29983
Wow ! & Weird Wow ! & Weird