Friday, December 30, 2011

My 2011 Best of 5 Blog Posts


“you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards for the technology."

Steve Jobs - Life & Death - Quotes & Salute 


Battle for Profit is won with great relationship ( suppliers, employees & customers ) and not by logical /rational analysis of left brain thinking alone.

5 things MBAs MUST learn from Entrepreneurs 



Just shut up , create memorable customer experience and allow/ enable customers to become brand ambassadors.

5 Reasons Why Traditional Marketing is (almost) DEAD in Digital World !!!! 



Unexpected Speed ( Execution, Thought, Response ) WOWs !!

12 Ways to WOW !!!!! - ( For ) Individuals & Enterprises


No focus on CUSTOMER. - Business Plan/Strategy defines everything else but  Customer Experience company propose to offer.

9 (old) + Three (new) Early Warning Sings of a Troubled Company

Monday, December 26, 2011

My 2012 Reading List , Favourite Blogs and Tweeters

Books on the Agenda

1) Likable Social Media by Dave Kerpen ( On How to delight customers using social media )

2) Read This Before Your Next Meeting. The Modern Meeting Standard by Al Pittampalli

( On How to make meetings more effective, efficient, and worthy of attending )  (On meetings Tom Peters says " No meeting is routine, every meeting is a chance to show leadership" )

3) Get Bold by Sandy Carter ( Using social media to create new type of business)

4) Social Intelligence by Danial Goleman ( On understanding human behavior , dealing with people and soft skills )

5) Shant Sudharas by Swami Vinayvijayji ( On 12 Bhavnas i.e. 12 Reflections of the mind - concepts in Jainism )

& to Finish already started book 

6) Save the Cat  ( On Script Writing )

7) Samaysar by Swami Kundkundacharya ( 2nd time Read )  ( On Jainism Concepts of Nine Elements )

My Favourite Blog /News Letter:

1) Seth Godin

2) Social Media Examiner

3) Copy Blogger

4) Bain Insights

5) Strategy + Business by Booz & Company

6) Fast Company

7) Customer Experience matters by Bruce Temkin

Favorite Tweeters I  Follow

1) Sekhar Kapur ( Sensible views on matters relating to INDIA )

2) Tom Peters ( Inspiring , Innovative , action oriented )

3) Paulo Coelho ( Thought provoking )

4) Amitabh Bachchan  ( No need to mention reason for him, he is what HE is )

5) Arvind Kejriwal ( True nationalist and clear thinker )

6) Guy Kawasaki ( Entrepreneurship, updates and many many more, U must be ready for 
bumper tweets daily )

7) Zig Zagler ( Motivational quotes )

8) Mashable ( Updates on whats happening & powerful contents of the online world )

Will update this regularly. 

Happy Reading and Action-ing your learning in the new year. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

I enable Entrepreneurs to Pay More Tax !!!!!

Yes, when I help them in capital structuring , interest cost does down 

When I help them to take make or buy decision, it impacts investments in fixed assets which in turn affects investment requirements, depreciation , interest cost and Mfg Cost

When I help them lean manufacturing and operations, wastage is reduced

When I help them in process rejuvenation , it reduces wastes and quicken the business

When I help them in offering WOW !! Customer Experience, they get more sales ,
premium pricing & powerful branding

When I help them on Social Media Strategy, it reduces sales & marketing cost and increases referral sales

All these initiatives will add to PROFIT and therefore it impacts Direct Tax , add to enterprise's Tax burden. 

As a CA I started as a tax practitioner and focused on below the line tax consultancy & helped enterprises in reducing their tax burden,  now I am focused on above the line advisory and helping indirectly to the Govt in filling their tax kitty. Govt & Entrepreneurs both are happy along with me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2 Ways to Present Your RESUME (& Do Anything)

You have two options to present RESUME. 

1) Structured , Standard - Starting from your name, date of birth , 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 u will find it boring }

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 experiences.  Its a story and one can make 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.

Its a competition (red ocean) everywhere. How do we differentiate in whatever we do? To stand out in the crowd, we must add SPICE to whatever we do and present.

Be it your RESUME or your Project or your day to day work. Nothing is 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??

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Feedback Can Transform Valia the Don to Valmiki the Sage

All Indian readers must be aware about the Valia to Valmiki story.

In short the story is : d Don Valia was looting the people in his area , one day sage Naradji asked him - for whom are you doing this anti social things. His reply was - for his family. Naradji asked him to check with his family whether they are partner in his wrong doings? Family refused to bear the fruits of his wrong doings. That made d don Valia to think for whom I am doing these activities. And that thinking turned him to great sage known as Valmiki. Rest is history. 

Most companies can be compared with feedback less Don Valia. Thinking they offer great value and customer services to their customers and all stake holders, however they are not aware about what their customers and stake holders thinking about them. Neither they care to talk to them. 

When was the last time your company took customer feedback?  Feedback which is relevant and asking right questions affecting the customers. Your employee policy, CSR activities, social and anti social activities (tax evasion and pollution) , suppliers policy and customer experience design. Everything requires great insight and feedback from the stake holders. Unless companies have them & act on them, they live in illusion and spreading great social unhappiness and stress. 

Feedback and action on feedback is so important that it can make or break and even set stage to transform the companies. Periodic feedback is not only essential but its a compulsory practice. Is your company practicing it?

Monday, December 12, 2011

HOW WOW !!! Customer Experience Works for Business ???

Location: Bungalow @ Lonavala

Time : Eve Tea

Group: Gathering of Friends to celebrate 25 years of Friendship

Number of People at the Tea Table: 7 

Story Narration ( Real Life Experience ) @ one of the dispensary in Mumbai by one of the friends. 

How this dispensary is taking care of the relatives of the patient too while the patient is under the treatment.  How whether the relatives have taken the food or no is taken care of. This is bit unusual as mostly doctors don't care for such little things. Many of them even don't know how to talk with patients and their relatives. They consider themselves as GOD. In majority of the case doctors talk to relatives for insurance matters and HOW to get more out of insurance claims.When medical profession has almost lost its credibility as far as financial dealings are concerned, this kind of pleasant service and care will certainly stands out.  Somebody MUST have thought of  it and implemented it to differentiate.  Not expected & hence pleasant surprise.    

Of course we go to doctors for technical skills but this kind of going extra mile is what makes him STAND OUT from the rest.  

Person who was describing also said " we don't mind paying extra for this kind of services and care."
Result: Talk of the Town Service, low (no) resistance to premium charges, if any. 

Experience Shared in the group and it will spread to many through word of mouth. Imagine what it can do in times of Social Media. Social Media success of song Kolavari D reinforcing the need for WOW!! Product & Services and Its unprecedented success through word of mouth or click of the mouse.

People pay for perceived value, people share bad or good experiences. Both spread fast and impact the business results, brand value.  

{ If you are in Mumbai and want to know more about high profile event on social media is taking place in Jan 2012.  Click here to know more and participate }

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

6 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. 

Industry known for its misbehavior and arrogant attitude, he was a complete professional and very well behaved. 

- Believe in your self. have your own way of doing things. Don' t copy or follow any one { His style was his unique and his own brand } . Style says he is YOU. Unless you have your own style you are non existence. 

- Behave with conviction { When people told him not to make cult movie like HRHK, he was convinced internally and it was history thereafter } 

- Passion what you do { Passion to live & breath MOVIEs for 65 years }

- Unrelenting Pursuit of Passion { Till the age of 88 he was active in making movies } . In an interview with Karan Thaper he says " No one can be master of any subject in the word. The moment one thinks he is a master, he stops learning and that's the beginning of an end. "

- Of course commercial failures of his movies in the later age teaches us ,  change with the time, delegate to others what others can do better than you : After Desh Pardes , all movies failed commercially but he continue to remain director and actor, like Yashraj Films , he should have developed brigade of directors and actors working for Nav Ketan Films } 

& Finally 

- Live life to its fullest, NOW, Today - as the time is flying faster than we think. { To a question by Anupam Kher: 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, & Dev Anand had huge real life experiences and insights to learn from. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

9 Ways Twitter is Changing the Way We LIVE.

Twitter is going to change the way we live. 

- News Paper & Magazine/News Channels - Aren't we get news as it happens from people and channels we follow? Yesterday there was an accident at Kandivali Highway, someone to whom I follow in twitter was eyewitness and has tweeted about the same. I didn't need media and news paper to know this. 

- Marketing & Adverting - Product Launch on twitter or FB Fan page, can spread like a fire and customer reviews and feed backs are even more quicker.  Cost? Well its almost nothing. Rajdeep Sardesai reminds his followers about CNN programmes  sometimes when programmes is live on TV. 

- Communication - eMails are going to be history soon. Spam emails and ineffective emails have taken the toll of this medium of communication. Preity Zinta tweets about her whereabouts whenever she is travelling to know local sepcialities and news. 

- Relevance & Focus - Unless people following u find u relevant, they will quickly unfollow u as they have huge numbers of tweets to surf. Interesting & relevant is d key. 

- Customer Service or disservice - Quick response and addressing of customer issues will not only solve the customer problem but words will spread fast to the world. Similarly reverse can also spread fast and can spoil the brand name in no time. Companies have to become Social Media vigilant. Power has now shifted to customers 

-  Knowledge Sharing - So many information and knowledge sharing links are available ion the run in real time. With Kindle like e book reader, our spare time will have competition from Kindle also apart from games. 

- Public Opinion - Jr Bachchan is using twitter followers to get suggestions for name of his daughter Beti B. Many such opinions can be quickly obtained. Dirty Pictures is ruling at the moment. Its people to people now , so called experts are out. 

- Emergency Help - Yes this is real really useful. When anyone ened medical or other emergency hep, just a tweet and words can spread fast and response can be faster. I don't who can help and that's why when I broad cast on my twitter/FB , relevant response can come out of the blue.

Opportunity, I can follow someone rich and famous, reply to his tweets and if I am lucky, he also will revert to my tweets and I may even get  chance to meet him/her { unprecedented }. Anything is possible. 

{ keep tweeting the same message 3/4 times considering the time zone, with huge volumes of tweets sometimes your first tweet might miss the attention of your followers }.  

Everything is highlight now. If viewers/followers like the highlights, they will dig deeper  in to it, or else its a waste. 140 words to demonstrate how interesting , engaging and relevant you { your brand  } are.  

I invite readers to share their real life experiences. 

 { If you are in Mumbai and want to know more about high profile event on social media is taking place in Jan 2012.  Click here to know more and participate } 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inverted 30 : 70 Ratio - Customer Experience

Writing is like a pregnant lady. Till the time u deliver (write) u r restless. 

Today I met a ED of one of the industry chambers in Mumbai. 

Agenda: Customer Experience for their Members

One more management jargon was his initial reaction. 

Well a big NO. 

All earlier version of business performance improvements were internal & limited focus like - TQM, Six Sigma, BPR, Lean, TOC - all are fine but these projects are never worked keeping CUSTOMER @ d center.  

One can argue that six sigma and lean or for that matter TQM are obviously for the customers. However its not. Everything is to work on improving internal efficiency and productivity. Its necessary but not sufficient. 

Unless the organisation as a whole looks in one direction i.e. Customers, unless everyone is aware about impact of their action or inaction on the customer experience, unless internal massive projects are touching customer experience  at all the touch points, unless customer experience is designed keeping in mind end to end touch points in mind, unless one single person responsible for end to end customer experience, they are not customer focused projects. 

Why its not only important but critical because : 

Delightful and Memorable Customer Experience  =  Repeat and referred customers, sharing the experience on social media channels (bad experience travels faster on this channels), lowering sales and marketing cost , increase in margins and sales, brand loyalty and rise of brand advocates. 

Its the ONLY way , to create blue ocean in otherwise red ocean business land(water)scape. 

"If the optimal business decision in the old world was too  spend 30 percent of your time, energy, focus, and dollars on building great customer experience, and 70 percent of your time, energy, focus, and dollars on shouting about it, today that's inverted. Today, the optimal thing to do is to spend 70 percent of your time, energy, focus, and dollars on building great customer experience and 30 percent shouting about it."

Next question is - HOW? {  when and why are now obvious  
Watch out this place!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Who is Cyrus Mistry of Your Business??

Having a competent person rather than hereditary is the KEY for long-term survival of any enterprise. 

Bal Thackrey to Uddhav Thackery, Indira Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi & now Rahul Gandhi, Mafatlals , Most Birla group companies are struggling barring KM Birla Group,  and many other organisations have suffered due to this mind set of hereditary succession plan, competence irrespective. 

Look at Infosys, Tatas, MNCs like HUL,Colgate and Others. These companies focus on long term survival of the business and entity rather than own family managing it. Distinct arms length between ownership and management. 

Interesting things to look at is next succession at Reliance Group.

Famous sayings like -  Wealth does not sustain beyond 3 generations and 1 out of 3 business fails in 2nd generations , requires serious attention while planning family business succession

Reasons could be : 

No passion, Changed landscape, High expectation pressure, Disconnect from ground realities as was possible when enterprise was first generation, Too much attachment with successful business models.    

Having a advance leadership grooming and competence based succession plan in place for family managed large /public companies requires closer attention and priory for the present owners. Why business, it applies to every organisation be it business or  politics { even GENEXT is not interested in family business }.  

Ask  NOW - "Who could be my Cyrus ?" 


Friday, November 25, 2011

Can Do > Have Done

Problem with EXPERIENCE. 

  • What experience do you have ?? 
  • Have You implemented or done this elsewhere? OR 
  • We have 20 years of experience. 

Most of us face/use these questions/statement when we start or wanting to do something new and for the first time or want to capitalise on our experience. 

Fact is Experience Kills INNOVATION  (Fresh Approach & Different Angle) . 

Experience means I know HOW it can be done and have done it too. 

Experience defies change,  Experience blocks mind, Experience brings EGO, Experience means Routine, Experience means my way is the only way and the right way. 

However companies are always looking for experienced guys. In rarely any organisation experience is at discount and innovation , new ways, vibrancy, tolerance to failure  is at premium.   

Entrepreneurs are basically risk takers but companies are run by employees who are risk averse by nature { there are always exception everywhere } . Like everything else tone and the top and culture top-man breeds will percolate down.  

Yes experience is critical in life threatening situation or when the stakes are huge, everywhere else, innovation and fresh approach MUST be encouraged. 

" Success Immortalises the way things are done " statement 

equally applies to experience. 

Go for thinking people , experience can be costly  { Well 

it can be opportunity cost!!! }. Tatas have brigade of 

experienced people.  Who is selected??? Cyrus Mistry 

age 43. Therefore Can do is greater than have done

Richard Branson's View on d subject. 

Richard Branson on When Inexperience Is an Advantage (published on 29/11 , posted later on this blog) 

Bucks start & stop at the TOP.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

5 Customer Experience Scenarios !!!! Take Your Pick

- We offer HORRIBLE Customer experience and careless even after that - Government Departments { No one likes to go to them but are compelled }

- We offer HORRIBLE Customer experience but have cosmetic customer service  department  - PSUs  { No one likes to go to them but are compelled }

- We offer HORRIBLE Customer experience but have adequate customer service department - Massively Expanded Private Sector Companies { Most of us become their customer but want to get rid of them asap }

- We offer good and reasonable/ as expected Customer Experience - Some alert Private Sector Companies { We are happy to be with them but no brand loyalty and are indifferent }

- We offer Scintillating ,  Out of the World , Memorable , Delightful , Pleasantly Unexpected and Customised Customer Experience - A very few companies who design their experience at touch points to make it memorable every-time. { Everyone wants to visit them time and again, proud to refer them and love to  recommend strongly

Self Test and Work-On to Climb the Hierarchy !!!

(Of the companies that think they are offering great customer experience, their customers mostly thinks otherwise, so have self test from customer feedback) 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

5 Ways to Offer Attention & Win Trust { Both are Extremely Scarce }

Its all FAKE out side. Its a public perception and is growing.

Last even I saw a Film by young film maker Umesh Agarwal on "Brokering News". Its about HOW politicians, sports persons, businessmen and entertainment companies are exploiting the media to fool viewers/readers. Their nexus is not only dangerous but depressing. Someone also raised issue about healthcare industry also. We also know HOW real are the reality shows.  We also know HOW bogus & over committing advertisements are. We know HOW countries after countries & companies after companies are tumbling.

Big Question is : Whom do WE trust?? 

Just recently I  read that attention is the most scarce thing in the world. Yes it is. Look at the people around. People are busy with their gadgets and mobiles.  They busy with their face book or twitter or updates.  They are busy with their problems be it career , business or personal. 

Having agreed about ATTENTION 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. 

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

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 is the key challenge. But How else would you create your own blue ocean?

How to Offer Attention and Win Trust ?

- Focus on Problem Solving { sales will happen , happen more than expected }
- Focus on Listening { Reading also on Social Media  }
- Honor commitment/trust even at loss and inconvenience 
- Focus on Offering Designers Experience , that WOWs!!! { Why else are u in business , mediocres are fighting in red hot ocean } 
- Believe in - Net Happiness is greater than Networth 

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 ??

Friday, November 18, 2011

7 Reasons why Abhishek Bachchan Tweeted on 16th Nov

Abhishek Bachchan become publisher of his own news. Though media was restrained, however he released news of arrival of his baby girl, first to his fans and followers at one go through Twitter. Earlier trend was press conference. Media as an intermediary between news makers and news recipient is fast becoming history. Internet has played catalyst role in most of the industries to remove and realign role of intermediaries.

Advantage :

1) Abhishek is sharing the news with his followers, therefore all were excited.

2) Its instant. They need not depend on so called breaking news from media houses.

3) It was easy for all followers to share among their own followers and friends on social as well as off line circles.

4) Its direct, so easily trusted and cannot be twisted.

5) All his followers can directly communicate with him to congratulate or abuse when he acts in movies like Raavan (Mani Ratnam's not Ra One of SRK) .

6) Followers can also communicate with him abt what more they want from him and so he can also convey his thoughts. 

7) Imagine Anna Hajare has 1 mn followers on twitter. What he can do with his one tweet!!!! For that matter any movement can ignite in no seconds.

Just yesterday MP Shashi Tharoor at one of the conferences warned media companies that Internet is changing their business in unimaginable way. Yes suddenly landscape is changing.  

Purpose of this post is not to show how Social media is changing Media Industry but to awaken all readers about what this can mean to their business. 

Do you need someone like Shashi Tharoor to warn and awaken ??  

Its two way dialogue, instant , direct, easily sharable & above all exciting and interesting too. Companies like Mahindra Home Stays, Ford , Red Bull, CISCO, Volkswagen India, Disney, Jetblue, Kaya Clinic & many more are aggressively using SM Channels. 

Most important is Engagement & Two Way Communication. Unless customer engagement is there, people are not interested.  

Just a few numbers : 

1) Face book enjoys 3rd largest population after China & India. Indian FB users 34 mn. Growing at 60%. 

2) India: Internet penetration is 8% Mobile Penetration is 67%. Imagine what will happen when Internet usage through mobile becomes affordable and accessible!!!

Its not just marketing. It’s about marketing plus, brand building, lead generation, customer service & feedback, wow ! Customer experience, knowledge sharing, collaboration, hiring, product design and launch, remain in touch & much more what more one can imagine. 

Yesterday a few college students in Goa visited one of the hotels. They liked the food so they tweeted about the hotel. Hotel has social media policy and brand watch, they tracked this tweet about them and immediately thanked all of them through reverse tweet. It will reach many many more on tweeter. 

It’s not about technology or a fad, its about mind for customer experience and mission to provide scintillating customer experience. First in hotel and 2nd through responsive social media awakening. 

Here going extra mile can take the brand miles ahead. 

New Social Media Theme :  Like it? Share It , tweet it.

If you are in Mumbai and want to know more about high profile event is taking place in Jan 2012.  Click here to know more and participate

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Customer Service Is Not a Department, Its your Company

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

Unfortunately as the company grows, it develops silos and other than CEO, everyone else is responsible to 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 difference between core competency and competitive advantage could be  - Excellent Customer Focus & offering Delightful & Memorable Xperience.

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 mailed me that Kingfisher Airlines is offering wow customer experience & now they are almost on the verge of collapse & other non wowers are surviving thereby questioning entire wow experience strategy.   

I have read tweets of many of whom I follow. There are two views on govt bailout or support to private sector Company in trouble but everyone unequivocally agree that company is offering great customer experience.  All of them are brand loyal , brand referrers, opponents of financial package also cant stop but admire for what kind of experience company is creating for their customers. These 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 reason they could revive so beautifully 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????

New Social Media Theme :  Like it? Share It , tweet it.