Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Smartness not @ the cost of Goodness

Smartness is in Vogue. We appreciate smart people. End justify Means. We find many smart people around but there aren't as many good people as well. 

  1. We break queue and get things done before others. Smart but not good !!
  2. We tell lie and get things done. Neither Smart nor Good !!!
  3. We bribe others with word of mouth (wrong promise) and succeed. Not good may be smart !!
  4. We make promise and go all out to fulfill the same. Smart and good.
  5. We genuinely convince others and change their way of thinking/action. Smart & Good Act.
  6. We manage short-term at the cost of long-term results. Smart but not good
  7. We sack people and add to profit. Smart but not good.
  8. We sale somehow without understanding consumer need/wrong promise and achieve sales target. Smart but not good.
  9. We appreciate smart wrong doers & dislike right good doers.
  10. 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 profit. Some people may classify us as SMART company but more smart one plays more stupid one becomes in future.       
  11. We achieve great financial results at the cost of customer apathy. Smart or Good???
When managing immediate, today 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 goodness will decide their fate.   

Who r in demand Smart People or Good People??

Doing things like a Linchpin i.e. good as well as smart r the SKILL in demand.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

20998 Dos & Donts for Customer Centric Innovation

Well,  please don't go by the numbers , grab the meaning. Any new ideas will face somewhat similar objections or hurdles. ( In any area )

1) I have never heard of this !!!!! ( Thats why it must be done )

2) We do things this way only. ( When will u innovate )

3) New ideas will not work in this environment ,,,,, ( Let it 
be experimented )

4) Do u have proven case study??????? ( Why cant u become 
means of this be a case study? )

5) I know this better since I am doing it for years now @@@@@ ( Will doing things in new ways harm or change is for better )

6) Customers don't care   , they are just interested in low price. ( Do u have data to justify so )

7) We cant 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 yrs )

8) We work with consultants having experience in our industry. ( New ideas need new unconditioned brains )

9) Brand means nothing more than logo, stationery , uniform and sign boards. ( Its mere 8% of the same )

10) Last word in customer care is CRM. ( Its the basic survival tool, do we not go beyond mere survival efforts ??? ) 

20998)  We are 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, Googles , Facebooks and Microsofts are threatened by new incubates ) 

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

Someone has quoted "Success Immortalises the way things are done." Its not difficult to learn new things but challenge is to de-learn what is already learned. Daily most of us confront with many new ideas but our mental conditionng blocks many and most of them to touch the reality.  

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

I always wonder why best companies to work for or customer experience surveys are not even read by rest of the companies. No copy , no inspiration, no innovation and no change.  (  caution before u change :  certain companies don't need to change at all and yet they survive successfully for generations !!!!  )

Monday, June 20, 2011

5 things MBAs MUST learn from Entrepreneurs

WOW!!! Met an entrepreneur Bharat Jagani, of BTC ( from 180 sq feet shop in 2006 to 15000 sq feet corporate house in 5 years - Focus - Just One Business )  , par excellence in his age of 40. Again ( DH Ambani , Bill Gates & the Likes ) ,  no formal graduation in college but his policies which can teach today's MBAs many things. I met him in Pune on Sunday last. We also had in our group one young girl pursuing her MBA. She was just astonished with the way this man is driving his decisions and business. We also had some interaction and discussions but to cut a long story short I cud list down some of the learning from our meeting with him. 

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

- People ( Employees ) will work for U or Die for U , depends on yr HR Practices & How Top Man walk his talk.

- Taking Risk is indispensable, Managing it Successfully is the Art ( differentiators ) . ( Of-course not by all means, End should not justify Means ) 

- Technology is just Business Support , people are the business drivers.

- Gut Feel & Luck MUST be given due consideration in every decisions. 

Earlier I wrote that entrepreneurship = passion and patience ( ). I wud like to add a few more to the list : vision , daring & relationship.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

8 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 like company PAN and purpose of call.  Thereafter receiver immediately starts with what I want to know without again asking about name, PAN or purpose. She was ready with when I did 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 it should be. They keep asking basic data N number of times, waiting time is high and line get 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.

What we callers/receivers expect them to do:

1) When call centre is busy - mention how long will it take for executive to attend. Better if every drop callers are called back by the call centre. 

2) Caller is calling mostly to solve the problem so in a hurry or in an anxiety. Quickly come to the solution part in the script. Rest can be taken care later or may not need many a times. Most of the time background is too noisy. Avoid. 

3) Train,  Train and retrain the executives - skill set - language, communication , product/service knowledge , how to solve the problems/help. 

4) Solve the problem there and then without waiting or having layers of executives’ therefore more waiting time and chances of disconnection.

5) Post request, immediate action by the company if something is to be done after the call. Usually I get a call after 2 days or week, once I place the request.

6) Outgoing Callers - First and foremost ask about convenience. Whether "Right time to talk?". They come to this after long opening statement. 

7) No hard sell. Once listeners says NO , politely thank and exit. Mostly executives inquire why , when and insist on listening to them. They should listen the prospect first.

8) 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 info and sell them only if they want it not because you want to sell.  

Finally (Male members may not like it) have female executives. They are not only found to be more polite but gets better attention.

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 ) !!!!. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

14 ways to become Interesting Company.

We all are BORING unless we do INTERESTING things. 

On Sunday last I completed one of the finest books on marketing The Referral Engine by John Jantsch. In between I finished other three books in between i.e. Delivering Happiness by Tony , Founder CEO of , Linchpin by Seth Godin & Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Kabini. All the four were excellent READ. I am enriched !!!

Author of 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 -  talks about the way you do business or your product /services?

-  Do they feel WOW!!! while dealing with the company?

- Media - take notice and cover write up or interviews?

- People - eager to join your company (getting good number of resume) and employee turnover ratio is lowest in the industry? Employees are given opportunities to grow personally? Happiness surveys are part of 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 start up 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 offerings? 

- 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?  

- Case Studies - business school studies your company for their class room 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 invite more real life case studies which makes company interesting) 

If no such things (ideally everything must be happening) are happening , of-course then company can be classified as BORING. 

Boring Vs Interesting !!!Agenda is to make company interesting and exciting. Rest will be taken care automatically. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Customer Comes LAST ???

Yes , believe it of no.

Unless an enterprise is prepared to the fullest customer will not come and if at all she comes it will be a disaster for d company or d brand. 

Making of a Movie - Script, dialogue, costume, set, light , camera & then ACTION

Release of Movie - Post production , dubbing, publicity, promos , press release, music release & then AUDIENCE

Event - Hall, parking space, chairs, carpet, musicians, singers, welcome drink , exit gift , host & then GUEST

All precedence has to be the best,  has to be attuned to the BRAND value and Company Culture to attract best & most of the customers. In the above examples which of the elements in the link , taking us to the final entrant,  one can afford to have WEAK??? Any thing WEAK will spoil the final outcome and impact the response from the recipient. Offerings will be as great as its weakest link in the making of it. 

- Manufacturing Capacity/Service Design & Delivery - Share Holders/Lenders (capital Structure) - Modern Machinery - Product  Patent and  Design - Design of Customer Experience  to WOW !!! Customers - Reliable and Quality Raw Material Suppliers - Dependable and Motivated Employees - Robust Business Processes - Attractive and User Friendly Product Packing - Inviting Ad Campaigns - Sensible & Smart Marketing and Selling Approach - Ambiance & Location of Retail Outlets - Soft Skill and Product/Service Training of Front line People  & then comes CUSTOMERS (for life, rave fans and brand promoters).

If one needs CUSTOMERS - one needs to be fully focussed on what it takes to bring customers !!! Focusing on customers means focusing on all the links that lead us to customers. Skipping any links or lowering the quality/focus of any links will not work good for the BRAND.  Anything weak in between will lead to bitter customer experience and will impact customer acquisition & retention (remarkably) . There is no short cut !!!!!. 

When U want to put CUSTOMER First , its putting him last is the only way. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why we need more of KBC than BQC ........

We as a society need more of :

Chefs ( idea, think and design new ) than Cooks (Mere executors of instructions)

Fitness Professionals (or Gym) ( Prevent ) than Doctors (or Hospitals) (Cure)

Entrepreneurs ( Create ) than Job Seekers ( Seek )

Intra-preneurs ( Proactive ) than employees ( Reactive )

Governance ( Ethical ) than Mere Government (Symbol)

Authors (Quality) than writers (Filling the pages)

Value (  Synergy ) than Growth (Numbers)

Profit ( Productivity ) than Sales ( Activity )

Food Distribution (Less of Hunger) than mere Production (More of waste)

Chanda Kochhar / Kiran Bedi /Mamta Benerji ( Self Achievers / Competency ) than Sonia Gandhi / Supriya Sule / Poonam Mahajan ( Forced & by chance Achievers & Dynasty )

Brand in Action  ( Living the promise ) than Brand on Sign Board (Mere Slogan)

Roads ( Execution ) than Holes ( Govt. Corruption )

Jobs ( Eligible ) than Degrees ( Education Factory )

Venture Capital ( Risk Supporters ) than Banks 
( Custodian )

Bridges ( Infrastructure )  than Breaches( Corporate Corruption )

Narendra Modi ( Walking the talk ) than Manmohan Singh 
{( Help and action) - less } 

Change of Heart & Action ( Meaningful ) than mere Religious Yatra-s (Thoughtless)

Yoga Guru Ramdev ( Positive Energy ) than Politician Ramdevji (Misguided Ambition)

KBC ( I also can participate in KBC ) than BQC  (Now I cant, though made a suggestion to Derek Orbrian )

Its not about what we don't need but what we need MORE.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is your company equally Enthusiastic abt Sale & Return !!!

Why Companies cant handle Customer Exit Gracefully??? Isn't it a kind of customer experience also???

I was sold by call center executive of TATA AIG one medical insurance Policy. I was explained certain features and some of my queries were answered to my satisfaction. Hence I decided to go for it and issued cheque. Cheque was collected within 24 hrs by them.

As a part of their business process,  to know whether policy was mis sold ,one more call came to explain me the features of policy. At this stage on seeking clarification , I found that one of the features were  mis sold to me. Since that feature was critical , I decided not to go for the policy. I told the executive to stop the process and return me my cheque. 

Next day again call center executive who first sold me the policy called me , I explained him the issue, he was not sure about the same therefore his senior spoke to me.  Tried to explain me but cud not satisfy me. I told him to return my cheque. 

There after in next 3 days cpl of executives tried to convince me but failed , to all of them I told to return my cheque. They promised to do so. However fact of the matter is today even after 2 weeks , I am still awaiting my cheque.

They collected in 24 hours and couldn't return for 14 days when I want to withdraw, that too at their fault of mis selling.

I wonder why companies do not handle this situation gracefully? Companies have their refund policy and fixed time for refunds. When they want to sale they are open 24 X 7 but for customer who wants refund and return they have policy , rules & absolute apathy !!!  

Here I wud like to mention about return policy of NO questions asked. When companies learn and understand that this is also a kind of experience and most powerful way to get back the out going customer. 

There r very few companies who are graceful to attend to customer refund and return issues. Out there in the market everyone wants to sale but those who can accept return gracefully is the company awaken to customers' 360* need & Thats the winner!!!.Very very few will pass this test. Everyone want to sale but very very few wants to solve customer problem.