Friday, September 30, 2011

People who come to you for PRICE will leave u for PRICE

Yes. Obvious & TRUE.

Price is the ONLY differentiation your company ofter 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 u immediate business but will not take you long way in business. 

Thin margin to get business is riskier than  more margin but less business. Mere volume is without adequate profitability is company on steroids. High on workout and low on proteins. As with high workout muscles break down in our body & without adequate protein it cant be built , similarly with high turnover without adequate margin , business breaks down. Yes unsustainable activities without capability to invest for 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 premium. What differentiation brand offers ?? Comfort and confidence that product is of reasonable quality, customer service would be good if not outstanding, complaint would be handled professionally and with care, reasonable exchange policy and service centers.   

Therefore when Price  has become a major deciding factor, offering a WOW !!!! factors in your product and service design is very critical to become & remain competitive. Compete on WOW factors, there is 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 ( pl share brands which matches best in the world brands in customer experience & service excellence ) } rare yet or hence sustainable. Customer will stay with these brands irrespective of price of their offerings. 

Next time when you get the deal merely on the basis of price, its an ALARM, think inward and check your business strategy and product and service design.  It requires IMMEDIATE attention { & action too} .

Sunday, September 25, 2011

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

Gems stated in 1 to 9 below I read about a decade ago.

  1. The One Man Show - Does the company allow key person to grow in their jobs and make key decisions?
  2. No Succession - Is someone being groomed to replace the president?
  3. High Profile / Low Tech - How does company's hardware compare with that of its chief competition?
  4. The Giant Customer Trap - Would the company survive if it lost biggest customer?
  5. Operating on Old News - Does the company have an accurate financial snapshot of its operations on a monthly or fortnightly basis?
  6. Touring Without Road Map - Does the company have a written business plan & its still valid?
  7. Banking Blues - Does the company communicate with lenders regularly?
  8. Hazardous Growth -Expanding too quickly on a non sustainable basis ?
  9. The Change Factor - Whether company and how much company has changed during last 12 months?

This was the fact about a decade 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 company propose to offer.

y) Not engaging customers on social media (SM) platforms by providing great insights on the products and services being offered.  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 & some what weird board members.

As we advance in the TIME we need lesser reasons to fail { even survive and succeed }. Test Check TODAY. Its all early warning signs. Be alarmed NOW or be surprised and shocked, later. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Only Sales , no after Sales , forget RETURN or Refund return policy is exciting - 365 days return & free both ways shipping. Neither shipping charges within the US nor shipping charges on goods u return. 

Customer HAPPINESS is the FINAL agenda not getting money from customer any how & then let the customer go to hell, we will not listen. , brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. Their sales people sales the plan for 1 year and indicate that in case intermittent termination just write to us and we will do the needful. (Mis-sell to fulfill their targets)

However actual picture is quite different. They will hardly respond to your complaints, neither they cancel or stop EMIs if the customer is not happy. They want to complete the contract period any how irrespective of customer happiness or satisfaction. 
Wording they use: "However, as per the contract signed by you, we will not be able to hamper the tenure of the contract before the stated contract period; however we will always provide services to you for enhancing your business profoundly. Hence we will be unable to discontinue the ECS."

They are ready to whatever but not refund of money of discontinue of ECS. Pity. Hope Mr. Amitabh Bachchan or rather some customer champions could have been used to change the company culture instead of promoting uncultured (i.e. no customer centric) brand.

I fail to understand why companies want to earn at the cost of customer unhappiness?? When a person  becomes a customer , there are certain expectations. No one will waste his or companies' time to buy and then return or discontinue without a reason. Unfortunately most companies became less interested in customer once the goods and services are sold and even least interested when customer have a complaint or want refund on return of goods.

Companies invest huge amount on brand ambassadors but hardly any time or investments on actual brand experience creation or culture change.   

However SOCIAL MEDIA will change this mindset of the companies. Companies MUST learn this  proactively or else brand value is at stake (Huge and Quick).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Awaken to the Realities of your Balance Sheet

Earlier I wrote about Importance of Profit Vis a Vis Cash-flow. Yes Cash-flow is necessary but not sufficient. However Cash-flow is infact NECESSARY. 

I recently came in touch with a company with an EPS of Rs.100 plus. Yes they have earned huge profit on their equity but they have defaulted on loan repayment consistently for last 6 months. 

Reason: Profit Earned but not en-cashed. Investors usually goes by EPS and PE etc ratios for deciding about investments. How erroneous it cud be???
On the other side entrepreneurs mostly do not feel the realities of the business performance as long as cash flow is flowing in. Test Check - Just remove potential bad debts , dead stock & dead investments from the Net-worth and see the result. Is the Net-worth is  still positive , thank GOD. I mean it. Most entrepreneurs ignore these facts or even do not know this realities as long as they have cash to take care of their own needs. 

Therefore Profit & Cash-flow both MUST go hand in hand and must be closely watched by the entrepreneurs to remain in business for longer. Any one missing or ignored will KILL the business sooner than expected. 

Weak Cashflow will KILL quicker , weak Profit in the long run. 

Awaken to the realities of your Balance Sheet { Today }.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to Guide for Real Estate Companies

This week I am releasing my first WHITE PAPER on How to Create WOW !!!!! Customer Experience in Real Estate Industry. 

Its about :
1)   What is Customer Experience?
2)   Why Real Estate?
3)   Deterrents to WOW !!!
4)   Compulsions to WOW !!!
5)   Advantage of the Initiatives
6)   How to Action these initiatives  

The same can be found at How to Guide for Real Estate Companies to Create WOW!!!! Customer Experience.

Njoy and share your feedback.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Vacancy for Anna Hajare for Corporate Cleansing. Any One?

Based on the principles of Swami Vivekanand "Yuva" Programme on CNN IBN last Sunday was highly inspiring. It shows how people from different walks of life { educated & can get high paying corporate jobs } devote their life for the betterment of the needy. Be it poor, women or children. Scope for doing good is immense & these people r actually doing it.  

Movement by Mr. Anna Hajare and its team Dr Kiran Bedi and Mr Arvind Kejriwal is another chapter of people involved in mass movement of general public good. Selfless is the key word. Dr Bedi's dynamic public life is known to everyone. Mr. Kejriwal is IIT Grad and did his IRS also. He could have enjoyed like most our corrupt bureaucrats life of power and money. However he refused to be part of rotten system and choose to become change agent. Many may not be aware that he was awarded Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in 2006, for activating India's Right to Information movement at grassroots and social activities to empower the poorest citizens to fight corruption by holding the government answerable to the people. 

All of us are in some or many points in life encounter a situation where we need to indulge in corrupt practice either for getting things done or getting out of the turn favour. As a professional we also get tempted to fudge our company accounts, evade taxes, declare wrong statements with authorities, claim wrong tax benefits, sign audit report which are not true and fair and on top of this claim to be a smart breeds of all.  Ability and capacity to do wrong has become our key strength.

We have lost capacity to think that someone without any selfish motive can do some good work for others. Our business models even in social space have become questionable.No mission and vision statement talks abt way of doing business. I have verified Vision Statements of some of the top Indian corporates. Ethics and values find place in hardly few of these statements.    

Corruption at high places are two way game.  One demanding and one offering. Indian money at Swiss Bank are of these people. Anna's team is taking care of the first one. We need someone to take care of 2nd side. {corporates shy away in publicly supporting anti corruption movement courtesy: they are either part of it or afraid to become victim of govt's witch hunt like Kejriwal ,Dr Bedi and Bhushans. No courage left as personal stakes are high. }

Next movement should be about Ethical Corporate and business behaviors. Annual report MUST have statement by none other than CMD that company has not indulged in corrupt and unethical practices in achieving these results. It must be applicable to all companies across the board at one go unlike IFRS and XRBL where implementation  is stage wise.  

Who will take up the role of Mr. Anna Hajare for corporate and business cleansing? { Even ICAI has failed miserably in controlling ethical behaviors of their members. However its about personal values and integrity towards the self conscious and institute can not manage the same beyond a point. }

Friday, September 2, 2011

Michhami Dukkadam

As human beings, we know that we are not perfect therefore we do from time to time say things that hurt people's feelings.

It is sometimes hard in the circumstances to either seek reconciliation or ask for forgiveness, as we do not consider ourselves to be in the wrong.  It's our dreaded pride that gets in the way and can thus influence our judgment.

So the greatest essence of this auspicious occasion is to do some soul searching and show our greatness in asking gracefully for forgiveness for any hurt, however large or small, that we might have inflicted on others either consciously or unconsciously.

So on this auspicious occasion of Samvatsari, we beg your forgiveness for all the pain we might have inflicted on you by words, deeds or thoughts during the entire year.