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

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220789 (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 http://www.clickasiasummit.com

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.

Friday, November 11, 2011

12 Ways to leverage Social Media for Businesses & Professionals

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

How are we leveraging our social presence and networks?? Your stories invited. 

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

Business Networking Sites like LinkedIn is very important to get connected with someone with whom otherwise we even cant dream to meet ever. Small businesses and professionals can and must leverage these unprecedented opportunities.   

Big question is HOW ?? Luckily there are many HOWs.

- Get connected with potential customer or experts.

- Get connected with your customers for update and quick customer service.

- Professional can showcase their expertise by contributing to their groups regularly.

- Many businesses also hire by selecting skills from LinkedIn profiles.

- Get handle in the big corporate house when you want an inroads.

- Not just remain online connects. Whenever possible or make it possible to meet up. Network to physical meet is really warm & interesting.

- Regular product updates and launch on these sites will attract target audience.

- Educate people about your products , its usage, maintenance, support etc on a regular basis. Soon you will become famous and become known for yr products. I know someone on LinkedIn who regularly writes about new cell phone models. So next time when I want to know about cell hones, my first resource will be she. Same applies to yr area of product and services.

- Follow groups of your interest to know more and network with people from your peer group.

- Share something interesting from your friends/connects with yr groups i.e. which may be interesting for yr suppliers or customers.

- Build community around your offerings. Invite experts or share useful insights with them periodically.

- 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 thru 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.

If you are in Mumbai and want to know more one high profile event is taking place in Jan 2012.  Click here to know more and participate http://www.clickasiasummit.com

& yes share your social media to business success stories.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

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

Scene 1 - Today on linked I read that  someone disliked Blue Dart services for what ever reason. He tweeted abt it and his message went to all his social media foot print like FB and linked in etc to his friends and fans.Out of these many would re-tweet this message and Blue Dart might have lost some or many future customers.

Scene 2 -  Few months ago I liked the way flip-kart.com delivered my parcel. I blogged abt it. Many might have read it and shared it too.

Scene 3 - When I wanted to buy my cell phone I visited many product review sites. I decided to go for particular brand and model based of-course on technical specifications but finally ,  users reviews were ultimate determinants,  not that brand's marketing message.

How many of us are interested in TV or website commercials ??? We know most marketeers are liers, commit more & deliver less, talks sweet just to sale. Till recent years we had no options but to get fooled often by every brands. But now no longer. 

Suddenly all of them are now exposed.Exposed miserably as stated abt Blue dart above. Social Media medium & its access through mobile is final death knell for traditional marketers. 

Just shut up , create memorable customer experience and allow/ enable customers to become brand ambassadors. Social Media Examiners' Michael says " Content is king. Get content to get customers."  Marketeers role is to educate customers, rest will be taken care by customers themselves.  Users will share their experiences and buyers will go by users experience. 

5 why(s) of this new reality :

- When u spend , people don't believe u.

- When u interrupt their entertainment and work , they hate u and ignore u (TV, Website, SMS and calls).

- When u don't talk and just do it, words spread.

- When u enable customers to share their experience, they become brand ambassadors.

- When customers are sharing their experiences, u will be at your best.

Even if your customers are not using social media, these applies to all (We all are now more connected).

Need to overhaul, redefine, transform the way companies' market and reach out to their customers. Events like Click Asia 2012 http://www.clickasiasummit.com is not the indication of shape of the things to come but about the situation we are already in. Wake up { u may engage teenager(s) to guide yr marketing team HOW abt social and digital media strategy ).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

2 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 job but with no other option and hence compelled to do job to survive. Its not our natural choice. Yes, this is not any survey result but learning from KBC participants. I think its a representative class of the masses across the globe. 

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

I think this is directly related to another inner feeling of masses of not like to do job /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 lives. 

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

1)  Make their people love their jobs (Doing whatever it takes).

2) Working for Financial Freedom of employees before they think about shareholder expectations (We have hefty reserves and surplus in company balance sheets but employees working for these are in debt and not happy).

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

We have corporations like Tony of zappos.com (Entrepreneur and author of book Delivering Happiness) or Ricardo Semler (Entrepreneur and author of 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 MOST important and difficult responsibility of the business. 

Two takeaway - Making jobs interesting & employees reap benefits of success and shareholder should not earn at the cost of employees.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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 Lagaan or Koi Mil Gaya many a times and knew who will win the cricket or basketball match , for that matter we see match highlights ever after we have seen the entire match. We do this repeatation just to watch HOW part again and again.

Someone has won Rs. 5 crs in KBC we all know by now, but still  we will see the show to know HOW of the victory. Result is less important than HOW of achieving the result. 

 Venture capitalist is pretty excited about WHAT of your business plan but its HOW that decides for or against investing. 

In school days we many a times know answer of our Maths sum but we get 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.

Discovery and other science channels have many program me on HOW it works or Built.
Mahatma Gandhi or President Obama or Sachin Tendulkar or Amitabh Bachchan or DH 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.

Like I promote Customer Experience as Brand In Action. Rest all is Gyan , HOW is Gyan in Action.

Point for all us to consider is to focus on HOW of what you do. Beautify / Focus/ Committed on your HOWs and it doesn't matter what you do. It will be noticed and acknowledged. In his books 7 Habits ................, Stephen Covey says "Sharpen your Saw" , yes sharpen your HOW.