Friday, March 14, 2014

What Farmers Can Teach Our Entrepreneurs ?

REAP WHAT YOU SOW , is a universal truth. 

If your organisation has systems , processes, targets , thinking and culture of MAKING MONEY at ANY cost. Your people are 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, breaks laws. In the process your organisation will become anti social organisation though doing so called legal business.  You will attract and recruit people with similar culture and mindset. 

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 requirements. Business culture percolates from the top is seed for the business. You cant 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 impact the customer experience your company is offering to your customers. 

When you need to offer Kashmiri Apple roped with organic fertilizers , you need that kind of environment and nurturing.  You will not get the same Apple if you grow it in different environment and offers inorganic fertilizers like cosmetic culture. 

Therefore if you wish to attain SUSTAINABLE competitive advantage of offering delightful customer experience (CX), it starts with seed i.e. culture.  Only system, processes and training wont last much. Look at all 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 sometime or for some products/services or for some processes  but it wont be sustainable if it is not through culture change. Seed has to be right for delightful products or else delightful products are by chance and not by choice. 

Problem is top management expect best of the fruits - business performance but they turn blind eye on what it takes.  

The above report indicates 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. 

Bottom line is clear , if you want better bottom line , focus on CX and if you want better CX focus on seed i.e. culture at the top. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

LIC & AUDI New Ad & MISSING Customer Focus

If you have noticed recent LIC Ad played on TV one can realise how much companies are customer focus and care for its customers. One important aspect we observe during insight research that there is a difference between what customers say and what they do. What they do give more actionable insight. 

Likewise companies may say and slogan that they are customer friendly. Even they put up the same in their mission statement. It is in vogue these days. But most companies just say that but don't do things in commensurate with what they say and shout. 

The LIC Ad in reference talks about product features for say 90% of the time slot and in 10% time slot they talk about what IRDA has asked them to speak in the interest of the customers. Do they not know that what they speak in so much of hurry is not possible for any human being to understand? Absolute compliance focus mindset without even bother to know whether it is achieving its purpose. They have money to market their products but no money to educate and caution the customers - forget voluntarily but even statutorily. 

This is the largest & Govt insurance company of the country. How can we expect other private companies to follow IRDA guidelines? Today even IRDA instructed another large Govt Company SBI life to refund premium of Rs.275/- crs - Why ? They mis-sold the policy. 

While we are on Ad, another Ad which drew my attention is Audi 40 points Ad appearing in newspaper since couple of days. They expect people to read all 40 points assuming people are free for this. In this attention deficit world advertisers must draw attention smartly and also communicate crisply. How about if Audi Ad has classified all these 40 points on need, ease-convenience and delight categories? People will read what is relevant for them & that too quickly. Just listing 40 points means I lost my attention on 7th and missed some very important distinction which was somewhere below.  

Communicate with potential customers what you really need to communicate. Your over enthusiasm about your products and services many a times may miss the real communication. Become customer to know your customers. Simple but..........difficult.  

This is the reality across all industries. 

In such scenario imagine a blue ocean available to the company which is actually keeping customers at the center in letter & spirit and offers delightful experience. It is a huge advantage. Customers are looking for such a company to embrace.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sitting is NEW Smoking then What is NEW Solvency Ratio ?

" Sitting is NEW Smoking. " Rujuta Diwekar leading diet consultant writes in her new book - 'Dont 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 through out the day is necessary to remain fitter and avoid many modern day diseases.  

Applying this research to our topic of Customer Experience (CX);

Customer Experience Index is 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 if not healthy, all these robust ratios are just temporary. CX Index will indicate whether these health will be maintained , is improving or deteriorating. 

Problem is , like we don't measure how many hours we sit during the day, we even don't measure CX index of our enterprise.  Things we don't measure , we don't focus upon. But the fact remains , 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 critical measure of enterprise health. It can also be used as preventive measures to stop deterioration of financial health. In can tell in advance state of financial health to expect. 

You can measure CX Index by NPS , CES or combination of the two or define your own CX scorecard. You can do it in more detailed way by measuring experiences at all the touch points, different customer segments/persona, different product wise. More intense the scorecard ,  more it will be actionable. 

Before your CFO tells you 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. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

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.

World is changing but we have fix view of the world around us.  Customer preferences are changing , they seek better and better experiences , entrepreneurs and ways of dong business is changing but we know what we know. We hardly change. Mind patterns (Also known as Mindset) are extremely difficult to change. 

We have MBA and 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 by class room studies. Education qualification should de-freeze your way of thinking and not fix your way of thinking and kills imagination power.   

Actions of 7 billion people daily is 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 stands not for what we used to know INFORMATION but for IMAGINATION. To have CIO in your organisation first step is to become ONE.