Wednesday, February 6, 2013

CSR Drama Vs Unhappy Employees

Yesterday got news of one more premature death (heart attack) at the age of sub 30.  That reminded me of my 2011 blog We all are dying in EMI - Courtesy Job Related Stress . The deceased was working in forex dealing room. Probably one of the most stressful jobs. 

Forget the nature of job, all jobs have become stressful , huge demand on human being at work place. Why? Cuz Finance professionals have taken over the performance matrix. Only and only finance matrix is considered to evaluate the success of the entity.   At the cost of mass stress and unhappiness , handful of the shareholders are enjoying fruits of success. Our models and matrix have become unsustainable. Forget environment and community, people working for the organisation are facing biggest threat. 

This CSR drama must end and actual CSR must start from within. Within the organisation. Making their people & customer happy is the real CSR for every business. What is the fun of CSR when there is tax evasion , poor quality , mis-sell & pathetic people policies? 

Zapposs of the world and happiness officer like  Alexander Kjerulf of the world MUST spread like avalanche in the business world. We must have happiness matrix given equal if not more importance to finance matrix to measure success of the enterprise. 

We are talking about sustainable business practice, starting point is - happy employees & happy customers and not just shareholders.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Means of Mass Irritation

To better customer experience BAN all out bound call centers. Your brand experience is getting diluted by mindless calls. 

I know some reputed brands having lousy call center policy which irritates. Irritates recipient of your calls. Outbound call centers irritates more than it can sell.

Sometimes irrelevant things not given attention drowns the entire experience. Don’t leave anything to chance and out of your customer experience design spectrum.

Bottom line : Your customer experience is as good as your weakest link in the chain/touch-points.

Icing on the Cake is fine but not at the cost of Cake

Customer Experience is not just about DELIGHT.
Reduction in complaints is also better customer experience.
Delighting while failing in the basics will not work. Customer wants solution to the problem quickly and in simplest possible way. Making it extremely simple and quicker is also great customer experience.
Need, ease and delight is the order companies must follow to travel experience journey.
Icing on the Cake is fine but not at the cost of Cake.

Homework for TODAY and Everyday

Need : Recheck whether your offerings are fulfilling the NEED of the customer TODAY. (yesterday was different)
Ease: Remove all obstacles from the way which creates difficulty, takes longer time, requires greater effort for customers to reach you for whatever the reason. EASE of doing business with suppliers is critical for all customers. (for all B to X  businesses)
Delight: & yes, DELIGHT on top will make the day not only for customers but also for suppliers. (Who doesn’t like repeat business, word of mouth referral opportunity, free of cost brand building?)
Home work for the day – Check the above reality TODAY and everyday as TODAY’s need, ease and delight for your customers may not be the same tomorrow.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Who is building your BRAND?

Customer Experience is EXTREMELY important in the times of Social Media.
Last week we celebrated our marriage anniversary. My wife had read an article in the newspaper about one restaurant known for mouth watering food , visits of celebrities there and all new varieties of food.
Plan was finalized.
Just on the day I was looking to get clue of the location on the internet and that provoked me to just check the review of the restaurant.
& to my shock and surprise, most reviews were against the restaurant. Not only food quality reviewed by the customers was pathetic even hygiene was not up to the mark , few customers stated.
Rather than me telling my wife, I ask her to read reviews. Her mind changed immediately and our plan also changed for the day. May be we were saved from pathetic experience on the important day.
Point is:
- Companies MUST focus on creating better experience and then leave it to the customers to spread the word. Yes companies can play a role in facilitation in that.
- Paid media , paid/unpaid reviews or high claim advertisement will not work.
- Create awareness about the brand and let customers speak .
Generation NOW is highly connected with the help of Mobile Internet. Words spread fast, faster than one can imagine. Traditional advertising and marketing models and mindset will quickly give way to CUSTOMER Speak.
Role of Brand building has moved from creative AD agencies to CEO , Customer Experience Designers & Social Media Champions.
Customer experience is the end result of everything organisation does. No one can hide in the name of BACK OFFICE. Every action in the organisation impacts customer experience.
We all r on alert mode in experience economy. SO CALLED adverting agencies and brand champions  will find it difficult to get the desired results. ROI of such initiatives will diminish , diminish quickly.
Who is building your brand? Your Customers or Ad Agencies/Paid Media ?

We the (reactive) People:

We the (reactive) People: 
1) Cigarette Smoking  is Injurious to health & can cause Cancer.
2) Going to Gym and doing Exercise is good and must for Fitness, else disease and medicine dependent life 
3) Right eating is important for healthy life , else obesity , dependency, diseases 
4) Customer Experience is the sustainable competitive advantage else low margin, redundant business , possibility to go out of business  
Two things r common in all the above 4 statements.
First – Everyone know this.   Second - Hardly many takes action to get the benefits of the knowledge
Why:  Why we don’t ACT even if we know what is right and dangers of doing wrong ? 
Love for Status-Quo & Procrastination. Unless we forced to ACT even when the action is for the survival, we don’t ACT. All of us like to Re-Act to the situation. Most do not like to Pro-Act.
When we are diagnosed with cancer , we leave cigarette immediately.
When we are diagnosed with some diseases or become obsess we go to gym and eat right food.
When we are about to go out of business , all options are over , margins are shrinking , competitor/innovation has taken over our market share – we react and focus of better customer experience creation.
Stephen Covey of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People will tell you that the very first habit is to be proactive. Covey explained that to be proactive “means more than merely taking initiative.  It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives.  Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.”
Be it business or personal level, we refuse to be PROACTIVE. Circumstances will force us to ACT.
Customer Experience is the most important thing every business CEOs and Entrepreneurs agrees/understands but where is the FORCE? Where is the compulsion ? Waiting for PRO to turn RE, is too costly , yes very costly and sometime FATAL.
Diagnosis Test for Status of Customer Experience : 
- Our company has customer experience statement
- Our business Process Team work Closely with Customer Experience Team
- Our advertising/marketing messages matches with experience our product/service offers to our customers. We make it sure.
-  Our people know the impact they create on the customer experience
- Our top management participates in customer issues/complaints/initiatives
- Our distribution channels are trained on company’s customer policy
- We measure customer experience our company creates.
If  answer to the most of the above statements are NO,  your company is already suffering Customer Experience leakages &  call for action is loud and clear.

Do you think your company is proactive in the matter of customer experience initiatives?

Brand Communication Vs Brand Execution

Mr. Narendra Modi is a very good Marketer. He is marketing his state so vigorously, that perhaps no other CM can match his passion and vigor. No two views here.  Opposition also agrees and says so.
Issue is what about SUBSTANCE ? Whether successful marketing is possible without matching investment in product and service ?
Marketing that follows good product and service development will only succeed. Howsoever aggressive marketing may be , it will fail miserably if the product and service being marketed is lousy. Therefore good marketing can not make lousy product successful. At the same time bad marketing can fail good products.
Bottom line is both product and marketing has to be excellent. Product can fail without the smart marketing but smart marketing have to  fail  without smart products/services.
“I rather die of bad marketing than a bad product!”
Most companies are smart marketer but not enough is done to make product or service smart that can give wow !!! customer experience.  Examples of product and service failure due to weak marketing is rare whereas example of failure of smart marketing campaigns due to weak product and service is more often.
Modi is smart marketer but that is because he was substance to offer to the voters. He cant be a successful marketer unless he has invested in his offings to the voters. Most political parties are just good campaigners but nothing to be shown on ground  That is a problem and that is the difference.
Bollywood is the best example where companies have become smart marketeer without investing  adequate in product.
So next time when you are deciding on marketing campaign just re check whether your product and services deserve this kind of marketing &  if the answer is NO , invest and work more on product and services than marketing communication. Make brand promise you wish to communicate through marketing campaign actually executable while using your offerings.
Does your product LIVE your brand promise  marketed by your marketer ??

Friday, December 7, 2012

Are you a SHAKER or Looking for One ??

Unless you shake up the bottle, you will get diluted version of the medicine. Unless you share up the institutions /companies, you get diluted performance. 

Therefore shaking up MUST be a part of regular activity if medicine or institutions have to perform at its finest potential. 

Our Institutions and companies for that matter perform below the potential merely due to non shaking up regularly. Mr Arvind Kejriwal & Team Anna have shaken up our democracy. People are now more forthcoming , speaking up and participating in democratic process and issues concerning them. 

Even at companies new CEO can bring life if he is enthusiastic and have capability to see things in different light. Status-Quo is the biggest challenge everywhere. Status Quo is nothing but unshaken condition. 

Look at the leaders who shook up the things. 

Public Life: 

Arvind Kejriwal , Narendra Modi , Nitish Kumar , Rajiv Gandhi , TN Seshan, CAG Vinod Rai , Manmohan Singh of 1991 , Ex BMC Commissioner Subodh Kumar........


Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Narayana Murthy (IT), Kishor Biyani (Retail), Dhirubhai Ambani 
(Capital Market and Business)...... 

There are many institutions and companies that are looking for someone who really can shake them up and enable them to realise and/or  regain its true potential. 

Shekhar Suman Show Movers and Shakers might have lived its life, but we need Movers/Shakers everywhere, or else we all r likely to go sleep. 

Are you a Shaker or waiting for one?  

To become Shaker: 

- Ask Why as often 

- Ask Why Not more often

- Challenge Established Practice for betterment (better Speed, lower cost, higher reach, more revenue, happier people )

- Change Responsibility in Organisation

- Re-imagine world around You (every year). Execute what you can influence.

Name some of the Movers & Shakers known to you? How they Shook the world around them.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

SPEED UP – The only REFORM we want from Government

When we design customer experience , business processes r the most important thing after culture at the top and people.  Even that is true for Governments. Business and Governance processes are the most critical deterrents for offering delightful experience to customers/citizen. But when the matter is only of delight, we can ignore the same in favour of necessity, but when it has become necessity for development ,  economic growth and even for timely justice , we can neither ignore it nor remain inactive to live with that.  We can and must attack these procedures and processes which is delaying our - development, justice and everything in life.
Be it birth certificate,  death certificate, be it permission to start business or wind up the same,  be it permission to start construction or get conveyance of property, be it taking action by police for reported crimes, or admission in hospitals - everywhere delay  and follow up. Its consuming time of the nation enormously.
Recent global business survey held by World Bank puts India at 132 out of 185 nations for Ease of Doing business.  
Why doing business should be so uneasy? Why dealing with government departments is so uneasy and horrible experience of every citizen? Dealing with corruption is one part, getting things done in time is the most critical challenge. These kind of unease breeds corruption.
Mr. Kejriwal is right when he says there has to be  a Citizen Charter which states within HOW many days the application for anything in any govt (state/central or local) department in any state will be disposed off. & it must be done that way. Period.
Delay is even costing our social behaviors. People know justice will be invariably delayed hence there is no fear of law.
Govt is hell bent on Retail FDI and delaying Parliament Sessions ,  HOW many bills r pending other than Retail FDI? I fail to understand why Govt thinks Retail FDI is the Mother of all reforms? So much so that Parliament sessions are being sacrificed.
We are living with Govt with misplaced priorities as far as economic reforms are concerned. Why improvement of Ease of Doing Business ranking from 132 to under 50 is not a MISSION of the Govt?
Multiple problems can be solved – speed of doing business will attract more investments, faster implementation of projects, faster economic and infrastructure development, lower corruption, lower crime (speedier trials r deterrent) , speedier alleviation of poverty, reduction of stress (today people are stressed as things are not moving and they want it to move faster)  - and finally even victory in election.
I am not sure what benefit people and  Govt will derive from Retail FDI but Governance process rejuvenation will certainly help citizen, govt and nation as a whole. It will be hugely better citizen experience. Just don’t do any reform till 2014 and focus only on this. People will thank the Govt ……..  and VOTE may be one of the way to thank!! Who is listening and thinking in Govt?
Share your experience about - delay in governance/business  process. How things can be improved?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rajat Gupta & MCHI - Court Judgement

Well the title suggests some co-relation between the two judgement

Yesterday Mumbai High Court delivered a judgement on VAT to be Payable by the builders. Therefore no relief to the builders for which the case was in court. 

I have been observing since last few years, every court and consumer body are delivering judgement against the builder or builder body MCHI. There is a news about some or the other cheating by builders more often. Press is full of negative news about the builder community. 

In such a scenario what is the role of MCHI or CREDAI? I haven't seen any advertisement in the press by MCHI other than their regular exhibition 3/4 times a year. That are the only times they are seen in the press. That's it. 

What financial market regulator SEBI does? They are out in the press many a times during the year to educate and make investors aware about the market. They are concerned about the fraudulent companies and think that investors should not be fooled or looted by these companies and there fore education and awareness. These kind of initiatives build perception. 

Rajat Gupta of ex Mckinsey got support letter from 400 top notch people of the world and his sentence was reduced substantially by the judge. It was only token sentence of Jail. His good work and his perception about otherwise individual conduct had an impact on the judge and it saved him from rigorous punishment. 

Therefore if one wants to be seen and heard from the heart , perception in the market plays significant role. The way good perception helps to reduce the gravity , bad perception will act negatively. 

MCHI talks about their consumer grievances cell. Why don't they publish data on how many complaints they received and how many issues were resolved? Why don't they come out in press periodically to make consumer aware about bad practices in the industries and dos and donts while buying home or dealing with builders? No concerns for consumers  and only time to go to press is when they want to sale their products. This will not work.   

Bad perception is being created by some of their members by their conduct and no effort to create good perception effort by some aggressive proactive action , how can you win trust of consumers, authorities and even courts? 

Food for thought for MCHI to ACT and ACT proactively for the betterment of consumers at large and not only for the benefit of their members. Rajat Gupta and MCHI both are impacted by their perception - one positively and one negatively.