Monday, May 26, 2014

Communication is the KEY but ..

We have had a lot of discussion on how poor communication by our ex PM and poor communication campaign by Cong routed them.  Yes communication is very critical it is about reaching out, it is about informing what is being done and what is possible. It is about what is available and what consumers need , it is also about what one knows and what one did. It is about what is one can do and what one stands for.

Many a times technocrats think that their technical skill can replace need for good communication. We find many poor communicator at higher levels. Verbal Written & Gesture - Marketing Advertising & Social Media , at all levels and mediums.
At organisation level and at individual level too communication is very critical. We need communication as main subject in our all college level studies. We are so much obsessed and focused on technical education that need for good communication skill is never considered a basic need for the success. 

But communication will fail if PRODUCT is bad. Good product is a prerequisite for good communication to succeed. Best written book must be able to make it to the list of best selling book. Communication can not make bad product a good one rather in times of social media more communication about not so good product will it make it fail faster.   

We should not worry whether Cong should work on product or communication, as the rule applies to every one and every company. Introspection at all levels is necessary.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

NAMO moved the Cheese and ate it too !!

Who Moved Your Cheese is the apt book to read for all our politicians who are doing so called  introspection. 

Mr Narendra Modi has not only moved the cheese and but also comfortably ate it too. Everyone else during the campaign was denying that no cheese is not moving and they remain focused on old cheese. 

Yes , Governance and Development is the new cheese and others remain focused on caste , communal & secular politics.

Inability to see moving cheese happens when you lose touch with the ground reality and remain surrounded by YES men.   

Same rule equally applies to business enterprises. In a highly competitive market cheese is moving and those who can see is taking early advantage. 

Some will not accept till complete loss of business and some will agree after much of a loss to the business. 

New cheese is better Customer Experience (CX).  People have enough of options for goods and services.  They are looking for better customer experience.  Companies those who remain focused on all other internal competences will soon find that customer are not interested how smart you are internally.What matters to them or what count in the market place is what kind of experience your enterprise put together is delivering to its customers.

Many companies those who claim to be customer centric are only equipped with customer service department. They neither have mapped their customers journeys , nor has thought of offering scintillating rational and emotional experience (Most companies even have no clue about these aspects of designing CX).

Cheese is on the move , companies at the forefront are taking advantage. Companies in denial mode or in no clue mode or surrounded by YES men CXOs will realise the reality and learn lesson like the one learnt by most political parties after 2014 election (Most of them have not and will not learn even now).

Once again recommend the book Who Moved My Cheese.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How 101st Bank can still WIN !!!

Most of us most of the time become so obsessed with doing things that we only focus on WHAT we are doing. We fail to focus on HOW part of it.  

Even answer to WHAT will not give you the correct answer. Asking follow up question HOW will make the things clear. 

We are fighting for freedom is WHAT. It is non violent (HOW) means is what makes what we do meaningful.

We are publishing books is WHAT , we are doing it beautifully is HOW

We are upbringing our children is WHAT , we have learned about parenting and applying those principles is HOW

We are doing our job is WHAT , we are totally committed to it is HOW (or we just do for time pass is also HOW)

We are doing election campaign is WHAT , HOW aggressively or otherwise we are doing will decide its effectiveness. 

Customer Experience fails mostly not because product and services are useless or not up to the expected mark. Companies pays attention only on WHAT they are doing and ignoring HOW part completely. Achieve targets come what may results into mindless calls from call center  . mis-sell & corruption.  Defining and focusing on HOW is immediate priority if enterprise want not only to offer superior customer experience but also wish to become ethical.   

WHAT is rational and HOW is emotional. We human being are emotional creatures. 
WHAT you do/say goes to head and HOW you do/say goes to heart.

Therefore while designing Customer eXperience companies MUST focus on HOW part of  it to connect emotionally with the customers. HOW you make them feel while interacting with your company will decide positive or negative word of mouth (WOM) publicity , possibility of repeat business. 

Once you know about WHAT , deciding HOW can make you different.   
There are 100 banks in the country but 101st bank can still win just by focusing on beautiful HOW !!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Wow ! & Weird

Happy to inform that select posts (about 150) of the blog is finding its place in the book called Wow ! & Weird being selected by  a project by Rashmi Bansal.

I am sure readers will get an opportunity to read all the best posts at one place initially on website and if more readers like it , in the form of ebook and even more readers like it in the form of print book.

Keeping the tradition of many first time ideas of this blog , foreword for the book is written by not well-known industry professional but by a young and dynamic engineer and MBA aspirant Anish Desai (21). They are the GenNext , they not only need innovative ideas but they are driving business landscape with their innovate approach. We not only have to write for them but also have to learn from them too. 

I will soon update readers when the book is available online at 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Products We Buy , Leaders We Choose !!

Products we buy:

1) Fresh with no customer reviews , not sure whether it will serve the purpose , moderate on promise , moderate perceptions about delivery , proven side effects of the company it belongs to. 

Fresh Product from Lousy Govt Company ( Side effects: ineffective , require repairs or call back as not proven track record of delivery , moderate chances of wasting our resources if it fails , Coming from Govt company so issues will be addressed on scaling up  )  

2) Fresh but with some customer reviews, not confident whether it will last long. High on promise ,  low on delivery , may have major side effects.

Chinese Products ( Side effects: health hazard, unsafe for use , high chances of wasting our resources if it fails, issues cant be addressed if it fails as comes without guarantee )

3) Experienced with customer reviews some bad and many good , confident that it can be long lasting and will serve the purpose , high on promise high on delivery , may have some side effect.

Apple (Side effects : Costly, theft prone, low chances of failing , brand image will make them addressing issues , if any quickly )

However of we don't select from these brands we will have unbranded product with nothing guaranteed at all. 

Do we also select leaders like we choose our products? Election 2014 is a choice between select brands or unbranded products.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

When does your customers' journey begin and end?

In Healthcare segment of service providers usually people are happy with the actual diagnosis / treatment but people are usually unhappy with all what it takes to avail the healthcare service. What it takes means proper pre-consulting guidance, administration , registration, payment and waiting during consultation. In case of In-house patients support and facilities for family attendant , visitors are inadequate as it is not considered core services and therefore ignored.   

Now lets leave aside the industry and look at across the industry. Core product and services are given required attention but everything else considered secondary are mostly ignored. Insurance policy features are great but agent will mis sale , call center will mis handle, claim settlement will be delayed , real estate developer will built class project but companies fumble at sales team , buying process and journey ,  post buying journey  and possession.

Imagine a restaurant serving mouth watering food but ambiance , hygiene ,  waiter attire and training , queue management are not in sync - what will be the fate of the restaurant? 
I have seen in spite of core product i.e food is tasty and talk of the town but unless all other peripheral aspects are take  equal care of restaurant going out of business. 

Therefore the question is what is the starting point and ending point of product and service your enterprise is offering? From where customer journey begins and where it ends? Every enterprise must know this as customers are equally concerned with all peripheral experiences that the business offers while offering its core product and services. & most critical ignoring this aspects can make or break the business in this new experience world we all are living in.  

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.