Monday, April 29, 2013

Financial Ratios - Outdated to measure SUCCESS

ROI, ROCE, EPS, PE, EBIDTA  all these words have assumed so much importance in business world that what it takes to achieve is completely ignored. Cost of achieving better and better these figures is so huge that it consumes humanity , environment , ethics and every other things. 

Capitalist society we are in has attached extreme importance to the figures/ratios stated above. All our business actions are only measured on these parameters.  There is no measurement of corrupt practices indulged , environment polluted , stress generated among people working for the organisation , customers fooled , under-served and even cheated to achieve these ratios. 

Single minded focus on financial ratios is killing the ethical and human factors in business. Growth at all cost is doing harm to the society and benefits handful of shareholders. We are talking about sustainable business practices  keeping environment in focus however what about sustainability of ethical norms human sustainability ?  

We have seen in the movie Guru , one company takes on the Govt rules by breaking and indulging in unethical practices. Who has authorised them?  What if every company start doing that? Just for personal gain ethical standards have been broken and justified for business & share holders wealth creation. We live by quoting that as an illustrious example. It is nothing but collapse of value system and unethical conduct for personal gain of a few. 

Just focus on financial success is the cause of all these nonsense prevailing in business world these days. There are a few companies like which make DELIVERING HAPPINESS as their business mission and not only financial ratios. We need more and more of such companies and rest assured in times to come these are the kind of companies which will be valued more than just financial ratio focused companies. Non manipulative and socially sustainable measures will be in demand, 

Any one of the Indian companies dare to do things differently ? 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Before Content Marketing Begins ............

There is lot of talk these days about power of content and digital marketing. Every business has sleeved up to delve into this new medium to lure customers.  Content and digital marketers busy in strategy making. Lots of buzz and all new excitement and hope. 

However in a hurry to get customers most businesses have forgotten to take first step in content/digital marketing.

Yes fundamental rule of content and digital marketing is one need to have product and service which is offering delightful customer experiences. Without first focusing on making experience delightful and impeccable , focusing merely on content/digital market can and will misfire

Going viral applies equally to great things as well as to not so great & rotten things. In a hurry to sale quickly and to take first mover advantage,  companies will damage its reputation miserably by jumping into content/digital marketing unplanned and without taking first step. 

Like any other marketing initiatives this new medium also requires great product and services capability to talk about. However not able to do so severely damages the brand and reputation unlike any other traditional medium. 

Even in his best selling book Platform author Michael Hyatt talks about creating compelling product/service in the first 7 chapters before he talks about Platform for the products in rest of the 53 chapters. 

Beware and become aware about this most important FIRST STEP.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Don't care for customers ? Focus on Customer Experience !!

Even if you don't care for customers, offering delightful customer experience in times of 

social media and word of mouth marketing is even good business 

strategy.  It improves both - top and bottom lines.  

How to Create Word of Mouth Magic, in his blog author Dave Kerpen explains  with his real life experiences. 

Is Customer Experience on your business agenda at top management meetings? If not than your business is still struggling to know the purpose of its existence. Keep trying.  

WHY we MUST do the things for the FIRST time ?

WHY we MUST do the things for the FIRST time ? 

- It makes us believe that we can do it
- It enhances our confidence
- It makes us understand importance of team work
- It tells us how lousy it can be
- It enables people to give their feedback to improve it further 
- It also makes you stronger to digest negative comments and yet not give up

Most important lesson - It teaches us HOW NOT to do things for the 2nd time. This is very critical. 

Therefore  whatever you want to do , just do it for the first time asap. Just ship and deliver do not procrastinate or remain in self doubt. Learning will follow only after the FIRST Time. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The First Question

The First Question

Customer Experience Management is the mother of all enterprise level initiatives like lean, six sigma, tqm, process engineering, business strategy, human resource etc all are in a way is impacting customer experience. Now if we consider Customer Experience as sustainable competitive advantage then all our initiatives should commence by keeping CE perspective at the center.

After the company decides about the products and services it is planning to offer to the market and geography it decides to operate in THE FIRST QUESTION to be asked is what kind of customer experience company wants to create for its customers.

There are nine leakage points which dilutes scintillating customer experience. Therefore unless customer experience statement is defined lens of the management will miss these leaky points.   In the process to answer the first question company will define customer experience statement.

Having defined the statement every action and initiatives will be aimed to achieve & maintain this statement. Budget for any initiatives will be viewed in terms of its impact on customer experience.

Every initiatives mentioned above will be to fix leakage in customer experience happening through leakage points;

  • a) Leadership & Culture ( Culture & Governance Policies )
  • b) Customer Strategy ( CE Statement & whether every other function align to this strategy? )  
  • c) Customer Expectations ( tqm, lean, costing, innovation  )
  • d) People ( HR )
  • e) Process ( BPR, Lean, Six Sigma )
  • f)  Marketing & Branding ( Marketing , Social Media, Advertising , PR )
  • g) System ( IT, Technology, Mfg or Service Set up )
  • h) Measurement ( right measurement matrix )
  • i)  Distribution Channel ( distribution policy, training and hand holding )

When the above nine points are focused upon on a regular basis by keeping lens of customer experience on , company will then hardly needs any other area to focus upon ( ofcourse except taxation ).

Time has come for every organisation to ask the first question and realign to answer the first question. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Brand is WHAT it does not how it looks and from where it comes

Ajit Pawar and Nitin Gadkari - the way they have responded in public during last few months shows how a brand can be ruined by its behavior.

Yes everyone of us are BRAND. We build our personal brands by our conduct. Not only the way we speak but what we speak, what we do , people we influence makes us brand.

In business sense its Customer Experience company creates that makes them BRAND and not advertisement , stationery, and logos.

Nana Patekar was on one of the TV show last week and he aptly said " importance of good looking Heros is just for 5 minutes, then public evaluates his Heroism by what he does on screen."

Same rule applies in the real world. One may be from big and rich family, holding big post and look handsome but WHAT he does with that will make him HERO i.e. Brand. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Industry Associations - Change Objectives to Change Mindset

What are the role of Industry Associations? Are our associations living in previous century? Are our associations making their members ready for the future? Most Important what Industry Association thinks about customer they serve as Industry? 

I surveyed OBJECTIVES of some of the associations mainly servicing retail clients. These are Retailers Associations of India (RAI), Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI), Insurance Brokers Association of India (IBAI), Indian Bankers Association (IBA) & Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI). 

Its is interesting to mention that:

1) IBAI has put up their memorandum of association to know the objectives.  We all know how the objectives of business is defined in the Memorandum of Association. Somewhere in About Us I found a para on objectives which talks about protecting the interest of members , interaction among members and educating the members etc. Nothing on code of conduct ,  ethics and values. 

2) IBA - None of the 19 objectives talks about customer service, satisfaction or customer experiences. One of the objectives though talks about - To project a good image of banking  as a service industry.  So no customer in sight and even focus is on projection of image not creation of Image. 

3) MCHI - None of the seven objectives talks about customer at all. Its all about their members. No responsibilities towards customers. Nothing on code of conduct ,  ethics and values. 

4) COAI - One of the objectives talks about - To undertake continues efforts for customer satisfaction. Nothing on code of conduct ,  ethics and values. 

5) AHPI - None of the 5 main objectives talks about customer service, satisfaction or experience. However there is a reference to the words like reach, affordability and safety of patients.  They did talk about ethical standards for members. 

One association which I found more proactive about the customers and ethics is RAI. Customers are the heart of any industry and business. Unless at association level customer culture is not talked about or kept at the center, members are likely to turn apathetic towards customer service and experience. Yes members for their owns sake are doing something for customer care and satisfaction but is it not the responsibly of every business association to percolate customer culture & ethical Behaviour in its stake holder members?

6) RAI - One of the 5 objectives states - To work for customer delight by helping retailers create the right retail environment.It also talks about transparency, code of conduct and right values. 

How far have they succeeded is a matter of debate. 

All associations are interested in expanding the reach, knowledge share, govt liaisening  in policy making. However unless associations focus on CUSTOMER their members are out to serve, associations will be failing in their role. 

I would like to end with the quote from the research report on Association Forecast 2012 by Shelly Alcorn who interviewed executives of 200 associations in the US. 

" During the course of conducting this project, we became convinced that associations are losing their ability to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, not because of a lack of innovation and creative capacity, but through a wholesale adoption of language and management techniques more suited to the purely corporate goal of product production, not experience creation. " 

Experience creation is the goal of every business and associations catering to any industry must keep this objectives at the center. They must enable their members in achieving better customer experience. Then and then they will align all other objectives to achieve this central objective. Market share growth , Govt policies,  best practice and networking  opportunities everything is secondary to better customer experience creating mindset and capability.  

Like a country where CITIZEN must be at the core of all activities , for any company and industry - CUSTOMERs have to be at the center stage. For Tarde & Industry Associations its members' end customers are the Customers.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

" Brain Change not Brain Drain or Gain " Dr Sam Pitroda

Yesterday at one of the events in Mumbai Dr Sam Pitroda reaffirmed the need for 

Some of his gems are :

1) Why do we need 4 years for a degree? Why not less ?  

2) Why do universities need land to set up university? Can it not be virtual and informal?

3) Soft skills (reading, writing, listening,collaborating with fellow students colleagues) is the basic skills without it hard skills cant reach its potential. Today's youth is lacking in soft skills. Universities and colleges MUST focus on that.  

4) Teachers should stop role of content creation and teaching , they must assume a role of mentors. 

5) Everyone has many ideas. Action is what we are lacking in. Only action-ing ideas will change the nation. 

6) Tod Fod Jod Centers at every school. Giving unwanted items like fan, PCs, mixers , grinders etc to students  to dismantle and fixing again. 

7) Young generation reflect , think and do things differently. Generation in power and administration will be failing in their duty if by their old mild set could not unleash potential of new generation.

They are at National Knowledge Commission and Public Info Infra, are doing some great work connecting Universities, Panchayats, small but basic innovations to change lives of small and medium manufacturers and farmers. 

Our newspapers and media are failing in their duty by not bringing these innovations and initiatives to the knowledge of public. Unfortunately crime and corporate news dominates the air time and page space. We need more and more of not only Dr Sam Pitrodas but also positive media.  

As aptly mentioned by Dr Pitroda, basic problem is not of brain drain or gain but major challenge is Brain Change. Fixed mindset is the challenge at all levels. It has to change first for everything else to change. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Everything is up for Re-imagination

Yes. True.
World around is slowly but surely changing at speed not easily recognisable.  However change is happening and happening everyday.
New WORLD we are daily experiencing is the result of thinking or re-imagination of people around us. Someone somewhere is re-imagining the existing way of doing things and living life.
Steve Jobs re imagined laptops, mobile phones, music dispensing system  , Bill Gates re imagined operating system , Starbucks re-imagined coffee shop experience, Narendra Modi re-imagined politics of development & governance, Capt Gopinath re-imagined low cost airlines, Zappos re-imagined customer experience, Dr Kurian re imagined milk collection & distribution system,  Mark Zuckerberg re-imagined social networking, Baba Ramdev re-imagined Yoga for masses , Steven Spielberg & most movie makers are in re-imagination business, & Gandhiji re imagined use of non violence to achieve independence. Many people around us are re-imagining our world and doing their own bit to make the difference. Tom Peter has written a book Re-Imagine.
We all  have to re-imagine the world. Re imagine relationships, re imagine commuting , re imagine travelling, re imagine businesses, re imagine politics, re imagine parenting, re imagine governance and management , re imagine education , re imagine jobs & re imagine religions. There is no limit or restriction on any thing as far as Re Imagination goes. Its not about small changes here and there. Its something complete NEW and unheard of.  Conditioned mind will find it difficult , it requires unconditional mindset to re imagine.
 Re imagination capacity is the most valuable asset a person and organisation can have. Any entrepreneur, organisation and individual can create huge difference in the world by her power of re imagination and action to make imagination a real one.
Point is : World around is subject to change  and all those who can re-imagine the life and world around them & work towards achieving that change will  be the most sought after people. 
What is your re-imagination agenda?