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This is how Airtel cheats its customers

This is my own experience when I tried to call Airtel for knowing more about new plans today. I have given the feedback and a complaint to them (Ref No. 29100067).

This is what is the annoying thing the company is doing with its post-paid subscribers who are trying to remain loyal to them in spite of a lot of attractive offers from other providers.

As an Airtel subscriber, for any changes in your plan, you need to call their customer care number 121.

When you call that number, you have to pass through the illogical computerized IVR system, which takes time to register your input. Due to its sluggishness, if you type an option selection digit again, it takes it as your consent to activate some data plan and thanks you for subscribing to it. It promptly sends you a confirmation SMS saying that some “FREE 1GB 4G/3G data has been activated from today for Rs.100”. (Look at the deceptive language, something is FREE at Rs.100 !!!)

On realizing that you have inadvertently activated something, you call up 121 again to request deactivation. One request goes unattended.

You call again. This time, it is listened to. Deactivation request is taken. An SMS follows. Only to inform that the activation which was affected promptly, will be deactivated after 4 days.

For every other type of request, they ask you so many verification and confirmation questions, but for this thing, a simple error of pressing a wrong option is enough. If you can be charged Rs.100, no confirmation is needed. No question is asked.

This is not less that deceptive malpractice aimed at cheating customers.  It is only for such manipulative and customer unfriendly practices that customers decide to switch to other service providers.

It is high time Airtel wakes up to stop such cheating.

Should you hire relatives or friends?

Do not hire friends/relatives

A business tip from the book “Business Management Simplified” Author: Sanjay Shah (SME Business Coach)

Slide45I think we should not hire friends/relatives

  • I call this “Ration card employment.” It is advisable to desist from this practice.
  • The main reason is that bringing some friend/relative or their children in the team skews the balance of the team in a very weird way.
  • It curtails our freedom to deal with the individual at par with others, which creates a lot of unrest among the other employees.
  • There is always a conflict between the relative importance to be attached to the relationship or the job.
  • It is also observed that in the end, such an assignment ends bitterly or in the end, either the work or the relationship suffers.
  • Hiring of any person must be done only on merit.
  • If some relative or friend asks us to “do a favor” by hiring somebody known to them, you should politely tell them that you can only arrange for an interview and the selection will be based on merit only. This may offend that relative or friend, but if you can’t say no, then you may have to hire an unsuitable or incompetent person and your business will suffer for a long time.
  • Remember, you should keep charity and business separate. Hoarding incompetent people only because they know you or some of your friend/relative, sends a signal about your own weakness and lack of clarity.
  • Also, if a person is good and competent, he/she will not need any recommendation only.

(Excerpt from “Business Management Simplified”)

​Run your race. Hit the finish line.

I just watched Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.

The main marathon of 42.195 kilometers was won by an African participant, a regular. It was captured by a lot of cameras following or leading him.

But, at the same time, many other marathons were run and won, which may have gone unnoticed, because no camera was covering them. But still, the races were won. Triumphantly. Gloriously. Proudly. Silently.

For a physically challenged girl on a wheelchair, riding a few kilometers freely on a Mumbai road, was a personal race won.
For an 80 year old grandmother, walking a few kilometers with a group of similar age friends was more than a victory.
For a senior citizen who had just undergone a bypass surgery before few months, completing a dream run of few kilometers was a real dream come true.
For an HR manager of a company, successfully organizing a group participation of 70 employees in the dream run was a proud moment in her career as a new recruit in the company.
For a product manager who organized free promotion of their orange juice packaged drink, consumption of 5,000 units was a great thing because so many people could “experience” her brand firsthand.
For a newbie orchestra to perform live on the footpath of Marine Drive was a big thing. Similarly, a singer won her own marathon when she sang some songs for the first time in a live scenario like this.
For a large number of full or half marathon runners, just being able to complete the run successfully was a huge milestone in their own lives.
For a brand manager, organizing a “below the line” brand communication initiative in the form of a noisy dance booth on the marathon route was a big, bold resume bullet point.

For a shy employee in a company, being able to wake up and reach the venue on time and run along with the scores of his colleagues in the company’s dream run troupe was a big self esteem boost.
For traffic police heads, to successfully manage traffic bypassing the marathon route was a sigh of relief.
For Mumbai police, “uneventful” completion of the marathon is a big achievement.
Except the main winners who got the prize, others were not honored publicly. But each one of them ran and won their own private marathons.
It is a beautiful feeling running and winning a marathon, public or private.  We must set our sights on some race and proudly hit the finish line. There are very few joys which are more joyful.

When museum curators run a state, they hire stenos to dictate…

Uttar Pradesh Subordinate Service Selection (UPSSSC) is looking to recruit 352 stenographers and many more junior stenos. (Check here: http://upsssc.com/upsssc-stenographer-recruitment/ )
Now, how many in this time may be knowing stenography? If you search for stenography as an employee skill on any job portal like Naukri.com, a large majority of the candidates will come up of age beyond 50 years . That says that stenography is the skill of bygone era. It is outdated. It is not relevant today. Stenos, dictation, typing etc are the symbols of lethargic bureaucratic inefficiency of the past. In today’s times of speed, steno is an article fit for museum. Today, if dictation is needed, it can speech recorded and possibly be coverted into text…!
In India, more and more progressive governments at the centre and the states, lead by progressive leadership, are using new technology to save time and to increase productivity. Such states and governments are on their path to progress.

 
Then, in the age of Siri and OK Google, voice commands and Artifical Intelligence, we get to see examples of such a regressive step. This shows how much we are still behind. This also reflects the poverty of thought leadership at the helm which allows such regression. When the government itself chooses to embrace antiquity, who can save our future from mediocrity?

Such mindless examples of extreme contrast create a picture of the not-so-beautiful incredible India. When a section of the nation is embracing future by moulding its own mindset and habits, there is another slow-moving elephantine attitude which takes time to understand the nature of the winds blowing around its ears.
As long as such ugly combination of progressive leadership and regressive bureaucracy coexists in the same country, it will keep pulling the country in two different directions, one towards a bright future another towards a dark, dead past. This tug of war will slow the speed of the country, as it has always done in the seven decades of our independence. The country must move in one direction, the one towards a bright future.
The Incredible India campaign may pride itself in the rich legacy of the country. But, past cannot be lived forever. Museum is a place to visit, to learn, not to stay there. 
But, if museum curators sit to run the country, they will only turn the whole country into a museum, a glorified relic of the past.
Then, looking at the whole country as a living museum, not ready to grow up, the tourists may say, “This happens only in India. Really, Incredible India.”

Masters Of Meaningless Communication

​बिना वजह के communication की व्यर्थता का सरकारी उदाहरण
सीधी-सादी बात को बिना वजह पेचीदा बनाने की कला में सरकारी बाबुओं का कोइ जवाब नहीं है |उदाहरण के लिए मुंबइ की लोकल ट्रेन में आज कल सुनाइ देनेवाली पब्लिक एनाउन्समेन्ट पर ध्यान दिजिए |
“यात्री गण कृपया ध्यान दिजिए | वरिष्ठ नागरिकों को उन के लिए आरक्षित एवं निर्धारित सीट पर जाने में सहयोग दिजिए |”
“Passengers please help the senior citizens to reach them to seats reserved and earmarked for them in the coaches.”
मान लिया की आरक्षित और निर्धारित या reserved और earmarked अलग शब्द हैं |
यह भी मान लिया की आप को भाषा का उच्चतर स्तर का ग्यान है | बधाइ हो…. हार्दिक अभिनंदन |
परंतु सामान्य जन समुदाय, जिस के लिए यह संदेश है, उन को इस अधिकतर शब्दों की स्पष्टता से कोइ फायदा नहीं होता, बल्की confusion होता है | आरक्षित या Reserved एक – एक शब्द से सब को समज में आ ही जाएगा | (यह बात बाबुओं के theoretical दिमाग को समज में नहीं आएगी |

सीधी सादी जिंदगी को बिना वजह complicated न बनाने की अक्ल बाबुशाही को जब आएगी तब रेल मंत्री सुरेश प्रभु साहब तथा मोदीजी की पूरी टीम के प्रयासों को ओर जोर मिलेगा |

प्रभु ऐसा समय जल्दी लाएं ऐसी प्रार्थना |

The solution to traffic related problems in Indian cities

IMG_20160712_182717

A recent cover story in Mumbai Mirror says that Mumbai Traffic Police is considering hiking the fines for traffic violations in the city by five times, because the city motorists are not obeying the traffic police rules and the punishment is not enough to be deterrent.

The real cause of a lot of traffic related problems in Indian cities comes on two wheels. The reason for accidents on external highways may be different, but a majority of road accidents and traffic related problems inside cities are caused due to the indisciplined driving by some two-wheelers.

On city roads, there is an unwritten rule. If there is any small or big traffic mishap involving a two-wheeler and a bigger vehicle (particularly a car), the fault is ALWAYS of the bigger vehicle – no matter what is the real reason. Smaller vehicles always get away being “Bechara”.   Whereas, most of these mishaps are caused by two-wheelers.

As an independent and unbiased observer, this is what I have observed:

  • The two-wheelers are observed to be major culprits in breaking traffic rules and creating precarious situations responsible for a large number of traffic mishaps.
  • They cut lanes, ignore and break signals, overtake from wrong sides and indulge in reckless driving on all roads, including national highways passing from cities.
  • Traffic police are ill-equipped to nab them, because of their huge number and their agility.
  • Some motorcyclists are born smartest. And they are sent to demonstrate their smartness through their antics on the roads. A lot of accidents are caused by these smart-Alecs.
  • Two-wheelers try to wriggle out from the smallest places, at the highest speeds, causing the biggest troubles for bigger vehicles who take time to react.
  • The manufacturers of two-wheelers have given access of speeding to immature people who can’t handle it with responsibility. The society at large has to pay the price for such disproportionate allocation of speed to the undeserved.

Solution:

  • Expressways don’t allow two-wheelers. There must be a reason. They must also be restricted on highways passing through the cities.
  • Allocate dedicated lanes for two-wheelers on roads.
  • Equip the traffic police with technologies to nab the rule-breaking two-wheelers.
  • Enforce speed limits for two-wheelers.
  • On rule breaking, put heavy penalty, including cancellation of license or registration on the first grave offense.
  • The track record of such miscreants must be followed and their licenses revoked.

Speed kills.
Not only the ones who speed, but also those who try to save themselves from the antics of such crazy zealots.

Yes, all two-wheelers are not unruly, but a large number of them are, and they must be controlled for the safety of the wiser world.

Unless the traffic authorities do not come heavily on the trouble causing two-wheelers, the problems related to accidents on the Indian city roads are not going to reduce.

I book more than 6 tickets per month and I am not a “tout”.

Respected Shri Suresh Prabhu Saheb,

My work takes me out of Mumbai 6 to 8 days in a month for single day visits.
I need to book 12 to 16 tickets per month for myself for the two-way travel on each such day.

The current limitation of booking maximum 10 tickets per month online on IRCTC web site is a real problem for me. I have partially solved this problem by using two login IDs: one of myself and the other of my son. But, when we have to book some other tickets for our family, we become helpless.

To add to that, I read somewhere that now this number is going to be reduced to 6 tickets per month. The logic being used is that the people who book more than 6 tickets per month are only 10% and they are the “touts” booking tickets for others.

This may be true for most cases, but what about people like me who have to book more than 10 tickets per month for themselves and who are not “touts”?

With the current complex registration process of IRCTC, now it is easily possible to identify the person for whom the ticket is being booked.

I request you to find out some way to exempt the persons booking their own ticket from such restrictions which are intended to curb the menace of the “touts”. I agree that the misuse of the ticketing system must be prevented, but also the steps must be taken to ensure that genuine passengers do not suffer due to such restrictions.

Yes, I book more than 6 tickets per month and I am not a “tout”. Please do not punish me like one.

Employees को लग्न नहीं यग्न शामिल करता है

आप के घर किसी का लग्न (शादी) हो, और आप अपने employees को उस में शामिल करेंगे, उन्हें आमंत्रित करेंगे, तो वह आएंगे, लेकिन फिर भी उन का involvement थोडा कम ही रहेगा | उन को ऐसा महसूस होता रहेगा की यह बोस का function है, और हम उस में बाहर के हैं | आप के function को अपना मानकर वह उस में १००% हिस्सा नहीं ले पाएंगे | थोडी झिझक, थोडी दूरी जरुर रहेगी |

उस से विपरीत, आप अपने ओफिस-फेक्टरी में यग्न या ऐसे ही किसी function का आयोजन करेंगे, और employees को शामिल करेंगे, तो वह एक अलग उत्साह-उमंग से, दिल से हिस्सा लेंगे | उन्हें ऐसा लगेगा की इस यग्न से उनकी खुद की ज़िंदगी में भी कुछ अच्छा होगा |

बस, हर बोस इस फर्क को समझे, अपनी कंपनी के काम को लग्न का नहीं बल्के यग्न का स्वरुप दे पाएं, हर employee को काम में मात्र पगार के उपरांत कुछ उस की खुद की ज़िंदगी का भला भी दिखे तो employees को काम में दिल से शामिल करने की समस्या खतम हो जाएगी |

मार्केट में मंदी क्यों और किसे लग रही है?

मंदी की असर सब को नहीं है, कुछ इन्डस्ट्रीझ अच्छा ग्रोथ कर रहीं हैं, और कुछ और मंदी का अनुभव कर रहीं हैं | मंदी के दो मुख्य कारण हैं…

१. ब्लेक मनी इकोनोमी पर ब्रेक
भारत की इकोनोमी का बडा हिस्सा दो नंबर की cash economy पर चलता है | इकोनोमी में ब्लेक मनी की एन्ट्री के दो बडे निम्न लिखित स्त्रोत हैं |

एक तो अलग अलग टाइप की ऱिश्वतों, घुस, bribe के रास्ते से unaccounted पैसा economy में घुसता है | इस में भी सब से बडा स्त्रोत था defence, रक्षा विभाग के कोन्ट्रेक्ट्स | पीछले एक साल से इस पर बहोत बडी ब्रेक लगी है | 
ब्लेक मनी का दूसरा बडा स्त्रोत है रीयल एस्टेट मार्केट | 
रीयल एस्टेट की खरीदी के समय unaccounted gold या दूसरा ऐसा ही पैसा इकोनोमी में फिर से प्रवेश करता है | इस इन्डस्ट्री में over supply और बेफाम दाम-वृद्धि की वजह से वास्तविक मंदी है | रीयल एस्टेट के सौदों की संख्या कम हो गइ है, जीस का बडा असर दो नंबरी इकोनोमी पर हुआ है | यह एक बडी वजह है, मंदी के माहोल की |
मार्केट में पैसा कम लग रहा है इस की वजह यही है | Liquidity कम होने के कारण मंदी स्वाभाविक है, और १००% official काम करनेवालोंको भी उस का असर होता ही है | 
२. E-commerce तथा m-commerce का प्रभाव
मोडर्न रीटेल (मॉल, सुपर मार्केट, चेन स्टोर्स इत्यादि) के साथ साथ e-commerce का प्रभाव बढ़ रहा है | इस का भारी असर छोटे व्यापारियों को हो रहा है | आज से ५-७ साल पहले यह e-commerce कंपनियों का प्रभाव शून्यवत था, लेकिन अब इनका पावर बढ़ा है | दिवाली-२०१५ में Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc. लगभग १२-१५ हजार करोड रुपयों का टर्नओवर किया | याद रहे, यह सारा टर्नओवर ट्रेडीशनल रीटेलर्स की जेब में से ही कम हुआ है | जो मेन्युफेक्चरर, होलसेलर, रिटेलर इस e-commerce प्लेटफोर्म का हिस्सा हैं, उन को मंदी का अनुभव नहीं हो रहा है | बाकी लोगों को उस का प्रभाव महसूस हो रहा है | e-commerce के साथ mobile app based m-commerce भी अनेक नई सुविधाएँ लेकर आ रहा है | यह सारी कंपनियों को अलग अलग foreign कंपनियों से धूम पैसा इन्वेस्टमेण्ट के रुप में मिला है, इस लिए वह नुक़सान झेल कर भी ग्राहकों को लुभाकर ज़्यादा डीस्काउन्ट दे रहीं हैं | यह सारा नाटक कितना लंबा चलेगा यह तो नहीं कह सकते क्यों कि यह उन की नुक़सान सहकर धंधा चलाने की क्षमता पर निर्भर है | जब तक easy money मिलेगी तब तक तो यह नाटक चलता रहेगा |

E-commerce अपने आप में बहोत फूलेगा-फलेगा | लेकिन ऐसा लग रहा है कि इन में से बहोत सारी कंपनियाँ बंद हो जाएँगी या उन्हें कोइ दूसरी कंपनी ख़रीदकर ख़ुद में विलीन कर देगी | अंत में e-commerce के हर क्षेत्र में एक-दो नाम ही बचेंगे । ऐसा हो, यह bubble फूटे तब तक थोड़ा शोर होगा ।

इस का यह सबक हैं |

e-commerce/m-commerce revolution का हिस्सा बनकर उस की तेजी का लाभ उठायें | ऐसा न हो सके तो कस्टमर को वही सुविधा, चोइस, संतोष और value addition देने का प्रबंध करें जो e-commerce दे रहा है |

Why pop corn etc. food items cost so high in multiplexes and theaters?

The following are the reasons behind the ridiculously high prices of food items inside multiplexes and theaters.

1) The charge is not for the food, it is for WHERE you buy them. Popcorn priced at Rs 5 at railway stations, suddenly becomes worth Rs 50, because the customers who come there are believed to be the ones who don’t look at the price. The multiplex owners understand that the people who can pay Rs 300-400 for a movie ticket won’t mind paying few hundred rupees for snacks. This is based on the understanding of consumer behavior.

2) The prices of the movie ticket and the snacks in the multiplexes are also kept high to encourage only those customers who can pay that much.
It is an example of market segmentation.

3) The business model of multiplexes includes sale of food and beverages as a revenue source. Generally, this is outsourced to some third party contractors. These contractors have to pay very heavy charges to the multiplex owners for getting a space inside the multiplex, so they have to recover it from their sales, leading to exorbitant prices.

4) In the long run, the illogically high prices of food and beverages (and also the movie tickets) lead to customers looking for alternatives. Till there is no competition, the mutliplexes may get away with such loot. Once, they face competition, they may come down on the earth.

5) People go to movies not very often. So they may ignore such discrepancies in prices because it affects them very rarely. So, the price burden gets distributed among a large number of customers.

The prices will remain high, till there are customers who are ready to pay. This is market economy. It is ruled by demand and supply.