Club Mahindra – an example of a poorly executed marketing strategy

How do you feel when a time-share company
1) Invites you for a 45-minute presentation with a promise of a FREE gift.
2) Follows up enthusiastically to fix an appointment.
3) When you confirm an appointment, reminds you emphatically that “Please do come because the FREE gift vouchers once made in your name cannot be canceled.”
4) Sends an SMS with venue, time details and seeks SMS confirmation ftom you.
5) Just 15 minutes prior to the appointment time, calls you up and asks “Where are you? We are waiting for you.”
6) When you arrive 5 minutes before the appointment time, the receptionist tells you that ” We can’t accommodate you. Our presentation venue is full.
Either you come after an hour or some other day. ”
7) Wastes your precious time and does not even bother to express a simple “Sorry”.

Club Mahindra did just this last week with us.  It created a lot of hype around the presentation and the free gift and in the end, failed disappointingly. A telling example of an extremely poor execution of a marketing strategy.

A lot of characteristics of a company are reflected in the way it conducts its operations. It is natural to doubt the quality of services of a company that cannot coordinate its regular marketing activities properly.

Club Mahindra has a lot of work to do in its marketing activities coordination. Till then a lot of advertising and promotional expense will continue to go in drain creating a lot of avoidable bitterness among its prospects.

How a business loses its customers?

Till about a year back, I subscribed to Hindustan Times and its sister publication Mint. But, I discontinued them and switched to Times Of India and Economic Times.

Why?

Because HT/Mint failed to help me to continue. They were disinterested. Generally, one would expect the newspaper office to be aware well in advance when any subscription is due for renewal. HT/Mint did not care that my subscription was expiring. They let it lapse. Till about two months, nobody from their office realized that they had lost a customer. (Typically, this happens when you are losing hundreds or thousands of customers and don’t really understand whom to track.)

Times came in on time. They were prompt, true to their leadership position. Last month, they followed up and collected my second year renewal. About one month in advance…!

And, on the other hand, since about an year, the ill-informed executives of HT/Mint send me a lot of SMSs, calls and individual follow-ups to remind me for renewal, blissfully ignorant that my subscription had ended one year back…! Either HT/Mint don’t have a CRM in place or it sucks…

When you are too busy to track your sales and customers, you ignore your ready and loyal customers, you lose business. Customer apathy is a sin, which leads to a heavy punishment.

No wonder, Times leads. In every area of business of publication, be it editorial, content, innovation, pricing or sales.

Hindustan Times & Mint need to learn a few lessons from the leader whom they may hate to follow.

Our wish-list for Railway Budget-2014

Respected Shri D V Sadananda Gowda,
Minister Of Railways,
Government Of India.

Warm regards.

As a citizen of India, I present my wish-list for the forthcoming Railway budget which you are going to present soon.

1) Due to disppointing level of services and facilities provided by varioud government agencies, we, the people of India have lowered our expectations from anything ‘Government’. Indian Railways is one such enterprise. We request you to break that jinx. Make improvements in Railways such that ‘Government’ mean reliable, credible and dependable.

2) A lot of facilities are started with lot of fund allocation, but they are not maintained properly. Different types of coaches, station facilities, technology solutions, web sites, indicators etc are some examples in case of Indian Railways. Request Hon Railway Minister Shri Sadanand Gowda to ensure that all facilities that are started, are maintained properly to attain their intended purpose.

3) Indicators displaying train coach position, time, platforms etc are a real blessing, only if they work properly and consistently. But somehow, due to poor maintenance, they go out of order any day. One can’t depend upon them. Please make them dependable. They can save a lot of time, trouble and stress.

4) Make railways’ public address system meaningful. Train the disgruntled announcers to speak in a tone, volume, speed and language which is understood by listeners. Today, such an announcement is more a noise than anything useful.

5) Decongest IRCTC web site. It is certainly not rocket science to avoid hours of delay one has to face while logging into the reservation site during Tatkal booking beginning hours.

6) Stop the menace of unreserved travelers traveling in reserved coaches. Only a firm, determined resolution is required to curb this. The TCs have to be held responsible for such transgressions.

7) Your previous counterparts created a new class called “Sleeper Class” separate from Second Class with practically no tangible difference. It is obvious that this unnecessary complication has only added confusion to the system and people. Request to abolish this “Sleeper” class or merge it with Second Class.

8) Same is with now-defunct First Class in non-local trains. First Class is a classic example of the failure of government ministries to rationalize the products/services with changing technology or market landscape. With newer AC classes, First Class has lost its relevance. But, like all things English, Indian Railways has failed to update or altogether remove this laughable luggage of outdated, aristocratic Angrez mindset.

Ironically. in Indian Railways’ first class, there is nothing first class except the  fare. The fare is much higher than much better AC classes. The official apathy and lack of clarity has resulted into meaningless legacy being continued halfheartedly.
Make First Class really “First Class” or abolish it for good. Nobody will miss it.

9) Currently, the seat allocation during running train is at the discretion of the TC. Due to this, the reserved passengers who could not travel have no practical way to prove their “no show”, preventing them from getting any kind of refund and the TCs have a field day “selling” such seats to people who have no waiting list tickets also, bypassing the bona fide wait-listers.

This situation can be easily corrected. If Mumbai’s city bus service can introduce handheld machines for issuing each ticket, why can’t railways do? Allocate a unique barcode to every reserved ticket, scan it through a handheld with TC, which will ensure which seat remained empty and was reallocated by TC on the way. This handheld should be connected to the central reservation server, which will dynamically update actual arrival/occupancy status in real time, enabling RAC/Waiting passengers to know the real seat status. This will plug the leakage of unaccounted money going to TCs and will make the system completely transparent.

10) In Chair Cars, some genius Einsteins in the design departments have tried to save some money by providing 1.5 or less hand-rests per person. There is only one hand-rest between the two people in the adjacent seats. This leads to continuous jostling between the two to capture the few inches of the hand-rest. This may be based on the assumption that an average Indian has 1.5 arms. Please get rid of this outrageous assumption. With barely enough space to accommodate one’s body, provide TWO arm-rests for each seat. This seems funny, but the current situation in an AC Chair Car is funnier.

11) Toilets in the coaches need to be checked, cleaned and maintained regularly. Currently, it is not done regularly. I am sure a full budget for manpower, maintenance, cleaning etc is passed and is ‘deemed’ utilized. But this needs to be made accountable.

12) Food provided in Shatabdi/Rajdhani is outright down market. It is of poor quality, bad hygiene and appears as just a formality being completed. The plates and seat trays are storehouses of germs. Please ensure that somebody randomly checks this food and the manner in which it is served. There is certainly a room for improvement.

13) Pantry cars are nothing short of gastronomic disasters in motion. They are dirty, unhygenic and badly maintained by dirtier manpower. Please overhaul food delivery system in trains.

14) The platforms, waiting rooms, bridges, subways or any other common utility areas at railway stations need to be cleaned and maintained properly. Again, same is true as mentioned above for toilets. Giving it to private parties against advertising rights can make this easily feasible.

15) Please simplify the rules for cancelation, refund, break journey etc along with their explanation. Currently, they are worded in such a way that one needs to be an advocate to decipher them.

16) Make fine collection transparent. Currently, fine collection is a money making machine for the officer on duty to make some quick bucks with very little reaching the bleeding coffers of railwayd. Use technology to prevent this leakage.

Here are some suggestions for Mumbai local train service.

17) In Mumbai, the areas inside and outside railway stations are encroached by unauthorized hawkers, causing a lot of congestion and convenience to the commuters. In spite of the enough manpower, this menace goes unchecked. Have courage, will and determination to prevent this encroachment forever.

18) Distinctly separate ladies and first class compartments and coached in Mumbai local trains with some clear visual distinction in the interiors as well as exteriors. In newer trains, this division is very blurred. Due to that there are lot of confusions with new commuters getting into wrong coaches.

19) Also, please ensure visual barricades inside the coaches separating these compartments within the same coach. Currently, ladies/gents first class compartments are separated by steel railings, allowing clear views across each. Same is for first/second class compartments within the same coach. Please get them visually blocked from each other. This will stop a lot of peeping and mischiefs by the onlookers with a roving eye.

20) Install more automatic ticket vending machines. They can be a very good alternative to the burden of highly inefficient and demotivated manpower that the railways is carrying. Please don’t forget to keep them properly maintained.

21) Majority of the Coupon Validating machines are out of order most of the times. This is just one more example of too many initiatives, too little improvement. Please ensure proper maintenance.

22) The ‘lean management’ practice implemented by ticket counters in Mumbai results in sometimes 25 minute wait for a 4 minute travel, because all local/outstation and season tickets are sold from every window. This ridiculously slows down the dispensation.  Please advise somebody to have a sensible correction.

23) Please insist on the personal inspection by everyone who decides on the designs of the coaches and other passenger facilities which affects millions of people. The newly introduced coaches in Mumbai locals have truncated leg spaces and have little consideration for standing commuters who outnumber the sitting ones many times. Advise them to undertake one full journey themselves during peak hours to understand the real problems.

24) A lot of discretionary misuse by TCs can be stopped by using technology and ensuring proper vigilance. Make vigilance accountable.

These are some of the improvements sought. Please ensure their timely redressal.

Thanking you in anticipation,

– A Common Man of India

Business management lessons from AAP’s failure

The sudden rise and equally sudden fall of Aam Aadmi Party has some important learning lessons for businesses which are currently in the growth mode.

Many businesses which start with a rapid growth in the beginning, start faltering after growing to a specific size. Maintaining growth momentum after attaining some size becomes a real challenge which few companies can overcome. Others either stagnate at that level or go back downhill.

AAP faced some management challenges which it could not overcome. Growing companies also face similar challenges. The debacle of AAP in 2014 elections has some management lessons for growing businesses.

Arvind Kejriwal’s
AAP rose to popularity really too fast. It promised a hope of a corruption free India. It is a success story of a brand getting hugely popular too fast. But, the brand AAP did not live up to the hype it generated. Why? Here are some reasons.

Management Bandwidth
One reason for AAP’s failure is the lack of Management Bandwidth. Just like many suddenly grown companies, AAP, too , faced lack of quality, talented and experienced manpower who could manage the party’s affairs and could provide leadership at various levels of the organization.

Only Branding Focus,
No marketing
AAP and Arvind Kejriwal are good at grabbing media attention and thereby keeping their brand afresh in popular mind. Somehow or the other AAP and its leader kept themselves in the news. Huge advertising budget and a lot of noise in the media may ensure brand awareness and visibility, it may not necessarily ensure marketplace success of the product. The product has to deliver on the brand promise. Here is where AAP failed. Media hype was good, but the party failed to deliver what it was expected to. Particularly, after the Delhi government fiasco, it became clear that AAP was good at agitations and not in execution. Along with focusing on popular attention, AAP should also have developed its own governance and administration arms.

Lack Of Structure
In any family managed business, there is no structure and the family members monopolize control over all decisions and resources. AAP functioned just like such a  business where all decision making rested with a select group of people. This lack of democracy disillusioned many big names in the party who deserted it recently.

Even though it is not the end of the road for AAP and it can definitely recover from the recent setback, it will have to make greater efforts to bounce back due to its own mistakes.

The business which wishes to cash in on its initial success must learn from these mistakes and avoid them.

राजनाथ सिंघ जी से बिझनेस लीडरशीप का पाठ

नरेन्द्र मोदी ने अपने व्यक्तिगत charishma दिखाकर बीजेपी को कल ऐतिहासिक बहुमत दिलाया है |
मोदी जी को नापसंद करनेवाले ऐसा कह सकते हैं कि यह तो पूरी बीजेपी के प्रयत्नों का नतीजा है, या यह anti-congress  wave है जिसका फायदा बीजेपी को मिला है…

जो कुछ भी हो, लेकिन एक बात तय है कि अगर बीजेपी ने नरेन्द्र मोदी को प्रधानमंत्रीपद के लिए अपना उम्मीदवार घोषित नहीं किया होता, तो बीजेपी को इतनी भारी सफलता किसी हाल में हांसल नहीं होती | इस भारी मात्रा में बीजेपी की सफलता का पूरा श्रेय मात्र दो व्यक्तियों को जाता है | एक तो नरेन्द्र मोदी खुद और दूसरे बीजेपी के अघ्यक्ष राजनाथ सिंघ |

इस पूरी यशगाथा में राजनाथ सिंघ ने एक बुझु्र्ग, परिपक्व और दूरदर्शी नेता की भूमिका बखूब निभाई है |

जिस तरह उन्होंने नरेन्द्र मोदी की काबिलियत को पहचानकर, उन पर पूरा भरोसा रखकर, बहुत सारे दिग्गजों के खिलाफ जाकर भी नरेन्द्र मोदी को जिम्मेदारी सौंपकर भारत को एक नरेन्द्र मोदी नाम की नइ आशा दिलाइ है, उस पूरे उदाहरण से हम अपने बिझनेस के लिए एक अच्छा पाठ सिख सकते है |

किसी भी विकासशील बिझनेस में दो प्रकार के employees होते है | एक ऐसे जो बहुत पुराने होते हैं, जो बिझनेसमेन के साथ शुरुआत से जुडे होते हैं | उनकी योग्यता वफादारी तथा बिझनेस जैसे है वैसे चलाये रखने की क्षमता तक सीमीत होती है | यह लोग बिझनेस को एक लेवल से आगे ले जाने के लिए असमर्थ होते हैं, फिर भी उन्हें ऐसा लगता है कि वो ही बिझनेस के सूत्रघार हैं और वह खुद नहीं होंगे तो बिझनेस बिखर जाएगा | वास्तव में यह लोग ही बिझनेस की विकासयात्रा में एक बाधा होते हैं | वह खुद तो कुछ ज्यादा कर नहीं सकते और किसी नये व्यक्ति को आ कर कुछ परिवर्तन लाने की अनुमती भी नहीं दे सकते |

दूसरे कुछ ऐसे काबिल नये employees होते हैं जिन में बिझनेस को आगे ले जाने की भरपूर काबिलियत रहती है | उन में बिझनेस की नइ चुनौतियों का सामना करके उसे विकास की नइ ऊंचाईयों तक पहुंचाने की क्षमता होती है |

बीजेपी में भी ऐसे पुराने लोग हैं जिन की क्षमता पार्टी को एक लेवल से ज्यादा ले जाने की बिलकुल नहीं है | अगर ऐसे ऐतिहासिक दिग्गजों को बागडोर सौंपते तो बीजेपी को इतनी सफलता कभी नहीं मिल पाती |

राजनाथ सिंघ को सही व्यक्ति की, उस की काबिलियत की पहचान है, और ऐसी व्यक्ति को जिम्मेदारी सौंपकर, पुराने दिग्गजों को समझा-पटाकर, उन्हें अपने स्थान पर रखकर नये सेनापति को पूरी स्वतंत्रता देकर, उस के पीछे चट्टान की तरह खडा रहकर, उस का हौंसला बढ़ाकर उन्होंने भारत के इतिहास को एक नया मोड दिया है |

बिझनेसमेन को भी अपनी कंपनी में स्थापित स्पीड-ब्रेकर्स को अपनी जगह पर रखकर, नये काबिल ड्राइवर को चुनकर उसे कंपनी की यात्रा आगे बढ़ाने की स्वतंत्रता देनी चाहिए | स्पीड-ब्रेकर नडेंगे, रुठेंगे, नखरे करेंगे | लेकिन चिंता मत करो, क्यों कि यह स्पीड-ब्रेकर कहीं जा नहीं सकते | आज के समय में कोइ दूसरी कंपनी इस पुराने स्पीड-ब्रेकर को नहीं रखेगी | सही ड्राइवर ही आप को आगे जाने में मदद कर सकता है | उसे पेट्रोल दो, उस पर ब्रेक मत मारो |

सही ड्राइवर अपनी काबिलियत से किसी भी पार्टी, देश या कंपनी को नइ राह, नइ आश दिखा सकता है | राजनाथ सिंघ के “नरेन्द्रभाइ” ने यह साबित कर दिया है | हमें अपने बिझनेस के लिए उन से लीडरशीप का यही पाठ सिखने जैसा है |

सिस्टम और प्रोसेस में तालमेल से ही कार्यक्षमता बढ़ सकती है |

हमारी सरकारी ओफिसों में करोडों रुपये खर्च कर के Information Technology की आधुनिक सिस्टम्स लगाइं जातीं हैं लेकिन फिर भी गलत प्रोसेसींग-गलत कार्यपद्धति की वजह से आम जनता के समय की कोइ बचत या तकलिफों में कमी होती नहीं है, उसका जीवंत उदाहरण है पासपोर्ट सेवा केन्द्र |

पासपोर्ट एप्लीकेशन के प्रोसेसींग का काम प्राइवेट कंपनी Tata Consultancy Services-TCS को दिया को दिया गया है |
अलबत्त TCS की सिस्टम की वजह से काउन्टर पर पहुंचने के बाद काम त्वरा से होता है, पासपोर्ट सेवा केन्द्र में TCS के कर्मचारियों का काम, बर्ताव, ट्रेनिंग प्रशंसनिय है | उसी पासपोर्ट केेन्द्र में अभी भी बाकी के कुछ कामों के लिए सरकारी कर्मचारी ही हैं, और TCS के काम करने के तरिके का रंग उनके उपर कथ्थई नहीं चढ़ा है | भारत में सरकारी कर्मचारियों के पास से TCS जैसे काम की उम्मीद भी नहीं रख सकते |

TCS की  वजह से काम सिस्टेमेटीक जरुर हुआ है, पर पूरी प्रक्रिया-प्रोसेसींग में कहीं तो बहोत बडा fault है | इसी वजह से पासपोर्ट केन्द्रों में जनसमुदाय के समय का अधिक व्यय होता है |

मुंबइ-मलाड स्थित पासपोर्ट सेवा केन्द्र में मैंने स्व-अनुभव किया है कि पासपोर्ट प्रक्रिया के लिए बनाये गये चार काउन्टरों पर टोटल १५-२० मिनिट का ही समय ही लगता है | पासपोर्ट सेवा केन्द्र में जाने के लिए पहले से appointment दी जाती है | लेकिन फिर भी एक व्यक्ति को चार काउन्टर पर काम पूरा करने में कम से कम 3 घंटों का समय केन्द्र में लगता ही है | क्यों कि सब को अलग-अलग ७ जगहों पर अपना नंबर आने का इन्तज़ार करना पडता है |

इस कारण हर व्यक्ति के करिब २.५ घंटे व्यय होते है | एक दिन में ३०० लोग एक केन्द्र में आते हैं | हर दिन ऐसा एक केन्द्र करिब १०० working days के व्यय का कारण बनता है |

क्यों?

क्यों कि पासपोर्ट संबंधी प्रक्रिया के बारे में सही तरिके से स्टडी नहीं हुआ है |

एक तो appointment के लिए समय देने का तरिका गलत है | १५ मिनिट के स्लोट में एक साथ १५-२० लोगों को एक समय पर बुलाया जाता है | हर अर्जदार को कुल मिला के अलग इलग चार काउन्टरों पर जाना पडता है |

इस का मतलब है कि केन्द्र की चारों प्रोसेस के काउन्टर्स १५ मिनिट में १५-२० लोगों को हेन्डल कर लेने चाहिए | पर सब से पहले काउन्टर पर ही ऐसा नहीं होता है | चार काउन्टर में से सब से पहले काउन्टर पर सब से ज्यादा समय लगता है | और चार में से यह पहले काउन्टरों पर ही मेनपावर सब से कम है | अंदर के २-३-४ (A-B-C) काउन्टरों पर अनेक गुना मेनपावर है | परंतु यहां तक पहुंचने के लिए screening करनेवाले पहले काउन्टर पर सब से ज्यादा समय लगता है, और उन पर ही मेनपावर कम है | यह बोटल-नेक का typical example है |

कार्यक्षमता (Efficiency) बढ़ाने के लिए सिस्टम और प्रोसेस-कार्यपद्धति का तालमेल सही होना चाहिए | TCS या इस प्रोसेस की Design  में शामिल एजन्सी अगर प्रोसेस के अमलीकरण में प्रेक्टीकल Bottleneck का अभ्यास कर के उन  में सुधार जब तक नहीं करेगी तब तक बडी बडी सिस्टम्स लगाने के बाद भी २० मिनिट के काम के लिए ३ घंटे पब्लिक को बिताने ही पडेंगे |

मेनेजमेन्ट का ओवरडोझ कस्टमर के अनुभव को कडवा कर सकता है… Over management results in bad customer experience

मेनेजमेन्ट-सिस्टम्स-प्रोसेस यह सारी बातें सही हैं लेकिन उनका Overdose या गलत अमलीकरण कभी कभी कंपनी के नुकसान का या उस के पतन का कारण बन सकते हैं| Over management का एक जीवंत उदाहरण प्रस्तुत है|

मुंबइ के झवेरी बजारमें एक पुराने समय से विख्यात एक मीठाई की दुकान है| उनकी मुंबइ के अलावा अहमदाबाद में भी शाखा है|
दुकान काफी पुरानी है और उनका बडा अच्छा नाम है|
पुराने समय की सफलता के आधार पर ग्राहकों की बडी संख्या को attend करने के लिए कंपनी के मेनेजमेन्ट ने कुछ कार्य विभाजन की सिस्टम लगाई हुई है|

वहां एक कर्मचारी ओर्डर लेता है, दूसरा बील बनाता है, तीसरा बोक्स निकालता है, चौथा मीठाइ निकाल के उसका वजन करता है, पांचवां बोक्स को पैक करता है, छठा उस बोक्स को प्लास्टिक बैग में डाल कर काउन्टर पर छोड देता है, सातवां पैसा लेता है और तीन-चार लोग यह सारा नजारा देखते रहते है|

किसी भी घडी आप इस दुकान में जाओगे तो ग्राहकों से तीन गुना स्टाफ पाओगे|

इतना सारा स्टाफ होने के बाद भी बील बनाने वाले के पास से बील केश-काउन्टर तक कस्टमर को ही ले कर जाना पडता है| और फिर पैसा देने के बाद वापस काउन्टर तक जा कर कस्टमर को ही अपना खरीदा सामान उठाने जाना पडता है|
उस में भी अगर दो या तीन कस्टमर एक साथ आ गये तो उधर धमाल-full chaos हो जाती है|

इतना overstaffing और over management होते हुए भी कस्टमर को अच्छी सर्विस या अच्छा अनुभव कराने में यह दुकान सरियाम निष्फल जा रही है|

Management अगर ज्यादा और बिना सोचे समझे होता है तो उस के विपरीत परिणाम भी आ सकते है|
मीठाई की famous दुकान भी कस्टमर को कडवा अनुभव करा सकती है|

ICICI Bank, don’t make your customers’ life more difficult

Even when companies deploy latest technology which can make customer’s life really easy, the same companies can find ingenious ways to unnecessarily irritate a customer and make their experience unhappy.

ICICIBank.com’s Netbanking has a weird virtual keybaord layout instead of the traditional and highly familiar ‘qwerty’ layout. What is the logic behind this stupid design of keyboard layout which keeps the customer fumbling for keys?

The Account Summary statement display has the same column for Cr and Dr. So you keep searching what is Deposited and what is Withdrawn. How much time does it take to write few lines of software code to separate two columns for Cr and Dr or Deposit and Withdrawal? And contrast it with how much time it will save for your customers?

ICICI Bank, is this your way to prove you have “Khayal Aaap ka” in your approach?

Bad. Grow up.

Effective execution requires cultural change

IRCTC, the Indian Railway’s organization responsible for online ticket booking among other things, has done a great job and has contributed immensely in making traveling a lot easier by successfully implementing online train reservations system.

One of the initiatives that IRCTC has taken up is discouraging printing of e-tickets. This is indeed a noble cause to save paper, ink and manpower. As soon as we give a command to print the e-ticket after booking it on IRCTC web site, it immediately informs us through a pop-up box that “You can travel by carrying the SMS sent by IRCTC or the PDF document (soft copy) of your e-ticket.”

But, one thing I have observed during my frequent rail travels. As soon as a Ticket Checker is shown a mobile or tablet for the SMS or soft copy of the e-ticket, he invariably asks for the identity card of the ticket holder. Even though carrying an original i-card is mandatory for e-tickets, many TCs generally don’t insist on checking the i-cards if we show them the printout of the e-ticket.

But, as soon as we show a digital form of e-ticket or SMS, they somehow feel the urge to surely check the i-card. I don’t see any reason for this behavior because carrying a printed ticket does not lend any more authenticity to the identity of the traveller than carrying its digital equivalent. I think it has become a habit, to see a ticket in paper form. When the equivalent of that ticket is shown in a tiny SMS, somehow some TCs get a cultural shock. Those who have not yet adjusted to this e-reality, still want to stick to ‘checking’ something tangible, if not a paper ticket, then at least a physical i-card. But they want to ‘check’ something for sure. They forget the perfect system of IRCTC, that the SMS is sent to the number which is specified while booking the ticket. It is almost foolproof.

But, some lesser enlightened ones among the TCs need technological upgrading of their knowledge and skills. They need to be trained to look the printed and digital forms of tickets at par. At present, due to their digital semi-literacy, they seem to doubt something in carrying SMS/soft copy of the ticket. This type of insistence disappoints the ticket holder and refutes the ideal purpose of discouraging the prints and saving some trees.  A lofty organizational goal may get defeated in execution if we don’t communicate to the cultural habits of our employees.

Is your business ready, fit and in perfect shape?

Recently, while on a holiday tour, we hired a car for visiting some places. The distance was about 400 kms round trip and we started at 6 am. Hardly one hour on the road, the car developed a flat tire (puncture). The driver, a middle aged fat man, could not set the jack, as it was old and worn out. We had to help him to change the tire.

Going forward, the car could not move faster, because there was some engine problem. Finally, we reached our first halt spot at 1.30 pm, 4.5 hours behind schedule. There, he found out that the car had heated too much and developed some serious problem and couldn’t go forward. He told us go hire another vehicle. We were stranded in the middle of the trip and had to arrange for another vehicle by paying twice the money.

It left us with a bitter experience in the middle of a happy holiday tour. The car driver lost his customer and future business from a lot of referrals as well. Why? Only because he did not keep his car in proper condition, by maintaining it regularly.

It highlights the importance of infrastructure in any business. The basic tools, equipments, machines and all other things which are required to conduct the daily operations of the business must be kept in perfect condition. We see a lot of customers in shops getting frustrated for reasons like PC, Printer, Fax Machine, Credit Card Reader any many such things not working properly. Some places have issues with Air Conditioners, somewhere the furniture is in bad or damaged condition or the toilet taps are having problems or stopper hooks are missing…!

Many hotels have swimming pools, gyms and other games equipment, but are unusable because of very poor maintenance and hence they are there only for the sake of a mention on the brochure or the web site. They are not functional and don’t add any value. In fact, their non-functioning erodes a lot of value.

These are very small things, but they create a lot of irritation and inconvenience to the customer.  One of the very important aspect of any buying process is the customer’s experience while buying our product or service. Such malfunctions leave a bad experience on customer’s minds which are detrimental to the long term health of our business.

So, get all those things repaired and in perfect condition which are important to make our customer’s experience pleasant. It may cost some money, but if not done in time, the damage in terms of customer loss will be costlier….!