Blessed by Baba Ramdev, Patanjali is really a great Indian brand. I admire the brand for its quality, honesty and the spirit of Indian nationalism behind it.
Patanjali’s products are excellent, even superior to its competitors. But, having excellent products alone does not promise success in consumer markets.
Proper marketing and branding has to match. With great products which compare with or surpass their MNC competition perfectly, Patanjali needs to work on its customer experience side as well.
Even though I am its customer and want to remain loyal to the brand, there are some problems which disturb me. Here are some weak customer experience aspects the brand must improve upon.
1) Good products must be made available consistently. Out-of-stock products give a window to competition to win our customers. When we go to a Patanjali outlet, we are not sure whether we will surely get a particular product or not, because one or the other product is out-of-stock regularly. Patanjali needs to stengthen its supply and distribution chain.
2) The stores are cramped. They look like a shop-cum-godown. A customer has to struggle her way through assorted items, cartons, boxes etc. spread across the store. The stores must be designed for a pleasant shopping experience. A revamp is a must.
3) The stores are under-staffed. The customers have to wait for a long time for their turn to be attended. Whatever staff is present, it is indifferent at best. They are like MTNL employees in the midst of the efficient telecom industry. They need to be customer friendly.
4) The stores have very restrictive timings. Also, they don’t give any carry bags (plastic, paper, cloth – nothing). Again, customer-centric approach is required.
Overall, the customer feels less than happy shopping at a Patanjali outlet.
This is typical of many Indian enterprises, which make great products but fail miserably in marketing, branding and customer experience management. This gives room to MNCs to succeed in the market with aggressive marketing even though they have inferior products.
I wish that brand Patanjali succeeds by being relevant to the largest customer base. In its today’s avatar, it is just another incarnation of a Khadi Bhandar. If it wants to compete successfully with the HULs, P&Gs, Nestles or Britannias it will have to shape itself up appropriately.
My swadeshi feelings may help me tolerate or ignore bad experience. But I doubt today’s younger generation will have patience to do that.
Either Patanjali should tighten its retailing to be more relevant or it should get out of retailing and get distributors who can sell it aggressively and appropriately in the manner the customer expects.
It is time Khadi Bhandar grows up. Or risk becoming overshadowed by swanky, modern malls.
I find it annoying to see the sign at many workplaces asking the visitors to remove shoes before entering inside.
As a customer, it is not a pleasant experience. And business is a lot about how do you make your customer feel. This particular idea of forcing the customers to remove their shoes before entering your workplace is outrightly insulting. It screams to the customer : “You are not welcome here as you are. You are welcome sans your dirty shoes.”
Isn’t it stretching the slogan “Work is worship” unreasonably? Because most of the temples expect the shoes to be removed outside.
Whatever is the logic, the insistence to get the shoes removed outside is unprofessional. It puts the visitors, including customers, in avoidable awkward situations.
It is one more reason for bad customer experience.
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.
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.
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.
Relationship Managers are ideally employed to improve customer relationships. But badly designed customer relationship initiatives and poor follow-up by their superiors result into these ornamental positions causing more annoyance and harassment to the customers than helping them. HDFC Bank has such RMs, who reduce value instead of adding to the customer’s experience. The only focus these RMs appear to have is to convince the Preferred Customers for buying some or the other product of HDFC Bank. This is more of customer exploitation than relationship building. Here is how they reduce value :
1) They unpleasantly surprise the customer
Modus operandi : First send the charged Credit/Debit card to the customer and then force the customer to ask why it came?
a) On 12 July 2014, I received an SMS which says that “Please keep information regarding your credit card no. ending with 2878 confidential.”
This surprised me because I did not have any card ending with that number.
b) Next day, on 13 July 2014, I received another SMS saying “Your credit card ending with 2878 is being sent you by xyz courier.”
c) I called the helpline number to find out what is this about and I was told “Your RM has requested an upgrade of the card.”
d) I complained with that Customer Care executive and I was told they will look into the matter. No update is received from HDFC Bank about this complaint till 20.07.2014.
e) I contacted the RM (Mr Rudolph) at HDFC, Malad-East and asked him about why I am being sent the new card. He said “It is automatically upgraded by the system for selected Preferred Customers.” He meant that only special customers are given this privilege. He did not mention anything about the charges.
2) They keep the customer in the dark
a) When the new card came by courier on 16.07.2014, no intimation was given about the status of the existing (old) card and how long it will remain valid. I had to ask the helpline number to find that it will be valid for two months from the date it is sent to you.
b) My current card is branded as “Signature” card. I could not find the details of that card on the www.hdfcbank.com , so I asked the customer care person who took 10 minutes to find out the annual charges amount (may be it is phased out). What is the point of giving a customer a card valid till 2016, if you are not able to provide basis information about the card through your web site or customer care as soon as new types of cards are introduced?
3) They hide the Credit/Debit Card charges from the customers
a) On checking the new Credit card charges, I found that it has an annual fee of Rs.2499 (unless I spend 3.5L in a year through that card). This is not communicated to me before sending the card by anybody.
On asking the helpline on 20.07.2014 (Ms Kavita, Conversation reference number : 14201872674) she told me :
“You have given the consent to the RM and we have confirmed the same by sending you the SMS on 22.06.2014 which reads ‘Dear Customer, Limit Increase & Upgrade on your HDFC Bank Credit Card will be done basis your consent given to RM. Sms NOLEUPG to 5676712 if you are not interested.’”
b) Same has happened with my Debit Card on my HUF account. That card also came without my consent or request and now I found that they have charged Rs.224.72 during 2013-14 as charges on the Debit Card which I have not used at all, neither did I ask for it.
4) They manipulate the customer
a) The above mentioned SMS is assuming consent if the customer does not respond. Whereas the default answer should be taken as No, if it seen from a customer-friendly view point.
b) It does not say anything about the additional charges the upgrade will entail. But still, it is being used as a proof of consent.
c) How can a customer know that the “Upgrade” is going to cost him more?
This is nothing short of manipulation and unfair trade practices.
5) They unnecessarily harass the customer
a) The card upgrade was not initiated by me. I have not consented for the upgrade. They have gone ahead and sought a self-confirmation. I had to ask the customer care twice to find out what is this all about. The second conversation took 35 minutes…!
b) On asking how can I cancel this card, I was told by Ms Kavita “You write a cover letter, cut the card and drop it in the box.”
Why should a customer go through all this, for something that he has not initiated at all?
Why this all harassment?
6) The Relationship Managers are only interested in asking new accounts from customers
When I met Mr Rudolph on 14.07.2014 at branch office, to convey my grievances, he was more interested in getting new accounts from me. He assured me about HUF Debit Card charges reversal, but no update from anybody since then.
Is this how they are supposed to manage and improve customer relationships?
पर्यावरण को खराब होता बचाने के लिए Green Initiative के अनुसार हर बार Printed Statement न भेजना पडे इस लिए HDFC Bank ने हमारे बेन्क एकाउन्ट का पासबूक भेजा, ताकि जब जरुरत हो तब हम उसे Update करा सकें | इस से बैंक का स्टेशनरी और courier खर्चा कम होगा |
स्वीकार्य है |
लेकिन जब पासबूक नया छापा है, कस्टमर के नाम-अड्रेस छापे हैं, तो उस में अभी की current balance भी तो छप ही सकती थी ना? आज तक की बेलेन्स उसी कोम्प्युटर में से उसे छापना है जहां से यह पासबूक छपी है और उसका कोइ अलग खर्च भी नहीं होनेवाला है | फिर भी बैंक ने plain passbook भेज दिया है | अब पहली बार उस में entry कराने के लिए बैंक के लाखों ग्राहकोंको ब्रान्च में जाना पडेगा |
अगर HDFC Bank ने कस्टमर के Reference से सोचा होता, तो उसने पासबूक का पहला पेज current balance को छापकर ही भेजा होता | एक छोटी सी लापरवाही लाखों कस्टमर के लाखों घंटों का समय-शक्ति बरबाद कर देती है |
हमें हमेशा अपने कस्टमर की सुविधा का विचार करना चाहिए | अगर हमारा हर कर्मचारी, हमारा हर डीपार्टमेन्ट की सोच के केन्द्र में कस्टमर का खयाल करना स्थापित हो, तो ऐसी बिना सोच-समज के Decisions नहीं लिए जाएंगे |
अगर हम वैसा नहीं कर पाये तो कस्टमर की नाराज़गी स्वाभाविक है |
Here are some consumer insights which may help you to lend meaning to your tagline : “We understand your world”.
1) In our world, when we call up the branch (at given number in the passbook), we expect some human being to speak to us. Not a AVRS taking us through a range of meaningless options and then leading nowhere.
2) If you decide to send us the passbook and print it, we expected it to print the initial pages with the current balance also. Why do you expect us to go to the bank for getting it updated for the first time, when the data is already there in your system when you printed our passbook? Think logically, marketing guys…!
3) In our real world, we don’t carry HUF debit card (because we said we did not want it, in the first place), even if it comes FREE. You send us a FREE debit card and then you force us to enter Debit card and its PIN number in various transactions which could have been designed some other way.
4) In real world, we don’t carry following things, all together :
- Bank Account Number
- Your Customer ID (TWO in case of HUF)
- Your NetBanking Password
- Your TPIN (Phone Banking PIN)
- Your Debit Card Number
- Your Debit Card ATM PIN number
No we dont’t.
5) In our real world, when we go to our bank to deposit cash, the Receiving Cashier does not treat us as if we are the reason for her Bad Hair Day, and angrily ask us to provide “Source” for a deposit of few thousand rupees. It could be a formality, but your Cashiers could behave a little more friendly, if you really Understood Our World.
6) In our real world in our Credit Card statements, the name that we should write on cheques for Credit Card payment should be written in normal sized letters. Currently, you can’t read it with Magnifying glass also.
7) The space for writing name in your Deposit Slips is illogically less. In our real world, this space should be bigger.
8) When we are sold the Credit Card, the bank RM and some other sales people follow up a lot, but after that, for making payment for the same Credit Card, the branch does not have much support other than a drop box to drop cheques. Any grievance, concern regarding the Credit Card has to be handled by the customer himself/herself. In real world, the customer is same when you sold him the card and after that. You may turn your back towards him, but he does not forget that.
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 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 |