Category Archives: Consumer Insight

हमारे मार्केटींग में क्या गलत हो सकता है?

कभी कभी हम गलत कस्टमर को अपना माल बेचने की कोशिश करते हैं | हमारा कस्टमर कौन है, यह नहीं समज पाना यही हमारी सब से बड़ी मार्केटींग गलती हो सकती है |

हर एक प्रोडक्ट या सर्विस का एक कस्टमर होता है | उस कस्टमर को उस प्रोडक्ट में कुछ value, कुछ मूल्य दिखता है, जो प्रोडक्ट की कीमत के सिवाय कुछ और, कुछ दूसरा होता है |

२ लाख की Tata Nano का भी एक ग्राहक वर्ग होता है | और ४०-५० लाख की मर्सिडीज़ का भी कस्टमर ग्रुप होता है, और यह दोनों अलग लोग होते हैं, दोनों की पसंद, उनकी Lifestyle, उनकी सोच, तरिके सब कुछ अलग होता है |

उन दोनों कस्टमरों को अपनी अपनी Nano या Mercedez में कुछ value, कुछ मूल्य दिखता है, जो कार की कीमत के सिवाय कुछ और, कुछ दूसरा होता है |

मार्केटींग में हमारी कोशिश सही कस्टमरों को पहचानके, उनकी ज़रुरतों को समजके उन्हें हमारी प्रोडक्ट-सर्विस के बारे में बता के बेचना यहीं होनी चाहिए | गलत कस्टमर को अपनी प्रोडक्ट के बारे में चाहे कितना भी बताओ, उस के फायदे दिखलाओ, वह हमारी प्रोडक्ट नहीं खरीदेगा क्यों कि उसे हमारी प्रोडक्ट में कुछ Value नहीं दिखती | उन के पीछे मेहनत-समय-पैसा बरबाद मत करो |

“Ullu Banaving” – Manipulative Pricing gets punished

Some organizations are notorious for misleading pricing claims. Publisher of India’s leading English daily The Times Of India frequently comes out with misleading pricing claims. I received a call from Times group’s magazine distribution company saying “On one year subscription, we offer 50% discount. The newsstand price is 1440. But we charge only 840.” I asked “But then it is not 50% discount. 50% of 1440 is 720.” “Yes sir. We add Rs.120 as delivery charge. Rs 10 per issue.” They may be right in claiming that delivery charge, but to the customer whatever she pays is the final price. So, 840 instead of 1440 is 41.67%. It is not 50%.

Then why should they claim it and try to mislead the customer? It is bad customer experience.

No wonder Times’ magazine portfolio sucks. Customer does not forgive Ullu Banaving manipulative pricing.

पान की दुकान से कस्टमर सर्विस के पाठ

किसी पान वाले की दुकान पर आप गये होंगे तो आप ने कुछ ऐसा अनुभव किया होगा |
१) उस के पास आनेवाले कस्टमरों को वह क्रम अनुसार ही attend करता है | पान या मावा बनाते वक्त कोइ सिगरेट-गुटखा वगैरह खरिदने को आता है तो उस को wait करना पडता है | अन्य जगहों पर उतावल से, जल्दी सर्विस की डीमान्ड करने वाला कस्टमर भी यहां मजबूरी से wait करता है | पानवाला अपने कस्टमर की सायकोलोजी अच्छी तरह से समझता है | जो अपनी तंबाकु-गुटखा-सिगरेट वगैरह की आदत से मजबूर होते हैं ऐसे weak-कमजोर लोग ही वहां आते हैं| ऐसे मजबूर लोगों के पास और कोइ विकल्प ही नहीं है, इस लिए वह वहां इन्तज़ार करेंगे, कहीं नहीं जायेंगे |
पान वाले के पास से कस्टमर सर्विस का पहला पाठ : अपने कस्टमर की सायकोलोजी को समझो | उस अभ्यास के अनुसार उस के साथ बर्ताव करो |

२) हर ग्राहक का एक “खानदानी” पानवाला होता है| उस को कैसा पान-मावा चाहिए यह पानवाला खास से याद रखता है| और कस्टमर को इस बात का अपूर्व गर्व होता है| इसी वजह से कस्टमर पानवाले को छोडता नहीं है|

पान वाले के पास से कस्टमर सर्विस का दूसरा पाठ : अपने कस्टमर की पसंद-नापसंद पर ध्यान दें | ग्राहक को आप का व्यक्तिगत ध्यान प्राप्त होगा तो वह आप का साथ कभी भी नहीं छोडेगा…

३) पानवाले के पास से कस्टमर को हमेशा वही क्वोलिटी मिलती है, हर एक चीज़ की सही मात्रा, प्रमाण सब कुछ वैसा ही हमेशा मिलता है, इसी लिए कस्टमर उस पानवाले को छोडता नहीं है|
पान वाले के पास से कस्टमर सर्विस का तीसरा पाठ : Be consistent. कस्टमर को हमेशा वही क्वोलिटी मिले वह खास ध्यान दें|

सिर्फ चीज़ें या वस्तुएं ही नहीं बिकती, उनको बेचने का तरीका भी उतना ही अहमियत रखता है|

किसी विख्यात ब्रान्ड की फ्रेन्चाइझी लेनेवाले के मन में यह आश रहती है की पैसा डाल दिया, फ्रेन्चाइझी ले ली अब तो बस चांदी ही चांदी है| अब तो ब्रान्ड के चाहक ग्राहक ढूंढते-भागते हमारे पास आयेंगे…|

लेकिन ऐसा हमेशा होता नहीं है|
मुंबइ के जुहु में एक ख्यातनाम आईस्क्रीम पार्लर है| उस की सफलता से प्रेरित कंपनीने बहोत सारे फ्रेन्चाइझी पार्लरों के द्वारा अपना विकास करना चाहा| जुहु की आईस्क्रीम का टेस्ट जीस को अच्छा लगा होगा वह कस्टमर को वही क्वोलिटी, वही फ्लेवर्स, वही कोन-कप उन्हीं दामों पर अपने घर के करिब मिलेंगे तो वह खुशी-खुशी वहां जाएगा ऐसा कंपनी के मार्केटींग डीपार्टमेन्ट ने सोचा और मालिकों को भी यह सही लगा होगा | लेकिन उन में से काफी सारे पार्लर ठीक नहीं चल रहे हैं|
कारण?
१) कुछ पार्लर गलत लोकेशन्स पर हैं, जहां कस्टमरों के लिए आना मुश्किल है|
२) पार्लर के कुछ फ्रेन्चाइझी अपनी लालच के वश में पैसा बचाने के चक्कर में कस्टमर को अच्छी सेवा-सुविधा देने से कतराते हैं| इन के मलाड-वेस्ट सब-वे के पास स्थित पार्लर में आप जायेंगे तो आप को ऐसा नकारात्मक अनुभव होगा|

परिणाम?
लोगों को प्रोडक्ट या ब्रान्ड तो वही मिल रही है, लेकिन अनुभव वही नहीं हो रहा है|

सिर्फ चीज़ें या वस्तुएं ही नहीं बिकती, उनको बेचने का तरीका और कस्टमर का अनुभव भी उतना ही अहमियत रखता है|

अगर कोई ब्रान्ड सिर्फ पैसे देखकर किसी को भी अपना फ्रेन्चाइझी बना देगी और उस के नैतिक मूल्य ब्रान्ड की ईमेज से विपरीत होंगे, कस्टमर को अच्छा अनुभव नहीं होगा, तो अंत में वह फ्रेन्चाइझी भी निष्फलता प्राप्त करेगा और उस ब्रान्ड को भी उस फ्रेन्चाइझी की लालच की वजह से नुकसान ही होगा़…

What confuses our customers?

Gujarati Thali is a very simple, hassle free format for savoring a wide range of delicacies in an efficient, prompt and convenient way.

It has a fixed price, fixed menu and unlimited food. You can eat anything to your satisfaction from a wide range of dishes on the menu.

Ahmedabad has some very good Thali restaurants. Almodt all of them follow the same model. Fixed price. Fixed menu. Unlimited food.

Gopi is one of the oldest near V S Hospital. Recently, a visit there and the confusion thereof left a not very savory aftertaste.

Once there, we were asked “Fixed or unlimited Thali?”

Then next question was “Kathiawadi” or “Gujarati”?

Then “Which out of the 4 sweets? You can choose any one out of 4.”

For the 6 of us who had gone there for dinner, the next 45 minutes were full of confusion because each had selected a different variant of combinations available.

Companies needlessly come out with creative ways to create complexity out of simplicity and make the customer’s experience unappetizing.

Actually, a fixed menu with 3-4 sweets available to all really does not increase cost to the company significantly.

Here, I remember one profound consumer insight a restaurant owner shared with me. He said “Whether there are 8 items on the menu or 40, a person can eat around 400 grams of food. So, adding or reducing items on menu does not make much difference to the cost if there is some minimum volume in the business.”

Gopi should realize that dividing menu and sweets and confusing the customer results in bad Customer Experience in the end without adding anything to profit.

Give more choice. But reduce complexity and confusion. Many of your new competitors are doing it profitably.

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.

Options to the real estate industry

The real estate industry in India is facing an uphill challenge. Last 5-6 years have seen an unprecedented rise in rates of real estate all across India. The rise is really phenomenal as it is beyond any logic that market experts could attribute it to.

But, now it seems the rally has stopped. The rise has stalled for the time being. But, the recent hike in the sale prices in real estate has resulted into a corresponding rise in the input and interest costs. So, even though the prices are unaffordable, they are not coming down. The developers of the real estate industry can’t sell at lower rates and can’t bear the burden of the unsold inventory also.

So what is the solution?

In marketing terms,there is a NEED for the accommodation, for the real estate. But this need is not resulting into sales, because the price is not affordable to the customer.  How to bridge this gap?

1) If we observe recent trends, there is a lot of mobility in people’s careers. More people are shifting bases rapidly, jumping from one job to another, from one city to another. The demand-supply equation of the job market is prompting people to stay at a city for few years and then move to another city. A large number of these people are youngsters, who are not yet married and are open to change cities for few years. But, each time they shift to a new city, they have to pass through a lot of hassles of finding and settling into a new house.

2) There is a huge movement of marketing/sales/support people across the country for shorter periods at various cities and towns. They face difficulty in finding decent accommodation, because hotels are prohibitively expensive and the low-end options are unacceptably lower in quality. Admin departments of companies are always hard pressed to find good temporary staying solutions for their touring staff members.

Such types of movements of people from one place to another can be supported and exploited commercially by real estate developers.

For that, they need to look at little ahead in their value chain. They need to develop real estate management organization and provide managed, furnished, shared or independent decent and affordable paying guest type of accommodations to individuals, families or companies for various types of time periods.

In short, there is a huge demand for managed, rental accommodations which do not have troubles associated with Leasing or renting Leave & License accommodations and are affordable below the hotels. Also, if such housing options are available across major cities, companies will be interested in booking accommodations for their touring manpower. They will get same standardized quality across various cities.

In today’s changing India, temporary ownership is becoming popular. Customers are not averse to paying for using something of good quality. This way, even if they can’t buy it, they can avail of good quality product or service. And the real estate developers can get better returns on their investment, while still holding the ownership of the property and earning its appreciation.

Just like radio cabs pooled together many assorted transporting vehicles, it will be pertinent if real estate developers and investors look into similar options for accommodation.

Why films fail? Marketing lessons from Bollywood failures…

This is very basic observation. But it needs mention, because it has slipped the attention of many in the Bollywood.

A film, is an Audio-Visual story, an entertainment product. Now the basic function of a film as a product must be to tell a story through the effective use of Audio and Visual. On any one or all of these media, sometimes even the most aniticipated and hyped films fall short.

Inaudible Audio :

I recently saw Jab Tak Hai Jaan on SET MAX. A very good film, acted by my favorite, a veteran, Shah Rukh Khan and directed by the legend Yash Chopra. But, while watching the film, I came across 8-10 instances where the dialogs are either :

a) Delivered too fast OR

b) Spoken in very low volume voice (whispers), which are hardly audible

Invisible Video :

Some films, even though directed by great directors, have some scenes where there is a stark darkness on the screen, coupled with strange, inaudible audio, where audience has to struggle hard to make sense of what is going on. Ravan (2010) by Mani Ratnam is one such example which comes to my mind.

Ineffective Storytelling :

Many films, fail to tell the story in a coherent manner. I remember going to watch Khatta Meetha (Akshay Kumar) with a lot of hope to see something as good as the funny original Khatta Meetha. But here, the story was moving so erratically, with many illogical cuts and joints, that one felt it was complete waste of time.

The end result of such audio which is not audible, the video which is not visible and the story which does not hold our attention, the average person (and there are a lot of such people like me), feels disconnected from the film. Many such instances in the same film, and the disconnection results in irritation. This results in bad word of mouth. And the films don’t live up to the expectations or hype. Regardless of SRK, Akshay Kumar, Yash Chopra, Mani Ratnam or whatever or whoever.

One reason for such shortcomings could be that they as actors, directors or editors watch the film or scenes too many times. So, they don’t realize the problems which the person watching it for the first time may face. Technically perfect, marketed with a lot of style and noise, the Bollywood products fail because such simple ideas are missed even by veterans.

Marketing lesson : A product must deliver on the basic promises it makes. An audio visual story should have three basic elements delivered clearly : Audio, Visuals and Story. The Bollywood must remember that a lot of ordinary people like me go to watch their films. If they make their films understandable only by highly intelligent and smart people, they will get very few of them, because they are in only a small fraction and also sometimes Bollywood is beyond their taste… Typical Bollywood fans come to watch films for entertainment, not to tax their ears, eyes or brains.

 

Observe your customers to get valuable insights…

A friend, who is a business coach to a famous sit-in restaurant chain in Mumbai shared this recently.

The client has many outlets in Mumbai. Their outlet in Malad, Mumbai was one of the very oldest and successful one, doing great business. But, it was not on the main roads. It was down inside a by-lane of Malad. The owner wanted to shift it to S V Road, an always busy road. Finally, a new commercial building came up and the restaurant outlet shifted there, in a much bigger, brighter place. The owner was sure of increasing business many-fold.

But, even after six months of starting at the new location, the outlet was losing more and more of its business. Month after month, its sales was declining. More and more regular, loyal customers were dropping. In fact, these six months of the festival period were generally the most profitable months. Every year since last 15 years, they had done the best business during those months in the year. The owner was puzzled at this sudden negative trend in the business. The coach was approached to find out the problem and to suggest a solution.

After discussions with the owner, some key staff members and observing the place during afternoon and evening busy hours for few days, the coach understood the problem. He asked the owner “Did you have the older outlet with the transparent glass walls? Could the passers-by on the road see what is happening in the restaurant?”

The owner : “No. It had brick walls. But we were suggested to have the clear, transparent walls at the new place by our interior designer, as it would make the place look bigger and brighter.”

Coach : “That precisely is the problem. The customers coming to your sit-in restaurant are not comfortable being seen while they are eating. And now you have made them more visible on the busy S V Road…! No wonder, they don’t want their lunch or dinner on display. Unknowingly, you have made them uncomfortable….”

The owner realized the big mistake. He immediately got those glasses covered to ensure privacy of diners. The restaurant returned back to its renewed glory in few months.

Sometimes, we miss very simple things about what our customers like or dislike. Observing our consumers can provide valuable insight into their world.