Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Service Oasis

Visited an optician's store today . It's a store we've been patronizing for the past decade . Phenomenal service - efficient , personalized . A visit there is like meeting friends . The product range is terrific too . Though this store is some distance away from our current residence we buy only from this store (it helps I guess that glasses are not a monthly purchase).

There's a watch retailer next door (to the optician). Popped in to see the range . While the product range was quite nice the service was way better . The sales person at the store took the effort to understand the requirement and then showed a relevant range of watches . Normally when I have visited the watch section at department stores in Mumbai I have seldom found a watch I would consider buying . Today , I actually had the delight of options to pick from . What I found interesting was having understood my requirement the sales person presented a whole range of options for it . I enquired about a brand which they do not currently stock . He made some calls and offered to present the options from that brand in a day . He did not focus on selling a particular brand or a price point - rather on fulfilling a need . 

After the tepid to indifferent service (attempt to sell is not service ) at many large retail outlets experiences like these are refreshing.

Political lampposts

Good piece by Amit Varma . The reference to lamp posts makes one rue the fact that many of our politicians don't match up even to lamp posts in terms of service.

Green Roofs

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Zen tale...

A Zen story about business...

...A man riding very fast on a horse . His friend standing at the side of the road hollers ,"Where are you going ?" The rider turns around and says ,"I don't know, ask the horse ! "  The horse , not the man is in control . This is the situation for many on the planet today. The business is the horse, and the rider of the horse does not think he has the power to stop.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Irresponsible advertising

A young girl probably 6-7 years in a class room feels she's not pretty because the kid sitting next to her is more focused on his book. She voices her concern "am I not pretty?" . Her dad tip toes into the classroom and takes her for a ride in his new Maruti DZire car . Everyone in the vicinity looks at them . And the girl feels thrilled "everyone is looking at me . Am I so pretty ?"  . This is the TV ad for Maruti DZire . The point of this ad escapes me entirely . If your child has self-esteem issues you can fix them (at least temporarily ) by buying this car ? Is this some new segment identified by Maruti-Suzuki and their ad agency ? I suppose one should feel glad that this advertiser and their ad agency is not in the business of health care . They may feel tempted to project nail polish as part of the solution to treat a back injury .

Advertisers often seek to project/insinuate some deficiency in the consumer and offer their product/service as the solution . Projecting self esteem issues in a child especially over physical appearance is irresponsible . And projecting the car as part of the solution is incomprehensible.

Yours truly is incensed enough by the ad to write to Maruti-Suzuki . Strangely the ' Contact Us' section in the Maruti Suzuki website does not have an email id to which a message can be sent ! 19 offices are listed with their address and telephone number . Not a single email id.  This is as strange as the ad :) I'll have to send them a letter + call . 

Pl write to Maruti-Suzuki to share your views and concerns on such advertisements . And to any company that authorizes such irresponsible advertisements . We have created and inhabit a world where consumerism is the new epidemic . It's tough even for adults to retain perspective in a world that constantly thrusting overt and subliminal messages to buy , buy and buy . The sum total of the individual is reduced to the physical aspect alone . You can never be slim enough , stylish enough , beautiful enough , suave enough , smart enough , rich enough...unless you buy the product / service the advertiser is offering . A clear line needs to be drawn at least on irresponsible projection of children in advertisements. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Gods wait...

'Retail is our religion , customers are our Gods , the stores our temples. We have to enshrine our customers as Gods in our minds' - CEO , Future Group .

As an occasional God (customer) gracing the temples of Future Group I have been treated in an un-God like manner at the temples :)  Asked to deposit my hand-bag at the baggage counter because it doesn't meet their size specs for a lady's purse (it will be quite a shift for the store employees to swing from treating customers as potential shop lifters to Gods) , chaotic environment , not much help at aisles , check out counter staff not responding to well to the idea of me taking my purchases in my bag (i.e declining their plastic bag). It's therefore a pleasant surprise to hear of the Future Group's initiatives to turn to mythology in an attempt to (among other things ) improve customer service

Let's hope this doesn't become yet another temple where the rituals are revered and the Gods sidelined. 

Waiting for the service enhancing rituals to arrive at my local temple aka Big Bazar :)

Sign of the times...


A global sports brand creates a co-branded range with a circus. How would most marketeers respond to that ? With horror perhaps . Or view it as a joke .

Jukari - a co-branded range by Reebok and Cirque Du Soleil.

Cirque du Soleil (French for 'Circus of the Sun') started off as a circus . With passion , creativity , discipline and focus they have created an organization that is virtually an industry in itself . A space that attracts and nurtures some of the best performing talent in the world. 3800 employees and 600 million $ in revenue . Read some of the fascinating history here.

To borrow a phrase from Adidas ' Impossible is nothing'.