Monday, May 25, 2009

A service worth paying for

Consumers in India would benefit from the services of a site like MINT. Here's why .

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Service Japanese style

Visited a lovely Indian restaurant 'Gurgaon' in Tokyo. Quaint, cosy place with great food and awesome service.

On stepping out I found it had started to rain. I did not have an umbrella. Thought I'd wait for a few minutes for the rain to abate and make a dash to the hotel. The restaurant manager came over and figured that I did not have an umbrella. He went and got me an umbrella. I thanked him and said I'd return it the next day. He sweetly said it would not be necessary.

After nearly 20 hours in airports and aircrafts I was rather tired. I wanted to get back to the hotel asap to rest. The thoughtful gesture by the restaurant manager saved me precious time, helped me reach the hotel comfortably. 

Such intuitive , unexpected service is more the norm in Japan than the exception (in my experience). A reminder that business is ultimately a human endeavor. And that in our consumerist world the quality of the experiences we enable as businesses impacts lives. A thought perhaps worth holding on to while shaping service policies , building culture, encouraging employees to use their discretion and kindness when the manual has no answer for unusual , unexpected situations.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

SoulQuest Inspiration Blog

We are happy to share the launch of the SoulQuest Inspiration Blog . Though the SoulQuest Inspiration Blog we will share some of diverse influences that inspire us - ranging from people , places , art , tradition , books , decor , companies... And our perspective in the amazing journey of SoulQuest. 

Innovative service

Innovative use of technology to save time for consumers while enhancing the quality of the service.

Clothing brands in India can use such technology to offer clothing consultation services. Often one sees consumers in stores who would appreciate inputs on how to combine various pieces of clothing , what will go well with which piece of apparel etc . Barring a few stores and salespersons - most of the store staff in Indian retail today lack the knowledge to make meaningful suggestions to consumers. The challenges for brands in attempting to provide such a service would be in finding the right persons . Then the compounded challenge of getting the right persons across their various geographical locations , continuous training . Would they be gainfully occupied ? 

With such technology the expertise can be in a central location accessible to all the stores , consumers that would like to use it . It can help differentiate flagship stores from the MBOs (multi brand outlets ).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spring clean

Cleaned my cupboards over the weekend . Cleaning a cupboard is a strong reminder of the Ayurvedic principle that you can't (effectively) treat a part without addressing the whole.

Applies equally to organizations :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Never say never :)

I've never liked the idea of playing games on the computer or mobile. On any mobile or computer I used so far I've never given more than a cursory look at the gaming options. That cursory look would be mostly when the device was purchased and one is trying to figure out the range of options. 

Last evening I went to the local Star Bazar . The check out area would have inspired books titled 'Exodus'. Had a polling booth been installed there the voter turnout of the area could have shot up be a few percentage points at least. In any of the queues the waiting time was a minimum of 25 mins . I could see store staff wandering around making no effort to expedite the billing. Having complained earlier at this store on this issue I could see that they lacked the recognition that this is a problem for customers , the willingness and ingenuity to do something to alleviate the situation. 

The music system at the store was on high blast (the curious thing about this store is that when it's crowded they seem to crank up the volume and vice-versa. Perhaps there's a retail myth that this helps in some inexplicable way ). Anyway , the din of the music and the heightened decibel level by hundreds of consumers threatened to overwhelm . I tried to switch on the FM channel on my phone . For some reason it would play only one channel which was playing songs that made the environment at Star Bazar more appealing in comparison.  While going the entertainment section of the phone I saw rescue in the form of Sudoku ! Switched it on and spent 20 blissful minutes playing Sudoku .Finished one puzzle successfully. Had a Zen like calm at the end of it . 

At most large format food retailers there is a considerable waiting time. Retailers must look at reducing the waiting time and find ways to make the wait pleasant/tolerable. A retailer who respects a customer's time would be generously rewarded by customers. 

In my next phone I'll probably look for Crossword :)