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 :)


Balu said...

I too have a Star Bazaar experience, which I like to share. Before that I want to say that this long Queue at counter problem is there in almost all large format retail outlets in spite of multiple counters. Sometimes when the comp. crashes or printer needs refill, or sometimes some customer has grievance and he or she would shout, will demand the manager to be summoned at the counter. Some would want Ratan, Ambani or Biyani to be produced there for justice. (Customer is King)

The games in Mobile and Comp. Even I don’t like – How about seriously and systematically observing the people in the queue.

Once in Bangalore Star Bazaar, me and one of our common acquaintance were browsing the book section. The loud local music was continuously disturbing and not allowing us to concentrate. I am a type who can switch off my auditory senses and concentrate on something else. But not our friend he went to the counter and requested to either change the music or lower the volume. The man was helpless and said, sir one, today its local language music compulsory and the second is the music is played throughout the store and I in book section cannot do anything. Our friend just pulled me out of the store.

Savitha Rao said...

Generally in India we have a propensity towards high decibel levels - festivals , political rallies , parties , weddings , any kind of celebration , gym , pub , restaurants , food courts . Retail has joined this bandwagon even though it's often counter productive to their primary objective of business. As you have mentioned in this instance your friend pulled you out of the store. In many cases it must be distracting customers who end up forgetting to buy all that they planned to. When customers bring small children to the store/mall the children often get instinctively disturbed/repelled by the decibel levels forcing the parents to exit from the place asap.

Being able to switch off auditory senses is a gift :)

neelakantan said...

There is a theory that faster music makes people buy more :) at retail stores. This has been validated by experts.

But coming to your check out counter experience - this is the one area where Indian retail fails comprehensively. Either they never open all the counters or they are overwhelmed by the crowds - either way, this is the woooorssshhtt part of shopping. Mostly this is being pennywise pound foolish - they wont have enough people man the counters and fast check out will not work in India because everybody will argue that they have just one or two more items than the specified limit...sigh!!

Heres a thought. If they said, take a discount of 1 percent for every 5 minutes you spend at the counter, that will be something of an incentive for themselves no ?

Savitha Rao said...

Indian retailers offering a discount for waiting time. I can see them fainting at the very thought :)

This problem can be solved . This is low hanging fruit. Instead of looking at such opportunities to build customer loyalty and a profitable business - retailers somehow prefer the arduous path of price wars and discounts . Everyone loses in the bargain .