Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Customer Contact Week

Oriental Bank of Commerce has advertised 19-24 Dec 2011 as " Customer Contact Week" - feedback/suggestions welcome !:)

This must be the outcome of some profound strategy. Listen to the customer for a week and spend the rest of the year working on the suggestions ?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The scent of an airline..

Later perhaps..the perfume in an aircraft shaped bottle !:)

Monday, September 5, 2011


Festivals in particular and Mumbai in general is a ripe market for ear plugs . Instead of giving pointless gifts like sweets - lets give thoughtful gifts like ear plugs to survive the din.

p.s - when 2 festivals coincide give extra strong ear plugs.

God save the God(s)

Lord Ganesha definitely represents prosperity when devotees gift kilos of gold each year. What happens to the gold post the festival one wonders ?

What prevents the devotees from using that money to feed / educate children , provide medical aid to the needy or plant trees ?

The poor God(s) must surely despair at being reduced to the status of a hedonistic , greedy mortal of poor taste.

God save the God(s).

Friday, July 22, 2011

End the deficit..

“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for re-election.”

—Warren Buffett giving us a quick lesson on incentive in an interview on CNBC.

A nearly fool-proof way to get any economy back on track !:)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy to sue (customers)

Vodafone sent a notice to a customer who posted on his Facebook wall about his problems with the service provider. This has to be a new low in customer service. Incredibly foolhardy and arrogant of Vodafone to think that they could get away with this stunt in today's connected world.

The customer alleges that the CMO asked him to change to another service if he was not satisfied. What a role model for the rest of the company ! Instead of addressing the service issues if a senior executive speaks high handedly to a customer it sends strong signals to the rest of the organization that this is an acceptable attitude.Vodafone might as well disband all service training programs (if they do conduct any).

Vodafone's gripe is that Dhaval posted numbers of their executives on his page. This is a huge offense in Corporate Land. Companies devise elaborate procedures to keep customers as far away as possible from their senior management. As a test case the next time you call any company - airline , credit card , retailer , phone company - if your problem is not being resolved by the person handling your call just ask them for the name, telephone number , email id of the service head or CEO . Suddenly they will get very co-operative or they'll develop amnesia or say that they only know their immediate supervisor. Often organizations become a world unto themselves with senior management feeling like monarchs of their fiefdoms. They don't want to be bothered with lowly matters like customers especially when it's a Rs 1000-1500/ month type of revenue (the CMO would have paid way more attention to a B2B client ).

Vodafone's facebook page is filled with complaints from customers across the country. Some of it in language that would be deemed profane. Maybe Vodafone should clarify that what they're trying to say is it's ok for people to vent their fury on Vodafone's page rather than their own ?

This episode opens up opportunities for ad agencies of the phone companies . Vodafone's agency can figure a new tag line since "happy to help" is not valid. Other phone companies can add "we don't send notices to our customers" in their list of virtues.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Who is the leader ?

Baba Ramdev has promised to go on a fast from June 4. A news channel put together a panel for the 9.00 pm news which had Justice Santosh Hegde and a representative from the Congress
(Manish Tiwari possibly undergoing therapy to recoup or coaching on how to defend the Congress in the latest scam ) and few other folks. Part of the discussion initiated by the anchor was about the "Anna" camp , "Baba Ramdev" camp etc . He kept asking "Who is the leader of this movement ? Anna or Baba ? ". Justice Hedge's reply that both are leaders whose views he respects was not sufficiently newsworthy enough for the anchor who kept repeating the question.

"Who is the leader?" (in the context of this situation) comes from a paradigm that there can be only one leader. A pyramid structure which can hold only one person at the top. This type of questioning is also symptomatic of the times where depth , introspection , analysis are compromised for quick conclusions and buzz. This Maggi noodles approach to complex issues serves nobody's interest.

Maybe Nestle can launch a campaign saying our noodles have spawned a whole new approach to analysis and discussion of issues (which are way more convoluted than the noodles ). With Maggi at least one can get an enjoyable snack at the end of the few minutes. When a news channel (or any organization) uses that approach to a complex issue all one gets is wasted time.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Monday mornings

Monday morning 10.30 am meeting in progress- the phone rang persistently. Answered the phone to find the call from Matrix Cellular to ask if I would be travelling overseas and if yes they would like to offer their services . I've used their services several times. Their calls every fortnight to remind are a waste of their money and my time. ( I'm glad the co that issues the forex has not decided to call every fortnight..I would probably plan a trip overseas to escape such calls )

Monday mornings are not the best time to market services like these. The start of the week tends to be an important time for most folks - planning , review etc . To call customers then is an unappreciated interruption that could actually work negatively . In fact , even emails should be prudently sent especially in a b2b context. Send the marketing/ biz proporal mail later in the day (I.e on a Monday) * or week.
* exceptions being time bound proposals/ tenders or if already pre agreed to send in the communication asap.

The lady from Matrix who called was visibly disappointed . I felt sorry for her. In this case the call was unnecessary and the timing couldn't have been worse. Planning sales calls better would help the morale of the sales person too thereby opening up the possibility for better results ( there are cos that need to introspect and analyse whether they should be calling the customer at all or at the frequency they currently are e.g would an email do the job just as well or better)

Realigning sales calls to an appropriate time will make for a better week and better results for all involved.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

KYC - Know Your Customer

My mobile service provider of 12 years kept sending text messages "Your invitation to join Loop M-Channel - a service for best offers and promotions expires in 10 days. To join reply to this SMS with yes". Out of curiosity I texted 'Yes'. After which followed the most bizarre question a company could ask a customer after 12 years - "are you 1. Male or 2. Female ? " . This was then followed by a question about age group and interests.

The fact that the questions are easy to answer via sms and that the replies are free - possibly gives the company the feeling that they can ask pretty much anything.

Maybe they should use the facility to ask more pertinent questions " Do you intend to remain our customer ? Text 1 for Yes , 2 for No "

Monday, April 4, 2011

Divine deals

India won the World Cup. The euphoria still in the air.

Am discovering interesting information about individual deals struck with various Gods..and who are now making good on their end of the deal. An aunt who has promised 108 coconuts , my cook gave Rs 101 this morning. Across the country there would be millions of folks who struck some deal with their God(s) for India to win this cup.

It would make for a more equitable country if the giving was channelized towards helping the needy.The victory would extend beyond the sport.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Land of the Brave

Japan is a country close to our heart . We have several Japanese clients, business associates and friends. It’s amazing and inspiring to see how stoic and brave they are. Across companies we see the same message ‘We must now work to build the future of our country’. We see this in individuals of different age groups . Truly remarkable and admirable.

We wish the citizens of Japan strength , courage , peace and joy to overcome and triumph the many challenges they are faced with.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Suitcase shelf..

Have a few suitcases at home. They take up a fair amount of space and don't fit into the space on top of cupboards. Suitcases in a room take up space and create a visual clutter. This is a problem . And an opportunity.

There's scope to design simple , hollow cupboards with an openable door in which the suitcase(s) can slide in. The top of the shelf can be used for creative display. Drape a lovely fabric on it to add flair and vibrancy to the space.

The idea can be creatively rendered . The sides of the cupboard can have frames in which to slide in pics , the sides can have delicate carvings etc

Plant trees

Political parties have been defacing Mumbai roads with garish posters for years now. Lately some of them have inserting a message in the posters. Possibly a lame bid to look like they have something to say.

The latest one is a NCP poster where the politician's face is about 86% of the poster space. The residual space on the poster has a message to plant trees and save the earth.

Considering the way the agriculture ministry is operating this is now essential for all Indians to do in order to get food at a reasonable cost. Quite clairvoyant and considerate of the agriculture minister to print posters to alert us .