Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh! What an engineer!!

Two days back there was a call from an upcoming mall. They wanted a visicooler within about 4 hours.

I told them "No, issues. Just send me a copy of the cheque you are going to give us and I will have
the item sent to you within 2 to 3 hours."

Then they said "Our engineer wants to talk to you. We want to see the item to take measurement of
size so that we can determine whether it will fit in a particular place".

I told them that the item was not with me in my showroom and that I will have to send it from elsewhere.
Please visit our website and the dimensions are given in mm and you can quickly check out".

While on the phone I directed them to the website and the engineer confirmed the dimensions. I said: Yes.

After two hours there was a call from my showroom stating that the engineer and two others were in my
showroom wanting to see the item and measure it.

Oh, What an engineer? Maybe he is an engineer from one of the scores of engineering colleges.
Tailor-made engineer?

Bottom-line: I lost a sale!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Good service, just short of excellent....

There is this grand sweet shop near my house. Earlier they were in one place in the city, but now they have opened shop in many places within Chennai. All the shops are imposing. Neat and clean. They are famous for their sweets and savories.

The other day, I was in a hurry and I went inside this shop and ordered for 1/2 kg. of Kaju Kathli. The customer executive asked the supervisor whether they have received in the stocks just arrived. The supervisor asked him to give from the shelf. I knew something was amiss but my brain didn't work that fast. 1/2 kg. of KK costs around Rs.400.

When I reached home I found to my dismay that the sweets were nearing shelf life and not that good. Sweets are among the items having the shortest shelf life.

The next day I went to this shop for lunch (this is their add-on) and pointed out to them that they had palmed off not so good sweets to me the earlier evening.

"Do you have the bill? Have you brought the sweets?" the supervisor questioned. We will replace. I told her "No, not right here. But I can bring and show you".

I had to go back to this shop the same evening for some other purchase and I gave them part of the KK and the bill. While going back, after paying my bill, I casually pointed out to them the returned item.

The supervisor after some hesitation asked her service executive to give me 1/4 kg. of KK.

They just missed out the "Wow" factor in customer service.


Friday, January 11, 2013

What is in it for me??

Some days back I received an SMS as follows:

Big opportunity in 6900 crore Beauty & Salon business.  ABC company (XYZ Group) is looking
for franchisee in  Chennai & rest of TN. call: xxxxxxxxxx

That is great. You have found out that Beauty & Salon business is a 6900 crore industry. Where?
Whole of India. But if I want to become a franchisee, I should first find out the right answer for
this one question: WHAT IS THERE IN IT FOR ME?

My daughter visited a franchisee of the above said (I have deliberately not mentioned the name)
near my house. She is pleased with the place. She says it is comparable to such places in the US.
The charges are reasonable (when compared to charges in dollars!!). She spends a thousand and more
and even gladly gives a tip of 10 to 15%.

Probably she has got the habit of getting to know about businesses (in my footsteps?) and the person
in charge opens up with her sad story.

The business is running in loss. Few walk-ins and mostly they come for eye-brow trimming and the like
where the billing is not more than Rs.100. The franchisee is stuck with a point of no-return having invested
couple of lakhs.

I go to my neighbourhood saloon (Not Salon!!). It is a small dilapidated 70 sq.ft. shop with a broken
chair and a dull mirror. I get a nice haircut for Rs.70. This guy must be making around Rs.1,000 per day
as his take-home.

Who is clever?

Friday, January 4, 2013


I moved to Madipakkam two years back and have selected a nearby Doctor
as my family physician.

A few days back I had my annual health check-up and showed my family
physician the results. As he was going through my records he came to
know that I had my gall bladder removed by operation a few years back.

He asked me: "How much did you spend for your operation?"

I said that it cost me around 40K.

He says: I took my wife for a similar operation a few weeks back to a
hospital in a hospital in Saligramam and despite showing my ID card
(he is a Government Doctor) they charged my around 125K.

If this is the plight of a Doctor, what about the common man?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Don't keep thinking without acting!

A friend of mine put up a quote in his wall which in part says that
life's problems arise due to our keep thinking without acting.

Yes, true indeed. Yesterday evening I told my dealer friend that
we should stop thinking and start acting.

We were told that a dealer friend of ours needed a certain model
of air-conditioner which was available with us. So I suggested to
him: Let us act.   We took our vehicle, went to his place and asked
him if he needed that ac. But he replied: "Oh, I never knew you had
it. I took it from such-and-such a place."

We immediately rang up the person who had suggested the source
and told him: "You could have asked him to take the ac from us!!".

But then he at once said that right now Dealer X is wanting one such
unit and I shall ring him up asking him to take that machine from you.

We contacted our friend and sold him that unit!

Well, a sale happened because we acted (and didn't just keep thinking
that we should sell).

Friends, for sales to happen there must be conscious effort from our side.
Efforts will never fail.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Service before business

A customer rang me up frantically yesterday, on New Year's Day.

It was late in the afternoon and it was the first call from a customer for the day. Naturally I was excited.

He: Are you a Voltas dealer?

Me: Yes Sir, I am a Voltas dealer and my name is Bhargav. How can I help you?

He: I rang up three other numbers and nobody picked up the phone. (That is the order of the day, but how
can I tell him that?)  I am looking for a water dispenser.

Me: I explained at length to him the different models of water dispensers. (Afterall I was doing the talking
and it was his talk time!!!)

He: I know all that. I have seen the web-site. I want a table top model.

Me: I do not have stock of this item. It would cost you around 8,200 to Rs. 8,500. Where do you stay?

He: I stay in Madipakkam.

Me: I would suggest you to visit the consumer exhibition going on right now at Murugan Kalyana Mandapam
in Bye-pass road and check out. If it be available there you could buy it. If you still have difficulty, please do not waste your time going hither and thither. Just give me a call and I shall source one and have it delivered in your house.

Ah ha! I had the full satisfaction of having genuinely helped a customer fill his need!!

Service: 100%   Business: 0%. Suits me fine, since I do honorary work.

Exceeding Customers' expectations

One of the most important aspect in customer service is trying to exceed the customer's expectations.

I would like to share my experience with one such business woman who has successfully exceeded
the customer's expectation in her line of business activity.

I recently purchased an apartment in Velachery for my daughter and I give below some of the
things observed by me in which the builder has exceeded the customer's expectations:

(1) I purchased a fourth floor (top floor) flat. The builder has provided false ceiling without
extra cost.

(2) She has provided cornice without extra cost.

(3) She has provided Jaguar fittings instead of the usual Metro (or equivalent) as builders specify.

(4) She has provided teak wood for the french window.

(5) She has provided health faucets.

(6) She has provided inverter wiring at free of cost. She has provided the fan regulators in all the rooms.

(7) She has provided video door phones for all the flats.

I could go on. Even my contractors ( wood work people, electricians who came to fit the lights, etc.)
have marvelled at all these items.

 I wish I could render such service in my line of activity!