Saturday, March 30, 2013

That is not enough!

Your assistant is efficient. Great! But that is not enough.

You should be equally efficient if not more.

In my earlier example the Doctor complemented his assistant aptly.

On both my visits, he came into his consulting room exactly at 5 p.m.

One could have set his watch as he arrived!

And THAT is what made it a great experience.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What is professionalism?

What is professionalism?

She never went to Harvard. She never went to Ahmedabad. But she is a thorough professional.

She is my doctor's assistant.

When you ring up for an appointment, she will explain that the doctor is available
on all working days except Wed and Thur from 10 to 1 p.m.and on Wed and Thur
from 5 to 7 p.m. You will have to take an appointment and on the appointed day
your turn will be on first come first served basis. The doctor will only see a fixed number of patients on any given day.

On the appointed day, either at 9 a.m.or at 4 p.m. she will ring you up and ask
you whether you are expected to come for the appointment!

During the consulting hours, she will strictly follow the first come first serve order.
No fear. No favouritism.

I praised and congratulated her on her work. She said: "Thanks. Unfortunately people take an appointment, but never turn up. If only they have the courtesy to inform me that they are unable to come, I could allot another patient. So many of them are waiting."

Moral of the story: Stop blaming others all the time, introspect!!

(More on this tomorrow)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Repair? Well.........!!!

A customer rang me up yesterday and told me that the compressor of his window air-conditioner
which he purchased in 2004 had failed and he wanted a new compressor.

I've repaired hundreds of air-conditioners, hundreds of induction motors and so on. My career
started with repairing. Then in those days we used to cut open the reciprocating hermetic compressors,
buy freon-resistant wires, rewind the motors inside, weld the compressor and so on. In the late seventies
we were offered the work of repairing of air-conditioner compressors in Chennai by Shriram Refrigeration Industries (now Tecumseh) of Hyderabad for an initial investment of just Rs.10,000. Somehow we didn't
go ahead with that offer.

But today the days are different! I explained to the customer that it may not be worthwhile replacing the
compressor but rather he should buy a new unit!! But the customer was keen on repairing his unit.

I said "Yes, of course I can give you a new compressor". I can even repair your air-conditioner.

After plenty of discussions I offered him the following options from which he could choose what he
wanted. (The bottom line being that I should not only give what he wanted but also get the business!)

(1) Supply a compressor
(2) Repair his unit myself by replacing the compressor
(3) Supply him a good used machine in working condition. (the current jargon is "Pre-owned")
(4) Supply him a new machine with buy-back of his "junk" machine.

He said that he would discuss with his family members and get back to me. Let me see what he does.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rare gesture by customer...

A customer rang up asking for a particular size of chest cooler.

Since the customer was in a hurry for the product I enquired with my Principals and informed
him that the said product is available and if he ordered it I could get it for him within a day or two.

An hour or two later I again rang up the customer to know the status and also to find out if
I am getting the order.

The customer said that his boss had gone out. Maybe he had gone elsewhere looking for the product.
Don't worry, I shall definitely phone and inform you if you are getting the order or not.

I told him that only one in a hundred customers would voluntarily ring up and give a negative reply.

He said: I know how eager you would be to sell the product. It's my duty to inform you anyways.

A rare gesture indeed!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wit - unwittingly!!

A customer bought a machine two years back and it has been frequently giving problems
and failing.

We tried to get the spares from the company in vain.

The customer, otherwise patient, almost lost his temper and told my service in-charge that
our company is tarnishing the image of the Principal.

My service in-charge, it seems, said: Sorry, Sir. We are not spoiling the image of our Principal.
Our Principal is spoiling our image by not supplying any parts in time!

Yes, everyone has an image, which they should safe-guard.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bed room? No, room for a bed!!

Builders have discovered that the majority of people looking to buy flats can invest only
around 30 to 40 lakhs.

That's fine.

Land within the city is very expensive. So they moved to the suburbs.

That's fine.

A good  2  BHK flat should be around 900 to 1,000 sft. They (the builders) shrunk
it to 800 and 700 sft.

That's fine.

Yesterday a builder sent me details of flats that they are constructing in Guduvanchery, a suburb of Chennai.

One of the bedrooms is shown as 8' x 6'.  A single cot is 61/4' x 3' in size.

That's not fine. That's ridiculous.

Do they keep the cot and build walls all round it?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

That's not my problem - That's my problem!

I approached my cable TV operator for a set-top box and paid the money in November. From the end of January this year I have been asking them for the set-top box but they were saying something or the other.

One day in February they said the boxes will come soon. After several visits, one fine morning they said
that the boxes have arrived and will be sent soon.

Nothing happened.

I again visited and they said your box has arrived. I told them: What is the use of the box lying here? It has to stay near my TV. The technician said that it would be brought.

I again visited them some days later and the guy showed me a box with my name written on it. Here is your box. I literally prostrated before the box and told him to bring it to my house! You see, I was in no mood to loose my temper.

The box was finally fixed but to my dismay I found that some of my favourite channels were blocked.
I went to their office and told them I wanted some channels. The technician said: Well, that is not my problem. You have to contact my owner. I said here is the list of channels I need. Just ask your owner to add them. But he said better give to him directly, I may misplace it.

I finally approached the owner on first of this month. He said: To get the channels you have to pay for the channels together with this month's subscription. I told him that anyway I have to pay monthly and paid him the money then and there.

The channels were not clear. Later he contacted me and asked for my card number, name and so on.

I again went to the office and told the technician that the channels were not clear. Oh, is it so. He says and adds: That's my problem.

I told him: Sometimes you say it's not your problem. Now you say this is my problem. But my problem is not getting solved. He promised to come but to this day he has not. On the last occasion I took his mobile number.

I rang him up yesterday and he said yesterday I was in your next door customer. But I forgot. I will come in another one hour.

Still no sign!

Sadly this is the state of service given by a majority of companies today. Can we never learn to be a disciplined lot?

Saturday, March 16, 2013


A customer ordered an air-conditioner from me and since Saturday was a holiday for him I promised
to send the unit and install it on a Saturday.

My technicians went to his house on Saturday as promised and installed the unit and collected the cheque.
 The customer rang me up late in the evening and thanked me for the good job done (very few people do this.)

It so happened that there was a minor snag in the unit and it didn't work that very night.

The customer tried to ring me up on Sunday but he could not contact me. There was some goof up in BSNL
and on that day I was not able to make or receive calls in my phone. My office was closed being a holiday.

The next day he contacted my office and told them that he had given stop payment instructions for the cheque and that we could collect a fresh cheque after setting right the unit.

My people were very worried. I told them not to get worried and that the technician should go and set right
the unit first and then talk about the payment.

The job was done, payment collected and the customer wrote to me that he had to act as a precaution.

I wrote back saying that if I were in his shoes I might have done something similar. Customer wrote back saying: I appreciate your thought process.

We should always have empathy and share the feelings of another. If I bought a TV for 50K and it didn't work on the first day, would I not be worried?