Saturday, April 27, 2013

Vat a solve!!

This is the fact:

(1) A proposal on levying 12 per cent service tax on food served in air conditioned restaurants has
evoked strong reaction from both the hospitality industry and customers. (In fact, when I visited the
famous HSB fast food joint yesterday, I saw a notice stating that 29-4-2013 will be observed as a
Bandh day to protest against this and also shortage of coins).

(2) Already public is paying 10 per cent VAT on food served in restaurants.

This is the reality:

It is a famous three star hotel very close to a more famous five star hotel in Chennai. My brother walks
in and has tiffin in the restaurant in which the AC  is not working. Fretting and fuming he has his tiffin
and is given a bill for Rs.43 including taxes. (What exactly is the quantum of taxes in this case? Nobody knows!!). 

He asks  the server who doesn't know. He takes it in his stride and walks out of the hotel. Again getting curious he walks back and asks the receptionist who doesn't seem to know and in turn he calls the Manager. As my brother starts questioning him, he says the tax is 14.5% (!!) and quickly takes out a 
hundred rupee note from his pocket (Mark: from his pocket) and asks someone to refund the money.
My brother is happy for the moment. I

I am not. And thousands who read this post will not be happy.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How I signed an agreement.

Last year I bought an apartment for my daughter and son-in-law.

I had spoken to the builders and was satisfied with their workmanship and integrity.

When they produced the builder's agreement to me, I just checked the cost portion
of the apartment running to a few lines. The agreement was running to four pages.

Once the cost was checked, I told them. Please see how I sign this agreement.
I closed my eyes (literally) and signed in all the pages.

I continued: If I read this agreement, I may not sign it at all. I will surely have several
objections, because it will mostly be one-sided. So I do not wish to do it.

I have placed my trust on you to do a good job. Only remember that.

Needless to say, they did a very good job, no escalations and further requests for money.

Till this day, I have not gone through that agreement.

Remember, in business, it is all about that one word: TRUST

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What is excellence in Service?

Of course you have read it:

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

We walked into the R.K. Supermarket in Estancia township in Guduvanchery the other day.

Employee in the lowest rung SMILED.

She asked my grandson his NAME.

She spoke a few words and got to know that we are soon moving in.

And then

And then

And then


This extraordinary behaviour cannot be taught in any upmarket business school.

It comes out of SELF-LEARNING.
It comes out of a DESIRE to HELP OTHERS.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why are you asking me so many questions?

Almost every other day a customer will come up with this question:

"I asked you the price of air-conditioner. Why are you asking me so many questions?"

Quite a few get irritated. Because before I suggest a model and give the pricing, I should definitely
have the answers for my following questions:

(1) Where do you live?
(2) Is it you own house or rented?
(3) In which floor do you reside?
(4) Do you have proper electric connection to run an ac?
(5) What is the approximate room size?
(6) How are we going to fix the unit?

When I explain them why answers to these and a few other questions are important, they appreciate the
fact. Half my sale is done.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Customer service experience - North and South Poles

Date: 9.4.2013
Time: Around 9 a.m.

I drive into my usual favourite petrol bunk in Velachery Bye-Pass Road. There are a number of
service personnel in uniforms hovering around. One person brought the day's tamil newspaper
as a complimentary copy and gave it to me. Another person cleaned my front and rear windscreen
with water while the third person filled petrol after drawing my attention to the Zero in the meter.

Date: 9.4.2013
Time: Around 7 p.m. in the evening

I stop my car in front of a big readymade garments showroom in Velachery-Tambaram road. All the service attenders (two of them) are playing pranks with the cashier in an empty showroom. As I walk in they are not bothered to welcome me and ask me what I am looking for.I tell one of them to show me some dresses for a one year old male child.Then there is an argument between the two as to who should attend to me. Then they ask me to go inside. But nobody follows me. Finally one of them reluctantly comes and attends to me after fighting with the other sales guy.

You have read the two. Decide which one you would like to have in your company. Work for that!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Voluntary Discount offer

A customer rang me up for a particular air-conditioner.

He finalised the order without haggling and said that he would come with the cheque to my office.

On his furnishing the address I found to my surprise that his company is the one to whom we have
entrusted the job of shifting my daughter's house from US to Chennai.

I wrote back telling him: 'We are your customers even before you became ours!'

Having said that, I voluntarily reduced the price at which the deal had been struck as a goodwill

Business is business, but remember, it is all about building long-lasting relationship.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

While you were away....

I am not sure how many among you would have seen the "While you were away..." slips.

In your absence when somebody comes looking for you or tries to contact you over phone (of course
these days the landlines are seldom used) the person who has seen the visitor would fill up this slip
and keep it on your table. This way nothing would be missed. An important business deal could be coming your way!

I don't see such slips nowadays. Recently I visited two showrooms and left a slip with my name
and phone number asking the proprietor to call me back at his convenience.

I never received any return call.

Remember, business is all about opportunities. And you never know when an opportunity comes.

It would be appropriate to end this post with a joke:

Knock, Knock, Knock.

Who's this?


Can't open the door. Go away.


Opportunity knocks only once!!