Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Satisfaction Guranteed...!

There's this cool thing about Competition-it can do (or make you do) wonders. While I have mentioned this before, I was pushed into my "thinking zone" yet again when I received two consecutive phone calls late evening yesterday. The history first-the calls emanated from Reliance and Airtel Customer Care respectively and agents from both companies voiced their unhappiness for spotting the rock like presence of my name in their records of Inactive customers. Before I could congratulate myself for being savvy (I switched to Gtalk/Skype sometime back & I love 'em both) or finding myself as a special customer amongst millions (I like such revelations!) , the first rep asked if all's well back in India and very proudly mentioned the timestamps and durations of the calls (Isn't Business Intelligence amazing?) I made few months ago (perhaps the last ones)-this sure wasn't the best way to talk to a customer! He perhaps sensed my vibes & reiterated that I have been a very distinguised customer.

A little analysis tells me that with Auto-Recharge enabled, the trasanctions between my credit card and payment gateway system of these companies had become quite smooth and that sure classified me as a valuable customer :D. Anyways, he really went overboard with company's offerings and cited numerous reasons (least cost, superb call quality, near zero call drops, 24/7 Assistance etc) to convince me to start using their services again. While I said that I'll think about it to bring the conversation to a harmonious end, I wondered if such efforts by companies are worth the energy spent !

Now, for my local friends here - Reliance and Airtel are real BIG cellular service providers in India who keep striving hard to provide excellent customer service to Indians (in India or abroad) on a continual basis. Ask any of your Indian friend and you'll learn how important their offerings (subsidized international calls) are to him/her! I have always felt that together both these firms make a significant contribution to the Indian Economy-they provide employment to many, world class wireless, telephone and broadband services and help us stay connected. A quick internet search tells you the executives leading the firms are always on the lookout for opportunities, adopt unconventional approaches, partner with global players to outdo their erstwhile performances in stock market and never stop evolving! So in this picture perfect world-how do you distinguish your company (or yourself)? Well here are some thoughts:

  • Running Our Own Races: Evolution has shaped us to focus on our competitors and try hard to outsmart them. Won't it be better if we direct our focus to ourselves and try competing with our former selves instead? [Google]
  • Distinct Value Proposition: There's got to be something unique that only & only we (as a company or as inviduals) can offer. Agreed-finding that might take time but once you do find it - life can be more than fantastic. [One]
  • Gauging Ourselves: While on one hand you can position yourself in your illusionary world where things are the way they are or you can push yourself out of your comfort zones more than once and see what life has to offer. What's important when you do venture out is - the measurements you make of your progress towards your set goals. The adage "What gets measured gets done" turns out to be true majority of times! [Sun]
  • Leaving a Footprint: When you make an offering (Service/Product), leave a lasting impression (it better be a good one:)). I love iPod not 'coz its cool to have one but 'coz the product was a genuine effort by many engineers, marketers and towards creating an indelible experience in minds of customers.[Apple]

And far as connecting with friends or loved ones in India I am sure you'll agree that in this age of social networking there are zillion ways to communicate and phone has become a passé! For now lets shift our focus to more important tasks at hand like Christmas shopping :)

"Everything is sweetened by risk! ~ Alexander Smith"

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