Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Who is the customer?

Note: Gyan!

Many a times, in our professional as well as personal life, we are either serving someone or being served. The term customer is no new to any of us. A lot of time when we are playing the role of customer, we say the customer service of the service provider is not good … (or the other way!) … at times we really wonder why is he really bothering me (or us)… why is that the person on the other side (of the desk/ phone) doesn’t understand the basics of customer service …

The reason is very simple … we are not his customers. In reality, his boss/org is his customer – the person on the other side is not serving me … but his boss /org … he’s getting his salary not from me … but his boss/org. The definition of customer or saying ‘customer is god’ hasn’t changed. It’s the customer – that has changed. So, if his boss says X … it has be X … and not Y (even if I insist it to be Y). The concept of customer is God is from people who are self employed/ businessmen… where the consumer is the customer, and his earnings come from the consumer. In salaried class structure, it doesn't end with same result... (that's why there is a concept of cost centers and profit centers) ...

This is very much applicable to us too… what ever we do … we do to please someone … who’s more important to me for that particular phase… we try to please our boss/ org by trying to achieve numbers (or target) … that too by any means (read: calculations) … but are we serving real customers???

It has to come from leadership. When the leaders stop asking about the numbers and ask how many customers have we made happy (and if possible, including the intensity of happiness) … that’s when the customer service would change. However, it also needs some validation; … for instance, MotorCraft (Maruti’s service center in NCR) used to call to get a feedback (a good way) … and if you give a normal feedback (let’s say 7/10) … they ask you why just 7. Normally, unless I get bad service I tend to give just above avg rating… and not 8 or 9/10 … why not – it was good service … not a GREAT one. A rating of 8 or 9 demands ‘great’ service... a delight factor. Surprisingly, they don’t ask what they liked about the service … knowing what didn’t go well is must, but knowing what went well and then rewarding the back end for the same is real motivation for employees to provide better customer service.

From an individual point of view – find who your customer is (real customer/ boss) … and serve him well!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


A few drops from sky…

Delhi – the capital city/state of the country – facing rain lashes – within few minutes the roads are flooded and worst of all … the airport roof is off!

One can imagine the level of corruption that might have crept in … the quality controls and standards have no meaning at all … a few drops flood the roads/ colonies …

I really don’t know to what level our local municipal corp is responsible in ensuring things being cleared … but I have firm belief that we (people at large) are equally responsible for the chaos…

If you carefully look around, you’ll observe that most of the drainage (wherever it exist) is choked / blocked with garbage / dump, which we have put in … and then when the rainwater have no space to drain out – it comes out on the roads and we cry foul (or rather flood) … not only that, we only are responsible for creating stupid traffic jams – by not following simple disciplines and common sense – every one is in hurry and by blocking other side of the road only leads to jams and confrontations … (NCR is already hot blooded for such acts)

I think, any municipality can do little if the residents are not cooperative … for little convenience factor, we ourselves create loop holes/ twists and then when it boomerangs – we just simply cry and blame it on others (read local govt). Because of lack of cooperation from the residents, the local govt has also shown reluctance in cleaning up or taking measures for the prevention of calamities.

Of course, higher level politics and lack of actions results in chaos turning in calamities. The local govt/ municipality in the first place will wait for road to be built before they dig up for drainage … then they’ll take ages to complete the project and then they’ll leave the mud on road – which not only blocks half the road but also creates slippery surface during the rain – causing more accidents. Further the road they build is so fragile that it creates craters (not just pot holes) within a week …

Solution is not simple – but not impossible. A public – private partnership – which includes local residents and local govt coming together to form a small independent organization to ensure the basic needs of urbanization - proper road/ drainage/ water and electricity supply and distribution is taken care. Bangalore had this experiment done few years ago – BATF (Bangalore agenda task force) – what I understood was – it was fairly successful – but it lived short life simply because of political reasons – the govt changed and all the policies / activities are put on hold … and so was BATF … but if taken to a next level, this type of task force can create miracles. And we really need miracles to come out of chaos!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Addicted to idiot box…

I just realized that we are so addicted to idiot box … yesterday, my neighbor got their TV (new home) and the cable connection guy messed up with the junction box, resulting in no connection on my line (which is courtesy Tata Sky). So, from 4 PM onwards, there is no TV!

It’s not that we are addicted to any particular channel/ serial … just that when there is nothing else to do (or not in a mood to move yours truly’s a**) … some thing needs to be there to occupy the space/ mind … channel surfing is one of the best ‘non-destructive’ past time. With no TV … and biwi in the kitchen (with her experiments) … it was really unnerving to sit idle … the weather was cold and I wasn’t really in a mood to pick up to read…

Aah! … why that idiot goofed up with my idiot box connection … and I don't want to miss the 'India got Talent' finale...

Update: I realized that I missed the India Talent show finale

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I-day …

This I-day I was home for more than one reason … Swine Flu has already set the fear factor; if the terror strikes – especially on such occasions – was the only deterrent … the new flu has created a real panic ripple … (given the fact that state reported more fatalities due to mosquito related – dengue, etc … )

Bangalore is a place which is 'city packed'. Given we stay just on the outer side of the town, I had no mood to sway in to the city side and get stuck in the mad crowd … adding to the woes were the discount festivals… surprisingly, marketing/advertisement folks have got the Indian mentality of taking any off (from office) as holiday (or rather shopping day) … creating a special discount day / festival on specific days … if you thought economy was down … I would suggest make a visit to shopping malls/ outlets in any of these days (or even weekends) … or try reaching for any hotel/package booking for weekend getaway for these extended ones … you’ll be shocked to see either the prices are beyond your budget (which you might have thought lowed due to recession) … or already packed

Finally, I just wanted to laze on a quiet weekend


India got Talent

Reality shows have been there in Indian TV since the age of Z-TV … remember Antakshari … that was the first reality show on Indian TV and actually it was very Indian too. The reality shows got a boom since KBC … and there after there was no looking back… KBC being a copy of one of the popular reality shows of the west, there were multiple copies of either KBC of some other shows. Last couple of years, there has been a rain of these shows … some become very popular and continue as a series … like India Idol, Roadies, … some of these shows actually take the initial enthusiasm – but loose it even faster … there was a flurry of comedy shows too … and now every channel (especially news ones) are nothing but a comedy … too much of it taking out the humor per se. Personally, I hate most of them …

However, while the usual channel surfing, I happened to pause on something which was very inspiring … it was one of the semifinals of the India’s got Talent (copy of Britain’s got Talent) … I did happened to see one or two snippets of the shows earlier (during their usual qualifying rounds) … but couldn’t stick around … the semifinals have been selected ones… and man, they were good … awesome stuff … though my opinion of few of the entries was different – especially those which had solo singing … as there were plenty of shows for showing singing talent … but few of the entries really took the stage… the best part of the show is that the judges are very soft and mature (unlike other shows, where they start fighting within themselves) … their remarks were never to let any participant down … very humble … and to each of the participants they were encouraging as if they are the best!

They also had an I-day special, and it was really breadth taking one … I am just waiting for the finals now … as that would be the best of the bests …

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Net connection woes …

Airtel saga … extremely poor customer service

When I shifted to Bangalore, I needed a net connection for my home access … Airtel folks at Noida were very friendly, and gave me advice that rather than taking any new connection, get your connection (land line/ broadband) transferred – at no cost! It was a good deal – I connected with Bangalore Airtel folks … and the woes started … first, helpline puts you on hold of an average of 12 minutes by the time you reach their service person. Then they won’t have complete information … however, moving forward, I managed to get hold of people who would do the transfer – or rather new connection. The sales representative looked into the details, and said, the connection is possible, the infrastructure department will do the needful in laying the cables and the total time in getting things done would be about 3-5 days (acceptable, I thought). After 5 days, when I didn’t hear from anyone from Airtel – I tried reaching the sales guy – and man, he’s not picking the phone! … some how I actually managed to get hold of his boss … he too after initial few calls … refuse to pick the call … by the time already 15 days are over. Then one fine day, one guy from Airtel – infrastructure (out sourced) comes with some form having my name on it, and extended a wire from neighboring junction box (without neighbor’s permission) and did really a shabby job in laying the cable itself – something very temporary … after another 15 days of trying to reach to the sales exec and his boss – I (frustrated) decided to cancel the connection. Called up the helpline (after wait of exactly 14 mins) and requested for cancellation and refund (Rs 1000/ for wireless). I was given not only the date, but time (including seconds) by which my request would be serviced. Things were not as easy as I thought. I did receive a call from some CSA (customer service agent) – about why I would like to get the connection cancelled. Days passed on … and after about 10 days, I called again the helpline, waited for another 9 mins, and very politely gave the re-iterated the episode and gave the request number. The response I get is that it would be done by the respective sales executive. I got totally furious. My colleagues in office started staring me! I blasted the lady first asking why would the sales exec would be the responsible person – what in case that idiot quit in between … and my check war in favor of Airtel and not that executive … and I asked for escalation – another wait of 8 mins … and then again re-iteration of the stuff … and again similar response … I literally yelled at the CSA… somehow the call got disconnected … but that yelling probably helped to escalate things at least. As the coming weekend, I walked in to one of the service centers of Airtel and reported to manager directly. I was told that my check was ready and it would reach me in next 3 days. She was sorry for the delay – given that I had already cooled down by her messaging to her colleagues for the issue – I didn’t feel like asking what made it so late! Thankfully the check arrived in the said time… peace at last …

Mr Sunil Mittal - hope you are listening to your customers!

Reliance – heights of cheapness …

In the mean time, while I was looking for broadband option, I came across broadband data cards … there are only two options available (then and now even) – Reliance and Tata Indicom. I had tough time with connectivity with indicom (and it had really weird combination of tariffs), so I thought of trying reliance for a change. I found that the initial offers is coming from a third party (Business Partner) known as Vriti (H.O in Noida/NCR). Now Vriti had this scheme running as free holiday in Goa (hotel vouchers). This sounded exciting – and needless to say, I fell for it (another learning in life – don’t fall on these stupid free bees). Vriti carefully didn’t tell me any conditions on the holiday package (I’ll talk about it later). It simply handed over the instrument, and said the rest would be done by Reliance customer care. Surprisingly, it did get activated in fair time (though a little follow-up was done). Few days, and I realized the speed it is providing is no where near to normal broadband. I raised a complaint, which was promptly responded by technical executive (I can’t call them as engineer). He also concurred that the speed was drastically low. He called his folks (in Pune/Mumbai) who gave me following gyan – “please note that we are saying speed up to 3.1 mbps, and we didn’t mention anywhere the minimum speed. Further, this is NOT broadband, it’s data card (which has max speed of 114 kbps); Broadband+ is just a name of the product.” … this was not all … a few days later, I again receive a call from same department, stating that the max speed they can provide is about 700 kbps (please note that the product ads say 3.1 mbps) – and they don’t have any further comments. So far, I am using the stuff, with speed fluctuating between 100kbps to 1000kbps… but no time has it crossed 1.2 mbps.

Mr. Anil Ambani – that’s straight CHEATING with people.

Now, with Vriti, the gentlemen send me a pdf document – with details of when I can take their so called vacation/ hotel booking. Please have a look into dates/periods when offer is NOT valid:
15th Jan'09 - 15th Mar'09
01st Apr'09 - 30th Apr'09
05th Aug'09 - 17th Aug'09
28th Sep'09 - 14th Jan'10
All Bank Holidays
All Weekends

Let’s look into the validity periods
(I am assuming that the next year calendar would not be very different)
16th March – 31st March
1st May – 4th August
18th August – 27th September

Given that I can only take vacation after first bill is paid (that’s a condition I was told during the sale – on being asked) – which makes it starting Aug, I have only period of few days, that too – without weekends. You can very well imagine what went through my mind … I simply gave up – taking as learning from bad experience.

My faith on Reliance (and anything associated) has gone to all time low.


Changing Lives

It’s been long time I blogged … its not that nothing’s happening … just that the events were so usual or mundane to be written about … or may be by the time I would have put my thoughts across, the world has already pored in too much of information on the subject … then after marriage, my mind was too preoccupied with irrelevant things … felt too personal/ close to write on publicly … But since I never wrote to have any audience (or just me) … I pulled myself back in …

Marriage does bring in changes … some good … some not so good … some you want them … some enforced … actually the things that remain same are fairly dependent on the compatibility of the couple.

One thing marriage has done is strengthen my belief on my intuitions and understanding of relationships and human psyche. Before my marriage, I used to observe very closely the relationships my close friends had with their partners (girl friends or wife) … and try to observe the changes they had undergone from pre to post marriage … and their relationship at large and impact of social and environmental factors … these observations laid foundations of understanding on individuals and relationships … today it helps in me control my thoughts (especially frustration/ anger) …

To give you example … I was fairly outgoing person … (just needed a good company) … and I had thought that when I’ll get married, I’ll go out (getaways) with my partner and have fun. But now, when I see my partner not comfortable in less sophisticated environment, it becomes difficult to execute plans … for either of us to enjoy, we both need to be comfortable in the activity or event. Its not that she doesn’t enjoy going out, but when you go out, you do try to catch the local flavors … and if you don’t eat out at all, it’s really difficult. The end result is that I prefer to sit at home!

You might think me as an idiot, and not understanding the women’s reason behind it and just cribbing about it … it’s not that … it’s just one of the examples to say that I do understand people … and I am trying to bring in change in my life to ensure that relationship (which is just 8 months old) endures ….

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