Month: June 2012

Instagram & Facebook : What to Expect?

Facebook, is a social networking site used extensively for sharing photos, and they until recently were planning to create their own photo filters to compete with rivals Instagram head -on. They had such a huge fan following that they selected to acquire the company instead.

Instagram will still operate as a detached platform allowing users to share their content on other social networking sites. Facebook’s priority is to make the app and brand known to all its users so that they appreciate it.

In case of brands already familiar with Facebook and update photos regularly will just have to create an Instagram account so that they can make use of it in future. The publicity Instagram has received after the acquisition shows that their customers are increasing by the day. The acquisition also allows brands to reach customers who otherwise could not have dreamt of it.

The ease with which Facebook tags people and brands in photos is something that Instagram is lacking. If Facebook can make tagging easier for Instagram app it will bring in a lot more customers. Brands can leverage this advantage to personally connect with their customers and brand ambassadors.

If Facebook can learn from Instagram’s user behavior based on what photos were liked and disliked they can use this information to make content relevant to their customers. Furthermore, what is it your brand is doing to connect with Instagram users and how is it that you integrate your existing content.

This acquisition gives the users of both Facebook and Integram the liberty to use each other’s networks for the time being.Instagram and Facebook are already integrated nicely, and this deal promises that users won’t have to join Facebook or Instagram to use the other.

The reason why Facebook invested as much as twice the price quoted by Integram to buy it has raised serious doubts about its interests. The reason behind Facebook’s acquisition is for integrating the two-Instagram’s services and the biggest social networking site.

People love Facebook as well as Instagram. Instagram users use Instagram to make friends based on the photos shared. It is no surprise that the top management of both companies would like to integrate the two platforms. The best is yet to come for mobile photos and this acquisition is a positive step in the right direction.

In spite of everything Instagram succeded where Facebook could not. Viral growth on the mobile was where Instagram succeeded. If the users of both these brands can cash in on each other’s successes, it would mean a better place for mobile phone photo sharing as well as social networking.

P. M. Neeraj Kushalappa

Guest Post : Customer Relationships In Retail Stores

Let’s Consider these:

  • The guy on his mo-bike leaves home for office. Before turning at the street corner, he stops his vehicle close to some news paper vendors. He has to wait for his turn to buy Economic Times, as the person manning the shop is busy with another buyer. He gives a lazy look at the neighboring shops selling news papers, including his favorite Economic Times, but still waits for his turn and buys the paper from same stall, as always
  • A girl born and brought up in Mumbai is working in the Mumbai office of a software company. She flies with her mother all the way to Chennai on a Friday late evening; she has to take the return flight the very next day after buying her wedding saris from T.Nagar in Chennai
  • A young couple decided to buy a washing machine. They waited to save enough before buying it. They did some desk research; spoke to some users and then shortlisted options. They decided it should be a fully automatic, Top Loading machine. Then they visited various counters selling white goods, noted price variations. Zeroed upon a Brand and specification. Eventually, they ordered on Flipkart, payment on delivery!

The paper Economic Times remains the same in the whole town. Same content, same price. But one vendor has a guy on a mo-bike waiting, even though adjacent shops are also selling the same paper. What made him wait? Was the vendor smiling ‘extra sweet’ or was there any price discount? Or, is it the magic of what we call a ‘Perception’?

And, those who know Mumbai, know well that good silk sari stores, well reputed brands are available in Mumbai. Yet the girl chooses to spend a huge sum of money on air tickets, willing to face a very crowded weekend, comes all the way to buy saris for her wedding. Again, is Perception at play, saying Chennai is the best for saris?

In the third example, someone buying a washing machine online was a big surprise to me. However, I learnt that a good price difference of Rs. 2000 was there, and the delivery team arrived at mutually convenient time along a with a Card swiping terminal. Delivery was made, and as is the normal practice with ‘touch and feel’ physical stores, the very next day a technical hand arrived from the manufacturer and installed the washer. The excited couple called it a neat, clean, hassle-free event.

Earlier the buyers used to be warned “caveat emptor”. Now the tables have been turned. Advantage to buyers, a nasty hit to some of the inefficient retailers!

All retailers have to be smart. Understand the new rules of the game.

1. The purpose of a business is to locate that potential user of its products/services; attract and make him/her try at least once AND retain the first time buyer, as a CUSTOMER.

There could be real ‘one-time-buyers’, say like this tourist from South Africa buying a gift watch or a travel bag from a store in India. But, that act of one-time-buying has the potential to gain a Brand ambassador for the store. On the other hand, the same act can earn the wrath of the buyer, who would bad mouth the store for all the ills the tourist perceived during that one-time-buying.

2. The retailer, whether a single owner or a Company, must get a decent RoI. Earn profits and expand operations. The investor knows that. But do all employees know that? A rude cashier or a listless sales man can kill a sale. Why, even the parking lot attendant, a contract service provider can kill the sale. So the retailer has to Enthuse, Enlighten, Educate, Evaluate, Empower, and Enable all his direct and indirect employees to be ‘customer’ oriented. Repeatedly.

3. Managing Customer Perception will continue to be a challenge and can impact the revenues. Retailer should keep checking the perception factor repeatedly, in order to stay in business and succeed.

Even as I am typing this, I had a word with a Branch Manager of a famous Retail Chain of Stores, instructing him to send me a refund cheque. I felt let down by this particular manager, impacting adversely my good relationship with this retail chain, lasting over some 20+ years!

It is said “God can’t be in all the places, all the situations, and so, He created a Mother.

Similarly, the investor of the retail store can’t be present in every situation. Therefore, he has to put in place an intelligent, responsive & robust Customer Relationship culture that enables, encourages and empowers all the employees, all the time. In a transaction intensive retail operation, this is more important than ever!

P. V. Ramaswamy

P. V. Ramaswamy, a veteran in Retail industry, has worked with leading brands such as Godrej & HCL BPO on the Retail space. He has held various important positions in Sales, Customer Service, Operations, HR, Expansion and more. He recently floated a Media Company, Eklavya Productions (P) Ltd., which deals with film making, producing films of all types and sizes.

Is The Customer Always Right?

Couple of days back, I was in a restaurant having my breakfast, a divine combination of Idly and Sambar, Bangalore’s most popular morning meal.

While I was about to finish eating, I heard some loud noises. They were coming from the table behind me. I turned back and saw an angry customer shouting at his waiter. ‘You are insulting me, call your manager!’

‘Sir, what did I do wrong?’

‘I won’t talk to you, Where is your manager?’

After few seconds, the restaurant manager came running, and he politely asked the customer, ‘Sir, can I help you?’

‘This fellow is serving me food in left hand, don’t you guys have any manners?’

It may sound funny to you, but in India this is a perfectly logical argument. Because, majority of Indians believe that using right hand is THE natural thing, and hence, doing anything in left hand is considered a bad manners, even an insult.

As a result of this, parents get very nervous if their child starts eating, or writing in left hand. They try all possible tricks to convert him or her to a right hander, many times with disastrous results.

So, I was not surprised at this customer getting angry about a guy serving food in Left hand. In fact, I was surprised how this waiter escaped from such an issue all these days.

Of course, I knew very well that scientifically / medically there is nothing wrong in a person using left hand for doing daily chores. The restaurant manager also tried to explain this to the angry customer.

But this customer was not in a mood to listen to that, he was furious and kept repeating that the waiter insulted him by serving food using a ‘wrong’ hand.

In this situation, who is right?

The waiter is a natural left hander, hence he served food with his ‘usual’ hand. After all, food is just food, irrespective of the way it is served
The customer has a sentiment that food should always be served with the ‘right’ hand, He doesn’t care about the science and all, According to him, anything served in left hand is an insult
Technically speaking, there is nothing wrong with the waiter. It is the customer who is not understanding the facts and making a scene. In a perfect world, he will be thrown out of the restaurant, he can go to court, but can’t win. (In fact, the waiter may sue him for ill treating him!)

But then, he is a ‘customer’, who is always right. Manager has a commitment to keep him happy, even if he is thinking illogically.

Hence, the manager apologized to the customer for the ‘insult’, and asked someone else to serve him. Problem solved.

Now, this is not the end of the story. Tomorrow some other customer may raise the same issue when this left handed waiter serves food to him / her. So, a permanent solution would be moving this person to a different role (Like order taking, bill preparation etc.,) which doesn’t involve serving food to customers.

Of course, the ideal solution would be to educate all customers that ‘left is also right’, but that will take few hundred years at least!

Naga Chokkanathan,

Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published in : http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/why-not-is-the-customer-always-right/

Oracle Feedback

One of our largest customers went live with their Oracle CRM On Demand #CRMOD implementation two days back. We already shared the feedback from the client here.

Guess what, there is more good news, We worked with Oracle on this implementation and they have sent some wonderful feedback as well. Very happy to share them with you:

In my seven years in Oracle, I know of no other partner that has bought the level of commitment and skills to the relationship that CRMIT has bought to not only this project, but several others

Wow, that’s great feedback, coming from our biggest partner, it means a lot to us. With so many CRM On Demand implementors out there, we take pride in differentiating ourselves with solid value addition to every project / customer we work on, using our solid product / implementation experiences, technical expertise and customer focus.

Thanks Oracle, and Congrats Team CRMIT!

Customer Experience Management : A Podcast

We at CRMIT believe that Customer Experience Management is one of the emerging trends, where the future lies. This may mean ‘CRM is not enough, it’s going to be CEM Era now!’ and we are thrilled to be part of this journey.

Last week, CRMIT had an internal discussion on the topic of CEM / CXM / CX … Whatever name you want to attach to it, The discussion focused on how customer experience affect the overall satisfaction about a product or a service.

Naga Chokkanathan, Sai Ratnakar and Sreejith Satheesan from CRMIT discuss various use cases on Customer Experience Management in this podcast. You can listen to it from one of these locations:

1. YouTube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_X5u4euuAE&feature=plcp
2. Soundcloud : http://soundcloud.com/crmitsolutions/customer-experience

Client Feedback On CRMIT’s Implementation Of Oracle CRM On Demand

Great news! One of our biggest customers from Australia, went live today with Oracle CRM On Demand #CRMOD, and we are very happy to share the client Feedback from them. This client provides service and support to various people in need, and are committed to provide them a chance to participate fully in community life.

Congratulations to the Team, we have successfully gone live today!

I would like to express our thanks for CRMIT’s central contributions to this success. The leadership from each of you in particular has been excellent and I have appreciated your experience and commitment to this success.

The effort and sustained long hours worked by both the Offshore and Onshore teams also deserves recognition especially given the extensive weekend and after hours.

It has been a project with distinct challenges and high expectations. Together, we’ve navigated these well, in no small part due to CRMIT’s consistent focus on Customer outcomes.

I trust this has been a positive experience for all of those engaged and we look forward to supporting this implementation and implementing future phases of our strategic roadmap.

Excellent Job, Team CRMIT. Keep going!