MANAGEMENT is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; LEADERSHIP determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall - Stephen Covey

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Customers Failing?

Recently, I read an article titled “How to Prevent Your Customers From Failing” on Sloan Management Review (SMR) that talks about customers often being caught up in the design or delivery of services, and in this respect, functioning as co-producers of the service and sometimes resulting in failing to perform their roles effectively. The authors cite research indicating that customers cause about nearly one-third of all service problems (remember we say CUSTOMER IS KING!!??).

To study the issue of customer failure and its prevention, the authors conducted interviews with managers and customers in a variety of industries about experiences of customer failure, developed case studies related to the topic and conducted secondary research to identify examples of best practices in customer-failure prevention. From their research, the authors conclude that recovering from instances of customer failure is difficult, in part because the customer and the company may have different views of the causes of the problem. As a result, companies should focus on preventing customer failures (obviously, PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!)

The authors have devised an effective three-step approach:
1) To collect diagnostic data about where customer failures occur.
2) To analyze the root causes of cases of customer failure — whether the root causes are issues of technology, people, processes or the design of the physical environment that customers encounter.
3) To establish preventive solutions, such as process redesign.
In conclusion, the authors cite a number of examples of companies that try to prevent customer failures. Nice read for all those who say 'Customer is King!'.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An Indian salesman...

One fine day, a manager of a large American MNC asks his Indian salesman: "Do you have any sales experience?" The Indian guy says: "Sir, I was a salesman back home in India."
Well, the boss liked the Indian chappie and so gave him the job. "You start tomorrow.. I'll come down after we shut shop and see how you did."
His first day on the job was a lil’ rough but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the boss came down. "How much did you sell today?"
Indian boy says: "Sir, Just ONE sale."
The boss says: "Just one? No! No! No! You see here our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day." If you want to keep this job, you'd better be doing better than just one sale. By the way, how much was the sale for?" Indian boy says: " $101 237.64"
Boss says: "$101,237.64? What the hell did you sell?"
Indian boy says:
"Sir, First I sell him small fishhook. Then I sell him medium fishhook. Then I sell him large fishhook. Then I sold him new fishing rod and some fishing gear.
Then I ask him where he's going fishing and he said down on the coast, so I told him he'll be needing a boat, so we went down to the boating department and I sell him twin engine Chris Craft.
Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to our automotive department and sell him that 4X4 Blazer.
I then ask him where he'll be staying, and since he had no accommodation, I took him to camping department and sell him one of those new igloo 6 sleeper camper tents.
Then the guy said, while we're at it, I should throw in about $100worth of groceries and two cases of beer.
The boss said: "You're not serious? A guy came in here to buy a fishhook and you sold him a boat, a 4X4 truck and a tent?"
Indian boy says: "No Sirji, actually he came in to buy Anacin for his headache, and I said: Well, fishing is the best way to relax your mind!!!”

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Words of Wisdom

This is a TRUE STORY...

Long after the crowd had left and the cameras had moved, a lone runner entered the stadium to complete the 26-mile-long marathon in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Injured earlier in the race during a fall, he stumbled along, more than an hour after the others had finished. Hurling himself to the finish line, John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania finished dead last. But before you judge him as a loser, take careful heed of the words he uttered when asked why he did not quit earlier when he had been injured:

'My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.'

Monday, May 15, 2006

A lawyer's kindness...

One afternoon, a wealthy lawyer was riding in the back of his limousine when he saw two men eating grass by the road-side.
He ordered his driver to stop, and he got out to investigate."Why are you eating grass?" he asked one man.
"We don't have any money for food," the poor man replied.
"Oh, well, you can come with me to my house," instructed the lawyer.
"But, sir, I have a wife and two children with me!"
"Bring them along!" replied the lawyer. He turned to the other man and said: "You come with us, too.""But I have a wife and six children," the second man answered.
"Bring them as well" replied the lawyer.
They all climbed into the car, which was no easy task, even for a car as large as the limousine. Once underway, one of the poor fellows says:"Sir you are too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you."
The lawyer replied: "Glad to do it. You'll love my place; the grass is almost a foot tall."

Effort is Everything!

Ever heard the story of the giant ship engine that failed? The ship's owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure but how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a youngster. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.

Two of the ship's owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed! A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars.

"What?!" the owners exclaimed. "He hardly did anything!"

So they wrote the old man a note saying, "Please send us an itemized bill."

The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer ........................ $ 2.00
Knowing where to tap ............................ $ 9998.00

Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life makes all the difference.

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