Posts Tagged ‘attitude’

How rare is it in India, to hear of some really good service received? I have to really scan my memory hard to remember any kind of service that really impressed me. And yes, then, I CAN mention 1 or 2 striking examples.

I was particularly impressed by the service at Olde Bangalore, in Bangalore.

At the Orange County Resort at Coorg.

If I rack my brain some more, I should come up with few other names.

But it’s hard.

Many other service providers where I don’t have a problem, are at best adequate. I would put my Citibank credit card (nowadays), HDFC Bank, Vodafone, Indigo Air, etc. all in that league. Adequate. Nothing outstanding about it. Adequately efficient. Nothing more. Sometimes a little less.

And then there are MANY that actually cause grief. Service providers that “just don’t get it”. Besides the usual suspects of government services, there are just far too many restaurants, stores and showrooms, health clubs, hotels, etc. that all fall into this league.

Let me give a specific example.

I was in the market sometime late last year, for a new vehicle. I was impressed by the VW Vento. Went to the showroom. Was given the initial information with a lot of enthusiasm.

Till the point at which I actually booked the vehicle, and made the initial payment (there was a 4-month wait for the vehicle, so balance was payable when the vehicle got ready). things were fine.

From the point of time that I actually made that booking amount to the VW Mumbai East dealer (at Bezzola Complex in Chembur), from a service point of view, it was all downhill.

Every single interaction has been painful, simply because they are not equipped to provide better service. And their attitude is one that “couldn’t care less”. This extended to their service station also. Within a week of purchase, there was a minor hiccup. The car was sent to the service garage. They took a whole day to attend to the small thing. And after paying upwards of Rs. 8 lakhs, a week back, for the car, they demanded Rs. 300 odd for some parts. When I protested that it did not make sense, they brought it down, but insisted on getting paid Rs. 48/- or so. That’s a dollar! After having paid upwards of USD 20,000 a week back.

No one at that garage had the authority to take a call, to let that dollar go. When I have paid so much, it is certainly not about that dollar. It is just that they made an issue about it.

For an otherwise great product, VW has obviously not been able to get service standards and policies in place, that can address such issues.

So is India a society that can possibly produce good products, but just does not have an approach to good service?

Since we have a lot of people, we have lot of service providers! On a typical small hop flight also, we may have 5-6 air hostesses or stewards on board. At a wedding party, we may have a whole host of waiters hovering around us. There will be enough help at a hotel. BUT there will not be a true service attitude. We try to compensate for quality, by quantity.

That does not work.

However what that has done is to bring down our fundamental expectations of service. When we get adequate service, we are happy. Because “at least it was not bad”. Both the recipient and the provider of the services, are settling down to “adequacy” and not more!

People will be willing to pay a price and get excellent service. A great product can get supremely enhanced, at nominal additional cost, by great service. If a VW showroom and garage can also exemplify the same attitude that the vehicle is trying to showcase (via its advertising), would it not be wonderful?

When at the Apple store in California, you don’t see a cash counter, but the store help pulls out the machine from his pocket and swipes your card, and you don’t need to wait in a queue, it is telling something more about the cool brand that Apple is. It’s that extra bit.

When you drive into a Hertz store at the airport to give the car back, before catching your flight, and all paperwork, payments etc. can be done in 3 mins, so you can comfortably catch your flight, even if you got late, that’s more loyalty for the brand.

When the Southwest Airlines human operator picks my call within 2-3 rings at most, and the one person can help me confidently with any and all kinds of queries that I may have, then I ask for Southwest by name, and don’t look for just ‘any airline’.

There are amazing examples of this kind, in the west (well, there are duds too – don’t get me started on American Airlines!!). We’d so love to have some emerge in India too. At this time, they’ll stand out as unique.

Like Orange County Resorts does. And where at time of checkout, I put a rating on their response card, of a 11/10. Yes, those are the rare gems in India.

Can others stand up to get counted now??

As me and my couple of friends started our morning walk today (my 15th consecutive day at it, by the way!), one of them mentioned that he has read a report that says that “it is not important to walk briskly, but just to walk is good enough”. This was quite contrary to what I had read and heard earlier, that it was important to build up the aerobic exercise to a certain pace, for it to be really effective.

But these words sounded nice to me. Brisk walking is more painful. Not that I amble on a morning walk, but I am not doing a real “fast and brisk walk”. Not just yet, anyway.

Walking pace not being so critical, then, sounded like music to my ears.

Except that, I had just heard an interesting podcast, the same morning, prior to going for the walk. And this was on the subject of “confirmation bias”.

What is confirmation bias?

Here’s the Wikipedia definition of it:

“Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.”

Did I want to believe that the pace of the walk was not critical, because it served my purpose (of not needing to walk that fast) well?  Or was it a confirmation bias?!

How often do we fall in the confirmation bias trap?

How closely is this concept connected to having an open mind, allowing new thoughts, even thoughts that are contradictory to one’s own beliefs or convictions?

In fact, I have noticed that the more successful a person becomes, the more convinced he gets, about his own convictions. Which is sad, in a way. For the world is so dynamic today, that without keeping an open mind, one stands a huge risk to get outdated!

I have been to many meeting with senior folks, where the concerned CXO (typically) is ‘listening’ to you, but ‘not really listening’. His mind is already made up, and he wants to ‘do it his way’. And it may not even be an action oriented meeting. I have had discussions at parties and at clubs, on a variety of subjects, and you can clearly see how for many people (and this is especially true for senior folks and folks who have met with prior success), the mind is virtually closed. And they live in a world of denial, and stand a serious risk of becoming dinosaurs in this new era.

I want to challenge my own convictions every now and then. Especially when alternate thoughts or ideas come in. I want to be sure that I have an open mind, I am receptive to new ideas, and open to experiment as well.

I don’t want to carry too much of a ‘confirmation bias’. I want to try and speed up my walking too, no matter the pain involved 🙂

What about you? If you examine yourself closely and honestly, do you see yourself succumbing to the confirmation bias? Sometimes, often, rarely, never…? Do share your views.