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Monthly Archives:September 2015

WHY better customer experience alone is not enough?

You are a potential customer and looking for a holiday resort company, a hospital, an insurance company and a bank to avail their services. You visited the online review of the companies. This is what you get for all the three companies.

Few of the top ten reviews:

Online customer review of leading holiday resort company:

  • Demanding Money for undisclosed terms of membership.
  • Cheating by club XXXX resorts company.
  • Duped / fraud / cheating
  • Cancellation: Not returning my membership paid-up fee as they are a cheat and I want to cancel my membership.
  • Very difficult company to deal with
  • Fraud and useless
  • Nice resort but no value for money
  • It may be better known as Dodging Company

Online customer review of leading hospital chain:

  • Negligence & misleading information
  • Not proper treatment
  • Emergency Room people extremely negligent
  • Medical treatment negligence
  • Terrible Experience @ XXXX Gurgaon

Online customer review of leading insurance company:

  • BIG FRAUD AND SCAM IN JAIPUR
  • NRI Should never go with XXXX PLUS .
  • NO ONE INTERESTED TO COMMIT
  • XXXX click to connect plus policy – zero response!
  • Extremely slow and poor customer service

Online customer review of leading bank:

  • Not good not bad
  • Very good
  • Good service with huge offers on ATM expenses
  • XXXX bank for working for your comfort
  • Good Banking Service.

I am sure given a choice other than a bank you would not like to deal with the other three companies.  This is the story of every company. Customer reviews have become either lead generators or lead destroyers.

The entire travel industry is dependent on customer reviews on the sites like Trip advisor. Be it a mobile phone or movies customer reviews play a critical role in customers’ buying decisions.

In reality, though the first three companies stated above are not as bad as it appears from the reviews. But the problem is a customer with a bad experience is more vocal about writing online reviews while a customer with better and happy experience has no reason to write a review unless they wish to share their happiness.

In my book, The Bread is moving I wrote about why it is not only important to create a better customer experience but also to make customer share this better experience. Companies must facilitate the sharing of their customer experience by their happy customers.

Social media is driving our lives and competition is making it easy for customers to switch the brand. In this scenario, it has become extremely important to offer a better customer experience and make your customer share their better experience online with the outside world. This will drive the sales and business.

Stopping at only offering better experience will not have the desired impact as customers do not believe in what companies shout in their advertisements, but they believe in what their fellow customers have to say.

Job is to make customer spokesperson for the brand. They will become a spokesperson only if they are better experienced and offer an ease of sharing their experience.

The book is free till 30th Sep 2015. Welcome to read. Click to buy.

Sunil Gandhi

Modi, Zuckerberg, Ganesh Immersion etc.

After meeting Techies on 26th Sep in San Jose, Silicon Valley, Indian Prime Minister is now in conversation with Marc Zuckerburg in Palo Alto, San Francisco, California. The Indian Prime Minister is setting new standards in what a leader can and should do to drive the economic growth in his country. His energy is contagious not only for Indian citizen, but also for world leaders. However, while he is promoting Digital India in the US today, I am writing about Experience India.

One of India’s mega-cities, Mumbai is celebrating a festival or rather end of ten days Ganesh Festival today. Some six thousand plus Ganesh idols will be immersed in the sea today. Around 47,000 police and 10,000 volunteers from different NGOs are on the street to manage the show. A couple of million people are on the streets of the city. Since the afternoon immersion procession has started and will continue till early morning tomorrow.

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This is just a one-day event, but magnanimity is so enormous and experience of Being There on the road is so enthralling that it’s worth experiencing once in a lifetime. Chances of going things wrong are equally high – it could be anything that can go wrong in heavy crowd gathering. But hats off to Mumbai Police, Municipal Staff and of course volunteers who make sure the entire show is concluded peacefully without any casualties and untoward incidences.

While I have released my ebook The Bread is Moving today on the subject of customer experience & citizen experience I am happy to write about the subject Experience, the human experience. Yes whether customer experience or citizen experience or any human experience – experience makes an impact, its memorable its felt beyond body level.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Yes, it is now important for every company and countries to become Experience leaders. Experience creation is THE thing. Every company should understand this. As a spiritual being we experience being human and as a human being we experience life day in and day out.

Any company that will focus on this human experience betterment and innovative experience will be rewarded. In the book, I have discussed about necessity of customer experience due to the reach of social media and its economic impact. However, this Experience thing is beyond business. It is a necessity of every human being.

Every day we look forward having some good experience either through fellow human being or from anything else. Anything that can make us happy and feeling good is an Experience. Whatever enhances our human Experience as a spirit is happiness and feeling good.

Watching Ganesh immersion live on the roads of Mumbai on a mega scale is an Experience, when a company goes out of the way to serve the customer, it is an experience, when a company is flawlessly and with ease serves the customer just to fulfil the basic need, it is an Experience. The world has become so complicated that extreme ease is also an Experience.

The world is fascinated with India i.e. Experience India is only because of the Experience of the diversity it offers. Be it Indian culture, cuisine, festivals, languages, religions, cinema, natural beauty – beaches, hill stations, historical destinations everything India offers is an Experience not only worth experiencing but experience it again and again.

Some of the famous quotes about Indian experience are given below

1. Mark Twain, American author: “India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition. our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”

2. Albert Einstein, American scientist: “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”

3. Max Mueller, German scholar: If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.

The whole point is: like a country, a company also can become known for the Experience their customer experiences.

Experience is what every human being wants, needs and desire.

PS: You may wish to have a look at my book – The Bread is Moving.

Sunil Gandhi

How can better communication impact the bottomline?

India, Pakistan talk a month ago broke down because of communication failure. Such an important talk could not happen because interpretation of the word ‘Terror’ was miscommunicated or misunderstood by both the sides. What one side may assume about what is communicated, the other side not necessarily have understood the same. This is known as a miscommunication.

Are our ministers and secretaries not intelligent enough to know this? Many a times, miscommunication is deliberate to keep the things ambiguous, but most of the time it’s ignored just and not given the required importance. Our assumption decides what we think we have communicated and assumption of the recipient decides what they make out of it.

We are not discussing about communication in politics, which is extremely important though, what we are discussing is a failure of communication or not remain alert while communicating which affect customer experience.

“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”

Chinese Proverb

What this Chinese proverb mean is about communication. SMILING is a communication. On behalf of a shopkeeper, it communicates to a customer – You are welcome. This small gesture is also a very important form of communication imagine what adequate and apt communication can do for the business.

Many a times customer experience fails because of failure to communicate, and most of the time failed experience can be made better just by timely and right communication. It’s all about communication – be it oral, written or gestural. Communication plays a very critical role in spoiling or enhancing customer experience.

Ritz-Carlton is one of the finest customer experiences providing company. Their three steps to service is worth looking at:

Three Steps Of Service

  • A warm and sincere greeting. Use the guest’s name. (Communication)
  • Anticipation and fulfilment of each guest’s needs.
  • Fond farewell. Give a warm good-bye and use the guest’s name. (Communication)

Two out of the three steps are about communication. Better and right communication.

Customer experience expert Shep Hyken writes;

Systems that deliver a world-class customer experience start with people. And those individuals need to be great communicators. But further than that, the systems in which they work need to be designed to facilitate and promote communication. You can’t have great communicators working in a system that thwarts their ability to achieve that goal. On the flip side, you don’t want to spend countless hours building a system that promotes greater communication and then staff it with people who don’t communicate well.

It’s all about communication and we ignore it as we are communicating 24 X 7 with our customers – in person, call centers, websites, advertisements, annual reports, after sales service or sales pitch everything is communication. We train our people for a sales pitch, but we fail at after sales stage as, a paper by Xerox on Engineering Communications to improve the customer experience states;

Flawed post-sale communications are often a key factor in costly customer dissatisfaction and churn.

The customer experience is nothing but making the customer feel they are taken care off. Colin Shaw of Beyond Philosophy talks about emotional experience. Yes customer experience includes an emotional experience, though customer usually interacts with companies to fulfil rational experience. Therefore, ignoring empathy and emotional part during the customer journeys can severely impact customer experience.

Dr James Merlino of Cleveland Clinics, known for excellent patient experience, based on their research found the following fifteen area of importance for better patient experience:

  1. Staff Cared
  2. Doctor kept patient informed ( C )
  3. Nurses attention to needs ( C )
  4. Respect for privacy
  5. Doctor concerns about comfort
  6. Nurse kept patient informed ( C )
  7. Doctor listened ( C )
  8. Nurses listened ( C )
  9. Doctor explained ( C )
  10. Information about delays ( C )
  11. Pain Control
  12. Courtesy to family and friends ( C )
  13. Information to care for self at home ( C )
  14. Family and friends kept informed ( C )
  15. Doctor courtesy ( C )

Eleven out of fifteen is about effective and better communication. Imagine how patient and for that matter customer experience can be improved by focussing on this single aspect of business.

The importance of personal communication is underrated by most companies. Companies just don’t need to focus on better communication for better customer experience, but they also must improve their overall communication capabilities to avoid failure of customer experience.

Failure of communication or miscommunication or inadequate communication can be a cause of the disaster as far as customer experience is concerned.

Report by Xerox as stated above writes;

Developing a communication strategy begins with identifying customer touch points across an organization and determining their impact on the customer experience.

Yes, communication is extremely important in a journey of better customer experience, but this single area of importance can have a huge impact on better customer experience. Though this is not a substitute for otherwise pathetic customer experience, but this can surely take care when something goes wrong.

Tone, language, words, attention, listening, written, a gesture, every component of communication matters and makes the communication complete. Ignoring one aspect can fail the entire communication. Try with Tone.

An earlier proverb was – It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It. New proverb is – It is what you say and how you say both matters and impacts the customer experience. Be known for your enterprise’s communication skills.  It will not only prove to be a huge brand building exercise but also can lead to a huge leap in the customer experience your enterprise creates.

PS: Remember better Customer Experience directly improves bottomline

Watermark Consulting Report:

For the 6-year period from 2007 to 2012, the Customer Experience Leaders in our study outperformed the broader market, generating a total return that was three times higher on average than the S&P 500 Index.

Furthermore, while the Customer Experience Leaders handily beat the S&P 500, the Laggards trailed it by a wide margin.

Know what, why, how & much more about customer experience in my new book  – The Bread is Moving

Sunil Gandhi

Two business critical data mostly unknown

“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”

― Peter F. Drucker

Therefore, acquiring customers & keeping them are the key functions of the business. What Peter Drucker had said is profound and if we break the sentence into two, we get to know the real areas of focus on:

  • Do something for which we get a customer
  • Do something for which we can keep the acquired customer

To be of value and to remain value for the customers matter. The above realisation makes the following two data very important:

  • Customer Acquisition Cost – CAC
  • Life Time Value of an acquired Customer – LTV

Most entrepreneurs/CXOs do not know two critical business data of CAC & LTV:

(Please ask a few entrepreneurs to validate the statement).

It is not only important for entrepreneurs and CXOs to know both the data, but in order to become more profitable, work on to minimise the former and maximise the latter.

Apple has millions of acquired customers over the years through their superior products. The superiority of their products has helped the company to keep costs of acquiring a new customer quite low and value realisation from retention of customers, quite high.

On the other hand, not so superior product/service companies bear the high cost of customer acquisition and lifetime value of their customers are quite low.

Customer queues in front of Apple stores to buy their products. In times when the world is suffering from overproduction and signs of recession are looming large, this kind of status is rare. This rarity is what makes them unique and aspirational brand.

To know CAC & LTV we also should know about customer retention rate (CRR) and customer churn rate (CCR). In this post, I am not discussing how to calculate the ratio of the LTV / CAC or CRR, CCR etc.

Like any project with quicker payback period offers better ROI, any customer with better LTV/CAC offers better ROI. Isn’t it common sense – a project offers better ROI only if customers serviced with the project offers better ROI?

Therefore, to improve project ROI not only the cost of the project should be competitive, but revenue maximisation should also be achieved and aspired for.

ROI will improve if the CAC is low, but the ROI can also be improved exponentially if LTV is higher. As we all know the bottom line impact of 1% increase in revenue is far better than 1% reduction in cost.

How better customer experience can impact this matrix:

  • Better customer experience = More sales (Everyone likes better experience)
  • Better customer experience = More referral sales (Sharing of better experience, customer becomes brand ambassador)
  • Better customer experience = Quicker sales (Apple customers don’t need more of convincing by salesperson)
  • Better customer experience = Repeat purchase (Everyone likes to have repeat better experience)
  • Better customer experience = Lower churn rate & higher retention rate
  • Better customer experience = Lower marketing cost (Repeat and referral customers, coupled with favourable churn & retention rate)
  • Better customer experience = Lower price elasticity = Better pricing power
  • Better customer experience = Higher LTV (Repeat customer with the referral and up-sale/x sale possibility will enhance life Time value)
  • Better customer experience = Lower CAC
  • Better customer experience = Better EBIDTA, ROI, ROCE

Whether its project payback period or ROI or ROCE it all broadly and ultimately depends on better customer experience. Blue ocean better customer experience creates for the enterprise can act as a solid pull for customers.

Some of the non-financial statement data and ratio every enterprise must focus on and work upon to improve are:

  • NPS – Net Promoter Scorecard
  • CES – Customer Effort Score
  • LTV – Life Time Value of Customer
  • CAC – Customer acquisition Cost
  • CCR – Customer Churn rate
  • CRR – Customer Retention rate

This subject is very important for every business as acquiring a new customer is said to be much more costly than retaining a new one.  It is worth spending some more money on retention than going after acquiring a new one. Better customer retention rate has many happy side effects. This will only happen if they can fulfill their needs with ease and delight.

CFOs should focus more on these data before looking at the financial statement data. These data, though not reflected in the financial statement influence significantly the data stated in the financial statement.

In the book ‘Amaze Every Customer Every Time’, author Shep Hyken writes about ‘Five Dollar Lifeboat’ at Ace Hardware Stores:

… Make it easy for the customer and employee. Is the customer unhappy? Yes. Would making the customer happy cost less than five bucks? Yes. End of the problem.

Employees are empowered to spend up to $ five to make customers happy and no question asked. This has created many happy customer stories and  talk of the town brand.

JD Powers survey and ranked Ace Hardware for eight straight years as “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Improvement Stores.” Their customer satisfaction score, 791 out of 1,000 points, is above retail giants Lowe’s or The Home Depot, respectively 779 and 763.

What is your enterprise’s CAC, LTV or Five boat life boat equivalent?

Learn more about better customer Experience from my new book The Bread is Moving releasing on Amazon on 27th Sep 2015.

 

Sunil Gandhi

If slaughterhouses had glass walls …

Meat ban and the beef ban has become the an unwanted controversy in India since last one week. Be it as it may, as far as eating is concerned, no one should force anyone and no need for political interference.

Moral conduct cannot be enforced. Eating good food is advisable, but cannot be enforced. The eater will be responsible for her acts & must be ready to face the consequences. Any good conduct is advisable but is not enforceable.

Every soul is responsible and accountable for our own acts. All living beings are subject to the law of Karma. (Those do not believe please explain the difference between rich and poor, happy and unhappy, some soul with the human body and some are with animal body? ).

Newton’s 3rd law states – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is a science and one may not believe it is up one’s wisdom and understanding. Can we force people to believe in any of the scientific natural laws?  No.

We all living beings are the creation of nature. All are governed by some laws. These laws are called laws of Karma. Our Karma is the determinant of the kind of body a soul gets and kind of pain and pleasure the soul encounters. Every soul is not only responsible for its own acts i.e. Karma but can’t escape from its fruits.

This is a pure science irrespective of anyone believes it or not. Religion has nothing to do with it. Every religion explains this science of nature to the extent they understand. However, every religion has touched upon this subject and quite in detail.

Nonviolence is the basis of every religion though Jainism has quite a detailed definition of violence. Jainism believes even hurting someone with our words is also a form of violence. Everyone knows Jainism considers eating root vegetables is also violence only because it believes in a minute form of nonviolence. We all by now know and even have seen small microscopic lives in these root vegetables.

Killing is violence. Killing a living being attracts a very severe form of Karma to the soul. Whether one believes it or no is a matter of individual freedom.

Suppose you do not believe. Fine. Just visit the abattoir where animals are getting killed for their meat to ends up on your plate. If you do not have time to visit, please read this article –  Journey through hell.    

The author writes;

Every day, around 30 trucks crammed with cattle cross the border into the city and find their way to the Deonar slaughterhouse. The animals— starving, terrified and often mutilated—have stood in their blood, urine and dung for 36 hours or more. Their tails are sometimes cut off to make space in the truck and their eyes often sewn up. At the slaughterhouse, death can come as a release. This is the meat that ends up on your plate.

Additional reading: Maneka Gandhi’s book : Heads & Tails

 

They all are living being and are suffering their bad Karma but don’t forget this science of Karma leaves none. It’s a science and no one can interfere and manipulate.

Years ago Maneka Gandhi had written an article about how emotions of fear and cry of animals’ just before killing impact the meat eaters’ mindset negatively.

Those who are following any religion, they may like to know the following facts:

Tiru Kural:

  • “It is the principle of the pure in heart never to injure others, even when they themselves have been hatefully injured.”
  • “If a man inflicts sorrow on another in the morning, sorrow will come to him unbidden in the afternoon.
  • “What is virtuous conduct? It is never destroying life, for killing leads to every other sin.

(Dr Abdul Kalam always used to quote from this script and he was also a vegetarian yet not Jain)

 Mahabharata:

  • “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Yielding to desire and acting differently, one becomes guilty of adharma.” 
  • “Ahimsa is the highest dharma. Ahimsa is the best tapas. Ahimsa is the greatest gift. Ahimsa is the highest self-control. Ahimsa is the highest sacrifice. Ahimsa is the highest power. Ahimsa is the highest friend. Ahimsa is the highest truth. Ahimsa is the highest teaching.”

Dharma Shastra:

  • “Without doing injury to living things, flesh cannot be had anywhere; and the killing of living beings is not conducive to heaven; hence eating of flesh should be avoided.”
  • “Nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing, purity, sense control–this, in brief, says Manu, is the dharma of all the four castes.”

Atharvaveda:

“Ahimsa is not causing pain to any living being at any time through the actions of one’s mind, speech or body.”

Samaveda:

Chandogya Upanishad: “ It bars, violence against “all creatures” (sarvabhuta) and the practitioner of Ahimsa is said to escape from the cycle of reincarnation.”

Kautilya Arthashastra:

“Ahimsa is a duty for all the four classes (Varnas) of society. The texts declare that Ahimsa should be extended to all forms of life. They also give attention to the protection of plants.” 

Bhagavad Gita:

“ Bhagavad Gita includes Ahimsa in the twenty virtues necessary for attaining Dnyana (knowledge (of Self)). The shloka (verse) is as follows :

amaanitvamadambhitvamahimsaa kshaantiaarjavam

aacharyaupaasanaamshoucham sthairyam aatmavinigraham (Gita 13.7)  (2)

Thus non-injury to others (physical or mental) is prescribed as virtue

in PERSONAL conduct.”

Srimad Bhagavatam:

“ Prohibit violence against innocent animals.”

In his article Vegetarianism in the Bible author Denis Giron discusses the view of Christianity on the subject.

What Brother Initiate Zamir Elahi, UK  writes in his article Islam and Vegetarianism is also worth reading.

Kabirji was very vocal about his views on meat consumption.

कबीर-माँस माँस सब एक है, मुरगी हिरनी गाय।
आँखि देखि नर खात है, ते नर नरकहिं जाय।।

कबीर-यह कूकर को भक्ष है, मनुष देह क्यों खाय।
मुखमें आमिख मेलिके, नरक परंगे जाय।।

 Meat may be from a cow, a deer or a chicken, those who consume meat are destined to hell. Those who eat meat unknowingly (e.g. unknowingly one consumed meat at their relatives place because of not being told or considering it to be a vegetable) they do not incur sin but in future they must remain very vigilant. Those who knowingly consume meat incur sin. This meat is dog food and is prohibited for a human being. 

Wikipedia states:

In 1582, Emperor Akbar invited Hiravijaya Suri to explain him the principles of Jainism. He first discussed the various aspects of religion and philosophy with Abul Fazal and the later with Akbar. Akbar was so much influenced by the religion of non-violence preached by the Jain monk that he became vegetarian most of the days, prohibited slaughter of animals and birds, released prisoners and gave up fishing and hunting which were his favourite pastime. Out of respect for Jainism, Akbar declared firmans (royal decree) for Amari Ghosana banning the killing of animals during the Jain festivals of Paryusana and Mahavir Jayanti.

People are choosing vegetarian food for different reasons; Here is a list of 15 international celebrities turned Vegan. Indian readers would be happy to find Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shahdi Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Mallika Sherawat, Vidya Balan and Kangana Ranaut among the Bollywood celebrities who have turned vegan for various reasons. More here.

Dr. John McDougall writes;

Steve Jobs lived more than 30 years after developing pancreatic cancer thanks to his vegan diet.

From King Akbar to Amitabh Bachchan to Aamir Khan to Steve Jobs none of them were/are Jains.

Yet I still believe people are free to choose their food and state should interfere.

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian.” 
― Paul McCartney

(Oprah has already done this in this video Inside the slaughter House for those who dare to see. For your food only !!! )

Click to download book: Jainism – Non-Violence & Vegetarianism

Sunil Gandhi

Twelve ways to get rid of Karma (Prematurely)

Attracting of Karma is Ashrav (+)

Stopping of Karma is Sanwar ( = ) and

Shedding of Karma is known as Nirjara ( – ) .

In the previous post, we saw 57 ways a soul can avoid attracting of new Karma. Today we will discuss about Nirjara. But before we discuss Nirjara we should know about the status of various Karmas.

Bandh: Actual attachment of Karma to the soul is known as Bandh. There is a difference between Ashrav and Bandh. Ashrav is actions (of mind, body and words) which attract Karma while Bandh is the actual physical attachment of Karma to the soul. One is the cause and other is the effect.

Uday: Out of the physically attached Karmas, there are some which are operative and giving its fruits in the present moment. These Karmas are known as Karma in Uday.

Udirana: We have seen earlier Karma when attached has its maturity time. But bringing the Karma to Uday before its maturity by some means (Nirjara) is known as Udirana.

Satta: This means Karmas which are attached to the soul in dormant form and yet to give its fruits.

When a Karma is in operation i.e. Uday Karma, it gives its fruit and vanishes that is Nirjara. This is natural Nirjara and every soul is doing this every second. However, there are possibilities of extinguishing the existing Karma before it matures i.e. in Uday. Tattvarthigum Sutra suggests this kind of Nirjara is possible in twelve ways.

Penance is the way of doing it. There are twelve types of penance as the Sutra suggests. These are divided into : Six external and six internal. Penance, which others can see is known as external and penance known only to the self is known as internal penance. In external penance, focus is on detachment from Pudgala (things) while in external penance focus is on refrainment of Kasyaha (anger, ego, deceit , greed).

Both types of penance are equally important. Let’s look at it one by one:

External Penance:

  • Anashana: Refrain from eating is known as Anashana. It can be fasting whole day or fasting for many days, it also could be eating only once or twice a day. It even could be eating tasteless food. This is known as Ayambil.
  • Unodari: Eating less than the hunger. This also helps in avoiding procrastination and laziness.
  • Vruti Parisankhyan: Controlling desire. Using fewer resources and limiting usage of personal things.
  • Rasaparityaga: Not eating food which toxicities or causes disorder in the body.
  • Vivikta Saiyasana: Sitting or meditating on the aloof place to avoid distraction from religious activities.
  • Kaya klesh: To make body suffers and not to make it comfort friendly. Tolerate difficult physical condition. Tolerate sufferings from other living beings or natural situations.

Maintaining equanimity in above six condition helps in destroying existing Karma.

Now we turn to internal penance. This is invisible to others, but a soul can practice this for its own betterment. The body is not impacted in these types of penance as much it’s impacted during practicing external penance. However, this kind of penance enhances quality of the soul. These are:

Internal Penance:

  • Prayaschit: Accepting the mistake and committing not repeat the same again. Asking for forgiveness and tolerating penalties for the mistake to come clean. This is further divided into nine sub heads. All nine are the causes of Nirjara.
  • Vinay: Respecting elders and helping them. Speaking with love & compassion with them. This is further divided into four sub heads. All four are the causes of Nirjara.
  • Vaiyavrutya: At service to the people doing external penance, helping noble souls, saints and serving enlightened souls. Always remain alert to serve them. This is further divided into ten sub heads. All ten are the causes of Nirjara.
  • Swadhyay: Thinking about the self, i.e. soul, reading and help others read religious texts, reading books which helps in detachments and enhances the qualities of the soul. This is further divided into five sub heads. All five are the causes of Nirjara.
  • Vyutsarg: To get rid of extra and unwanted material things. To get rid of extra social responsibilities and Kashaya. This is further divided into two sub heads. Both are the causes of Nirjara.
  • Dhyana: To meditate about the self i.e soul to control mind, body & speech. This is further divided into four sub heads. Dharma Dhyana and Shukla Dhyana helps in Nirjara while Aantar Dhyana (Worries) and Raudra Dhyana (Anger) are the causes of attracting bad Karma i.e. Aahrav.

All these twelve penances are the means to get rid of existing Karma before it matures. This can speed up the journey of the soul to Moksha. (Remember: Karmaless soul is the Moksha.)

We the souls, not only need to stop Ashrav but also practice Sanwar and Nirjara to become Karmaless as quickly as possible.

However, before one thinks of indulging in these penances, do not forget this will only work to extinguish Karma if the doer is in a soul mode and not consider self as a body. (The Real Maths)

Believing self as a body is Mithyatva i.e. wrong knowledge and in that case Nirjara becomes the cause of Ashrav. Soul attracts good Karma. The objective to attain Moksha is to get rid off and not attract good or bad Karma.

When the living beings are suffering due to the wrong belief about the self and not knowing the laws of Karma which operates for every soul, the knowledge of Ashrav, Sanwar and Nirjara as explained in this and previous two posts will be immensely useful.

Source Credit: 1) Tattvarthigum Sutra 2) Karma Granth – 1

Sunil Gandhi

Panacea for Recession, Turnaround & Brand Building

Initiatives for a business turnaround should not begin when the company is already in the hospital bed. We are sick not only when we visit doctors, but sickness becomes unbearable and then we visit doctors. Not on medication doesn’t mean we are healthy.

We go to a gymnasium to prevent health problem and maintain the health. It is not a compulsion, but a good practice. Good hygiene is a good practice be it individual or an enterprise. Likewise, a business turnaround can very well start when the business is still making money.

There are financial ratios which indicate the health of the business. Closely monitoring and interpreting the same can be of great use to take timely action to prevent sickness and even course correction for higher margins.

There are financial wizards who are experts in financial management and financial turnaround. When the patient is bleeding band aid or stitches stop bleeding, but healing of the cut requires different treatment. Both are necessary and both are important. But only band-aid without the healing treatment cannot solve the problem permanently.

Financial measures to stop leakage are immediate cure but for permanent long term solution and sustenance healing program is necessary.

This permanent cure can be in most of the cases could be focusing on CUSTOMERS and bettering their experience. Yes, bettering the customer experience can be a cause of business turnaround.

Financial ratios like EBIDTA, ROCE & EPS all are largely dependent on NPS, CES and ES. Yes, better customer experience has a direct impact on financial performance of the company.

There is a research on the impact of better customer experience and call centre profitability. In his article Customer experience and profitability, authors found:

Empirical research using data from the ERIC Programme™ of Harding & Yorke and financial data from the AMADEUS database identifies that there is a strong relationship between certain dimensions of the customer experience and profitability.

There are various elements of better customer experience the above research has explored and studied and what they found was;

A positive relationship exists between Empathy and ROCE. Empathy, in particular, had the largest positive beta coefficient (0.97), implying that it makes the strongest contribution to explaining profitability. Furthermore, every point increase on empathy projects a 16.4 per cent impact on ROCE if the other variables are held constant. This finding suggests that empathy is not only a good measure for assessing customer experience with call centres, but is also one of the key performance indicators for managing profitability.’

Empathy with the customer stands out in overall customer experience. This is the reason UK based consulting company

Beyond Philosophy is helping companies in designing emotionally filled positive customer experience.

The point we were discussing was the importance of customer experience in business turnaround. When better CX can improve ROCE it certainly can help in business turnaround. Even non-sick companies are reaping benefits of offering a better customer experience. Their market valuation is always better than companies that are not offering a better customer experience.

A study by Watermark Consulting about the ROI of better customer experience found;

8-Year Stock Performance of Customer Experience Leaders vs. Laggards vs. S&P 500 (2007-2014):


• Cumulative ROI of CX Leaders was 107.50%
• S & P Index gave ROI of 72.30%
• CX Laggards was 27.60%

Both the studies stated above suggest ROI and ROCE of companies offering better customer experience are better than companies not offering a better customer experience. Yes, focus on better customer experience can offer companies a chance to create sustainable competitive advantage while business turnaround is under action. While immediate band aid is working on to stop further cash bleeding, customer focus will make the company healthy once bleeding stops.

Forbes magazine reports, CEOs Dan Hesse of Sprint, while discussing about their business turnaround says:

We have 3 priorities: number one is improving the customer experience. Number two is strengthening the brand. Number three is generating cash.

In 2007 Sprint had among the poorest scores in service. By focusing on employees and customers, Sprint became The American Customer Satisfaction Index #1 most improved U.S. company in customer satisfaction over the past 5 years in their evaluation of 47 industries.

Frank Capek, CEO of Customer Innovation even says;

The linchpin of an effective recessionary strategy is aggressive customer focus! 

Whether it’s about business turnaround or bettering ROI and ROCE or building a lovable brand or struggling with recession or even looking to achieve sustainable competitive advantage, better customer experience is the panacea.

Customer experience is all the more critical in sharing economy, we are living in. Find out more: Preorder my new book on the subject – The Bread is Moving.

Sunil Gandhi

57 ways to avoid new Karma

In the previous post on the subject Five Ways Soul attracts new Karma we have seen how a soul attracts new Karma. However, by now we know complete annihilation of Karma is Moksha. Therefore, an attraction of new Karma means an extension of cycles of life and death. Knowing how to stop attracting new Karma and shedding of existing Karma is extremely critical & I would say the most critical for every human being.

In this post, we will know HOW a soul can do that. Yes, stopping of new Karma and shedding of existing one is very much possible.

Common sense suggests NOT doing things which attract NEW Karma means a soul is not attracting new Karma. This act of not attracting the new Karma is known as SANWAR. Tattvarthigam Sutra (The Sutra) defines 57 ways this can be done. These are classified into six categories. These are;

1. Gupti: Not indulging in the wrong conducts in order to win over Kashayas is known as Gupti. This can be done in three ways: through thoughts, body and speech.

2. Samiti: Alertness while conducting the self. Indulging in alert conducts to avoid any kind of violence. These are:

2.1) Irya Samiti: Carefulness while walking to avoid the killing of any living being.
2.2) Bhasha Samiti: Carefulness while speaking so as not to hurt anyone. Even truth should be spoken in soft and non-harming language.
2.3) Aeshna Samiti: Carefulness in not only in what one eats, but in cooking and bring the food so as to avoid any kinds of violence.
2.4) Aadana Nikehsp Samiti: Carefulness in handling clothes and utensils to avoid any form of violence.
2.5) Utsarg Samiti: Carefulness in human discharge so as to avoid any form of violence.

Usually in all the situations except 2.2 if one is not careful and alert small insects get killed by our carelessness. This is the level of consciousness is expected to be practiced if a soul wants to avoid new Karma and practice Sanwar.

3. Yati Dharma: There are 10 kinds of conduct which is to be practiced in respective circumstance to avoid Ashrav and practice Sanwar. These are:

Forgiveness, humility, honesty, purity, truthfulness, self-restraint, penance, renunciation, non-attachment, celibacy.

4. Anupreksha: There are twelve types of Anupreksha or Bhavana or Reflections which every soul should practice daily to conduct restraint in the behaviour which help in SANWAR. These are:

4.1) Anitya: Body, family, wealth, fame nothing is permanent.
4.2) Asharan: In pain no one can save us not even family and friends.
4.3) Sansar: This world is full of mental, physical and social pain where no one is happy.
4.4) Aekatva: Every soul is responsible for its own Karma. Every living being is born alone and will die alone.
4.5) Anyatva: Body and soul are both different. The body will be destroyed, soul will remain permanent.
4.6) Asuchi: Everybody is a source of filth & it’s stinking. It keeps generating discharges from every hole it has. Usually, this impure body is disgusting, but we aspire to get pleasure out of it.
4.7) Ashrav: Soul is attracting new Karma with every act of mind, body and speech. This entangles the soul for more and more bodies after every death.
4.8) Sanwar: Soul can stop attracting new karma and thinking about these 57 ways, it can stop it.
4.9) Nirjara: By practicing penance soul can gets rid of existing Karma.
4.10) Lok Swabhav: Thinking about the enormous nature of the Universe.
4.11) Bodhi Durlabh: It is only in human life right and true understanding of the self ie. Soul is possible, but it is extremely rare.
4.12) Dharma Swakhyatva: Getting to know and learn from learned and enlightened souls is very very rare.

If a soul can think about all these twelve reflections daily it will realise the true understanding of the universe and the role of the soul in this human birth.

5. Victory over Parishaha: The Sutra further explains, there are 22 situations in which usually a soul gets disturbed and that can cause Ashrav. Unwanted natural situations are known as Parishaha. Not getting disturbed in all unwanted natural conditions and maintaining equanimity is known as Victory over Parishaha. If a soul is conscious about the situations it can exercise restraint to avoid Ashrav and that is Sanwar.

6. Charitra: Conduct in which a soul does not practice any form and intensity of Kashaya is known as Charitra. Equanimity in all conditions. The sutra explains five degrees of achieving this.

Kashaya was explained in the previous post, but at the cost of repetition:

There are four kinds of Kashaya:
• Kroadh: Anger, rage, insult, hatred, excitement, passion
• Maan : Arrogance, Self Pride, Conceit
• Maya: Deceit (See all synonyms)
• Lobh: Greed (See all synonyms)

Gupti stated above means indulging in activities which help us avoid Kashaya and Charitra is actually not practicing Kashaya when the situation occurs.

These are the ways and means for every soul to avoid attracting new Karma and practice Sanwar. One can imagine how every aspect of WHAT a good conduct is, is defined and explained.

May times we may not want to indulge in wrong doings, but sheer unawareness can cause unwanted conduct. If one is aware about the possibilities of bad conducts which can be the cause of Ashrav, one can practice it and over the period of time it becomes the self-nature.

After Ashrav and Sanwar next time we will see How a soul can even get rid of existing Karma even before it matures.

Sunil Gandhi

One Book – MUST read

In the past several years, I have read several books. Some of them were good while some were very good. Some I would say everyone should read and a very few I would say everyone MUST read. One of the MUST read is Seth Godin’s – Linchpin. This book in no unclear term says how to become indispensable. His definition of an art is worth remembering:

Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that create change in another. 

I think art is the ability to change people with your work.  

It further states:

If it’s easy and risk-free, it’s unlikely that it’s art.

I am not talking today about Linchpin, but the MUST book for today is Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley of IDEO. This is a book about igniting creative confidence in all of us (Readers of this book). Yes, every one of us is a creative person. We all are an artist.

The book is a very easy read, full of real-life examples about how a common man can influence his surrounding with a little creative mindset and creative confidence. The author writes;

A creative mindset can be a powerful force for looking beyond the status quo. People who use creative techniques we outline are better able to apply their imagination to painting a picture of tomorrow.    

The creative person is also an artist, but he draws a picture in his imagination beyond the status quo. He sees possibility and potential. The book introduces the science of design thinking.

Design thinking is a methodology. Using it, we can address a wide variety of personal , social and business challenges in creative new ways.

Christoph Meinel and Larry Leifer define  that there are four principles to design thinking:

  1. The human rule – all design activity is ultimately social in nature
  2. The ambiguity rule – design thinkers must preserve ambiguity
  3. The re-design rule – all design is re-design
  4. The tangibility rule – making ideas tangible always facilitates communication

One profound message of the book is a quote from Prof. Carol Dweck (@Stanford):

“Believe that person’s true potential is unknowable; that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil and training.”

Regardless of our initial talent, aptitude or even IQ we can expand our capabilities through effort and experience.      

This is a huge confidence booster. May of us is bogged down with our circumstances be it a degree we have or IQ we are told we possess. We have our own parameters and limitations of what we can do and what is possible for us. Prof. Dweck demolishes that limitation, we live with and we have imposed on us. We all love and inspire to become Steve Jobs. His views from the book are inspiring beyond compare:

Steve Jobs never took the path of least resistance. He never accepted the world “as is”. He did everything with intentionality. No detail as too small to escape his attention.”

The authors write:

Everything in modern society is the result of a collection of decisions made by someone. Why shouldn’t that someone be you?

That you are not limited to only what you have been able to do before.

Creative Confidence and Design thinking can help the practitioners in solving real life problems. It helps to look at the problems more closely and personally. Things usually we ignore or complaint about become the raw material for our thinking process. You become part of the solution from part of the problem. From mere critique to action oriented creative person.

The purpose of introducing this is book through this glimpse is to make every reader a more creative person, shifting him from problem to solution mindset and explore the potential each one of us has.

As quoted by author Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art. (Another MUST read book)

“The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”   

Creative Confidence will help us in pushing this RESISTANCE little further and then a little more. Mostly fear of failure and social shame are the major causes of this RESISTANCE.

To overcome this, the book introduces the term ‘Karaoke Confidence’. Most of us are bad singers, but most of us would like to sing when supported by Karaoke System. Karaoke system instills confidence in novice singers.

Karaoke veteran can tell you…..there is often much appreciation and applause for the noisy but enthusiastic novice. Feeling the genuine support of the audience, that karaoke singer is encouraged to sing again, getting a bit better next time.   

Now to actually get this life-changing creative confidence one has to read the book. One action is better than thousand ideas.

As quoted in the book from Scott Woody, a biophysics PhD candidate;

So many of us lack courage to pursue a new idea or skill, just by taking action you are better off than ninety-nine percent of people.

I have no commercial interest in promoting this book, but I do have an interest in making readers more creative so that the lives they live become more meaningful and the world we live in become easier to deal with.

PS: Earlier in age one reads the book better it is. School going kids are the right age group. Well for others you are already very late so no more procrastination.

PPS: We are living in a sharing economy, so share this post if you like it. Readers will thank you for this.

Sunil Gandhi