• sunilscga@gmail.com

Are your business easy to deal with?

Are your business easy to deal with?

“The World Bank and the Centre are working on expanding the coverage to include an analysis on 344 parameters as part of the Business Reform Action Plan for 2016.”

Times of India – 15th Oct 2015

Each state will be measured on ease of doing business on a 344 parameters. 344 is a whopping number. If there are 344 parameters which influence ease of doing business, imagine how difficult it is for the business to do business. Because even 10% parameters not made easy, ease of doing business goes for a toss.

First and foremost, this 344 number is mind boggling. Imagine if our fitness is measured on the basis of 100 parameters, becoming fit becomes a Herculean task.

But the detailing is good so as to not miss out on any parameters. I am sure they must have a grading and a weightage system, to give adequate importance to the major parameters. 

ease of d

This brings us to look inward, which we seldom look. What is the ease of doing business scorecard of your own company for your customers? This is very important.

Ease = More Business. Ease = Quick Business.

Imagine buying an eBook from Amazon. If you have not purchased any eBook from Amazon, it would be heartening to know from wanting to read the book to reading a book is a matter of less than 2 minutes. By the time your noodles get ready, you are reading the book.   

Search, reading reviews, payment mechanism and e-delivery, everything is so seamless that I have no doubt to state this is the easiest way of buying anything.

Now let’s examine parameters which impact, ease of doing for our customers and therefore, should be evaluated critically to remove all unwanted processes and hurdles.

  • Awareness

Whether we are making our customers aware about our offerings in such a way that they get a clear message about our offerings. Many a times advertisements are so made that it hardly communicates what it should.

The creativity of advertisers should not confuse the message.

“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

David Ogilvy

Creativity and communication, both must be crisp so that an advertisement achieves its purpose of making potential customers aware about what you have to offer for their problems/needs.

Create awareness where your potential customers are ready to receive your message with convenience.

  • Finding 

After awareness when a customer wants to avail the product and services again this is an area of efforts. How to find and where to find is a challenge.

A website  these days is a convenient tool.

But websites are also should be easily found. Selection of a domain name and search engine optimisation, everything matters when customers are out to find about the product. Websites or any other means easily found will have a better chance to get the business.

“In the case of measuring user friendliness and navigation, time needed to find a particular product was the factor considered to be of the greatest importance.”  

Perspectives in Business Informatics Research: 10th International Conference … edited by Janis Grabis, Marite Kirikova  

  • Knowing

After a prospective customer find the product and service next she would do is to now the relevancy to her need. Therefore, at awareness stage and thereafter at buying stage, crisply defining product/service features, ideal customers profile, what it will help in achieving etc should be easily made available.

Any extra effort here can also turn away the customer to more clearly defined product/service.

Features, Advantage, Benefits (FAB) and Unique Selling Points (USP) should be clearly defined and communicated.

All this content will help potential customer sin their buying decisions. More time spent here will save sales cycle time.   

  • Comparing

After knowing about the product and services customers would like to compare it with competing products. Price is an important criterion, but we are discussing only about the ease of doing business and therefore customers should be given ease of comparison.

Even if the company is not giving them ease customers would compare. When they compare of their own, it will take time, chances of visiting competing products would be more on the competitors website or store and therefore giving them comparison facility on your website or store is a good business decision.

There are many product comparison sites. Use them (Credible sites only) smartly to your advantage.

Offering an ease, even though it’s comparable to competitors’ offerings will have a positive impact on buying decisions.

  • Buying/Availing

After comparing final decision comes to buying the product or availing the service. Ease of buying is also an important consideration.

Many times a great product launch advertisement campaign not followed up by the availability of the product at the nearby store makes it worthless.

Easy availability – be it online, mobile, nearby retail store or nearby mall or home delivery – everything counts.

Many times payment methods and options are not convenient or secure  and business is lost.

This is the most important in the entire hierarchy of the buying process. Many times we go to buy something, but non-availability with ease turns customers away.

  • Technical Training

Some products need technical training for users before they can use it. What training material, who are the people and medium of training, frequency of training, quality of trainers everything can influence the ease of doing business.  

Easier it is to learn and easier it is to handle the product/service more it will result in sales. Post purchase it can help with more customer referrals.  

  • After Sales Support

Many companies are conscious about pre-sales ease of doing business, but once we become their customers after sales, repair, return everything is a hardship.

I have to dial so many punches if I wish to talk to call center executives of my bank. But the same bank will send their executives at my residence to open an account.

Another interesting example is my internet service provider once used to send me a bill with customer care number at the back and bottom of the bill. That part will have to be torn and attached with the cheque. So once I make the payment I won’t have customer care number handy and I will have to struggle to get it.

Post sale ease of after sales are very important determiners for retaining a customer and not getting negative reviews. 

I am told that a leading holiday resort company will do anything to make new customers, but once one becomes customer booking to avail the service is difficult.

When designing an ease end to end processes, touch points and cycles should be thought through and implemented. 

  • Return

They sale 24 X 7 but have rules and T & C for returns.  E-eCommerce companies know this and therefore, they have made their return policy easy to encourage prospective customers to buy.

Easier companies made their return policy more sales they can generate.

“Zappos’ famously easy return policy is another example of this – there is less friction for the customer to buy because they know that if they don’t like it they can return it. But once they have the product in their hands, will they really return it? Probably not. They’re already committed.”

6 Psychological Triggers that Win Sales and Influence Customers by Mark Maccdonald

Ease at any stage quicken and boost sales.

  • Repair:

Maruti is selling more cars because buyers know that they have service centers and even mechanics across India, almost anywhere.

Repair and service requirements and assurance is an important buying decision.

I find it difficult to have a service center for one of the leading music system brand. The same is our experience with many mobile companies. Someone once send

me his mobile for repair from Ahmedabad to Mumbai. A very big brand, but written off by me as having limited service centers and struggling to find one is not my cup of tea.  

Our buying decision does get impacted with repair and service easiness of the products.     

  • Disposal/Sale

Sometimes ease of product disposal is influencing our buying decisions. Many times we are told particular car brand can fetch more resale value. More demand for resale means easier reselling.  

Ease of product disposal is also important.

“Concern about environment , coupled with a need for convenience has made ease of product disposal a key attribute in categories from razors to nappies.”

Consumer Behaviour,  By Michael Solomon, Rebekah Russell-Bennett

Do we not consider while a business entity whether winding up is easy? Be it product or service exit, disposal and winding up matters while making a decision to avail at the first place.

I know a case study where a leading telephone database company had entered into an agreement for a period of three months, but it was almost not possible to foreclose. The customer tried by stop payment instruction to the bank, but that entails cheque bounce charges when EMI cheque hit the bank.

Customers don’t need it, but we will force him and keep offering our services. No or inconvenient exit is an important entry consideration.

We all know how entering without complete exit knowledge did cost Eklavya his life in Mahabharata. The point is ease of exit and disposal matters, sometimes matter the most.

While every business entity has a right to ask the Govt to make it easy to do business, but at the same time it is their responsibility to make it easy for their customers to deal with them not only at every touch point but at every stage of the business.

We have plenty of audits – from RBI to SEBI to Income Tax to Companies Act to VAT to Forensic & what not. All are about compliance, but nothing is about customers.  An audit about Effortless Customer Experience or Ease of doing business will add tremendous value to the business.

Isn’t it in the interest of business, entrepreneurs should follow the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in making it ease to do business for their customers, a top priority? Ruthless focus on ease of doing business & bettering the customer experience will make the business more humane and in the process more sustainable.    

Sunil Gandhi
Sunil Gandhi

Leave a Comment