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Category Archive: Real Estate

Do you possess this creative problem solving skill?

There is a book titled “Wicked problems worth solving”.

The author Jon Kolko, “A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems.”

Some of the wicked problems our world is facing like poverty, healthcare, disease, famine etc. These are complicated problems due to the involvement of multiple expertise and disciple involved. Like poverty is linked to education and inequality of income, healthcare is connected with poverty and education and likewise.

The author offers designers approach to solve these problems.

IDEO.ORG is a design firm working to improve lives of poor and vulnerable communities.  They are approaching the problems in poor and developing countries with the new and emerging concept of Human Cemented Design (HCD). This is a creative approach to problem solving. They believe that Embracing human-centered design means believing that all problems, even the seemingly intractable ones like poverty, gender equality, and clean water, are solvable.

Moreover, it means believing that the people who face those problems every day are the ones who hold the key to their answer. Human-centered design offers problem solvers of any stripe a chance to design with communities, to deeply understand the people they’re looking to serve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs

They are working on the projects like to identify opportunities for saving products for banks  for savers of low income Mexicans, how to sell health insurance in rural Nigeria using mobile money platform, create micro franchise opportunities for an NGO in India,  working with the Bezos Family Foundation on early child development, working with utility manufacturers for more intuitive and user friendly experience.

In short, they are using an HCD approach to solve many small but important wicked problems across the globe.

HCD entails three stages:

  • Inspiration: Define the challenge to be solved and collect data.
  • Ideation: Ideate with all stake holders’ data collected to generate many ideas.
  • Implementation: Bring solution to life

There is an approach for each of the stage.

HCD approach design the solution which is viable (business/economics), feasible (Technology) and desirable (Human).

HCD is the approach business world use for service design to design customer focussed serviced design. This is the approach advance Governments are taking in solving people’s problem and better citizen service. Govt of the UK is quite ahead in this approach. Taking service design to Parliament, the author writes “ In order to create great services in the first place, the government has to stop thinking in silos. It needs to create services that cross departmental boundaries.

Be it NGOs, Social Entrepreneurs, For Profit Entrepreneurs and Governments all are gradually moving towards deign thinking. This Human Centered Design thinking and approach can help us doesn’t only solve wicked problems but create better customer/citizen experience.

If you are a problem solver irrespective of the type of the organisation, or wish to be a part of it, HCD is a necessary skill.  & the good part is it can be learned online for free. Yes, Acumen is conducting regular online free course on the subject of HCD.

Sunil Gandhi

Free Ebook – Download now – Limited Period Offer

The Bread is Moving. The book is free for a limited period.

Praise for the book:

“Customer Experience to Counter VUCA and Disruptive Times:

Retail is changing at a Fast Pace. Consumers are changing faster, thanks to Disruptive Technology and Multiple Screens. And yes, the On Line disruption is Impacting Operating Models of all businesses. How should businesses counter the VUCA situation all around ??

There is No Magic Formulae, Nor any Rocket Science to combat these challenges.

The Author Passionately brings to us , his proposition about Customer Experience (CX).

If Retail is Theatre that consumers need to enjoy- Designing and Delivering CX is the Key.

He explains in detail, with lots of Live Examples, what CX means and how Organisation, whether Retail or Non Retail should go about Defining to Designing and Delivering CX on the ground..

His analysis of various companies reveals that, Customer Centricity is at the heart of Successful Companies. I am sure that, each one of you would have encountered many WOW moments and many more Horrible let downs by Airlines, Telecom and other Companies.

Customer Centric Companies are obsessed with Customers Delight right from their Vision, Mission to their Product ,  Service & CX. The author proposes that every organisation should have a Chief Customer Experience Officer (CCXO ) to delight the customer.

The book is written in a simple to read and ready to execute format. I am sure, you will enjoy reading this book. And without wasting any time, you will start designing your organisations CX….”

  • Govind Shrikhande | Customer Care Associate & Managing Director | Shoppers Stop Ltd.

“This book is very apt and timely for Indian market. Especially for hospitals, customer experience is critical and the book tells almost A to Z of it.”

  • Joy Chakraborty, COO, Hinduja Hospital

I have read a lot of management books, however this book stands apart especially for Indian businessmen. I am impressed with how simply Sunil Gandhi has explained one of the most important aspects of Customer Experience (CX). Citing Indian examples he drives home the point very clearly and I am sure readers will be able to embark on a CX improvement journey right way.

  • Maman Choksi, Director, RE/MAX Gujarat, Director.

Readers Reviews:

By Manoj Papisetty on 28 September 2015

In this book, he collates some of the most useful ways to look at new age businesses and lists down neat, powerful processes with workable frameworks for any business. I am particularly excited about this book in India because of the new startup era we are seeing in the country. It will certainly help the new age startups grow quick, efficient and sustainable.

By Anish Desai on 5 December 2015

Customer Experience Champion Sunil Gandhi, yet again takes the readers of his books through some amazing insights in delivering the value of your product/service. It’s a must read for all who believe customer is at the core of the business and the key to turning around business is by focusing on the value chain and the customer. A thorough joy ride!!!!

By Surendra Arora on 2 October 2015

You must have read many such books written on US companies or situations, I admire Sunil for giving a Indian perspective to it. Interesting read for all corporate executives and business person.

By Amazon Customer on 28 September 2015

An excellent and very pertinent viewpoint that has been explained very logically and persistently.

By Gopinath Narayanan – Published on Amazon.com on 8th June 2016

A must read for anyone in the customer experience role. This is a well researched book, with several examples and case studies. Very contemporary, and includes the impact of social media.

The Bread is moving

 

Download now on your Kindle. Click here.

In fact it is not free, it comes with two conditions

  • Share this post
  • & share your review on Amazon, that’s it.

Welcome to download , its free till 23rd July 2016

 

Sunil Gandhi

Service Design – Why you can’t ignore it?

We all know the premium designers products command in the market. As far as services are concerned most service providers are not designing the service.

Services are about customer services. For new age businesses customer service is the core service. It does not come into play once the goods are sold and when the problem crops up. Be it banking, insurance, healthcare or hotels or any other services, their core business is customer service.

Unlike products which are designed in factories and sold in stores, services are not designed but it is made available as and when the customer demands. & therefore SERVICE DESIGN is a very important part of all the services but it is not only ignored, but most providers have no clue about this new discipline.

Usually, services are not proactively designed and that brings subjectivity in the service delivery. The subjectivity of the person delivering it, the subjectivity of place of delivery affects the experience customer receives. For example, in the healthcare system studies suggest, heart attack victims more likely to die if admitted to hospital at the weekend. However, every medicine, which is a manufactured product, would perform the same way the whole day, every day. It is the service of medical professionals which are hampered on weekends.

Usually, services are not proactively designed and that brings subjectivity in the service delivery. The subjectivity of the person delivering it, the subjectivity of place of delivery affects the experience customer receives. For example, in the healthcare system studies suggest, heart attack victims more likely to die if admitted to hospital at the weekend. However, every medicine, which is a manufactured product, would perform the same way the whole day, every day. It is the service of medical professionals which are hampered on weekends.

Every service offering company has to have services designed. These companies have SOPs but SOPs are STANDARD and customers are not standard. SOPs are designed for organisation’s point of view and efficiency. Service Design is design principles which take customers’ requirement into consideration while designing the services. Service Design is human-cantered while SOPs are product and organisation focussed.

“It is because many services are almost invisible that nobody takes care to design them.” Andy Polaine, Lavrans Løvlie, and Ben Reason in their book Service Design.

Customer Experience (CX) is now in vogue but in most organisations the subject is vaguely understood. “Me too” is the mindset. Thought little, but in some of the organisations which are taking the lead in CX are also taking the lead only in measurements of CX with scorecard like NPS but not in designing the experience. Forrester recently surveyed 100 customer experience professionals and found that only 15% consistently follow a defined customer experience design process when they create new interactions or improve existing ones.

In the age of customer experience and sharing economy where social media is widespread, Service Design is a new and powerful approach for the service organisation to do their business with customers.

Kerry Bodine , ex Forrester CX Professional wrote;,
We’ve entered a new business era that Forrester calls the age of the customer — a time when focus on the customer matters more than any other strategic imperative. Service design provides a toolset and framework that enable companies to truly understand their customers and engage with them in meaningful ways — ultimately driving profits, cost savings, and competitive differentiation.

Service Design is about designing each of the touch points of the organisation which customer interacts with. Customer Journey Maps are the foundation, based on which services can be effectively designed.

When a customer enters the hotel for check in or when a patient is admitted in an emergency department of the hospital or a customer is in the bank to withdraw cash, at each of such instances which parts of the organisation are triggered and comes into action?

It is not the front end staffs which are exposed, but the entire check in, admission and cash withdrawal services are in action and therefore exposed. How these services are designed or not designed will decide the fate of the customer experience and kind of interaction the customer will have with the front end staff.

In most of the cases,there is no end to end design of the services and that is why customer irritation takes place.

• Long queues
• Irresponsive & indifferent employee behaviour
• No replies to resolve our queries
• Call holding for long and hearing recorded message
• Scripted call center response
• Standard answer to our emails
• No confirmation of booking or order
• Doctors communication style with patients’ and their relatives
• Not acting on our instructions
• Heavy traffic
• Not providing adequate information in advance

The customer irritation list is endless. This list can be shortened and perhaps eliminated with the service design approach by the service companies. Service industry in India is booming and now has a share of 52% of GDP. This is likely to grow in the years to come. However, the growth of service sector without service designers is going to create more irritation among the customers, more of red ocean markets.

The world over Service Design is getting the attention of the trendsetting companies. Mayo Clinic has its own design practice, Capital One bank has acquired design agency Adaptive Path, IBM is building its own design studio. However, the service design is not the discipline for large organisations. Like a product design is necessary for every product manufacturing company, a service design is going to be a necessity for every service provider company.

Governments are the largest service providers to the citizen. UK Govt is focused on the principles of service design and they have service design standards for Govt services.

Designers’ services are what we need now and the future belongs to the companies which invest in Service Design to create better customer experiences. Manufacturing mindset will not work in the new service economy.

Are you sure services your company is offering will be delivered to the customer to create desired experience every time?

Sunil Gandhi

Bankruptcy Code – Borrowers Beware

Now becoming an NPA is a more serious problem for the borrowers. Earlier plethora of laws governing recovery was used by the borrower to their advantage to delay the process. Thanks to the new law which is coming up soon and approved by both the houses of Parliament.

The message from the bill is clear. Restructure, repay or wind up.

Where any corporate debtor commits a default, a financial creditor, an operational creditor or the corporate debtor itself may initiate corporate insolvency resolution process in respect of such corporate debtor.

  1. The adjudicating authority shall, within 2 days will accept or reject the application.
  2. The adjudicating authority shall, within two days of accepting the application communicate the order to creditor and debtor.
  3. If within 10 days of the receipt of the above notice debtor fails to pay or indicate dispute, the creditor may file the application for insolvency process for the debtor.
  4. Corporate insolvency process will start from the day of admission of the above application.

The entire insolvency and recovery process shall be completed within 180 days, with one extension of up to 90 days in exceptional cases.

There will be fast-track insolvency resolution process also. This is for  special category of creditors, mainly smaller creditors and the process will be completed with 90 days.

There is also a voluntary liquidation process. A corporate person registered as a company shall meet the following conditions:

(a) a declaration from a majority of the directors of the company verified by an affidavit stating that –

(i) they have made a full inquiry into the affairs of the company and they have formed an opinion that either the company has no debt or that it will be able to pay its debts in full from the proceeds of assets sold in the voluntary liquidation; and

(ii) the company is not being liquidated to defraud any person;

There will be a new breed of professionals like Interim resolution professional, Resolution professional, Insolvency professional. These professionals will have various rights and duties in the entire process.

The proceeds from the sale of the liquidation trust assets shall be distributed in the following order of priority and within such period as may be specified:

(a) the insolvency resolution process costs and the liquidation costs paid in full;

(b) the following debts which shall rank equally between and among the following :-

(i) debts owed to a secured creditor in the event such secured creditor has relinquished security in the manner set out in section 53; and

(ii) workmen’s dues for the period of three months before the liquidation commencement date;

(c) wages and any unpaid dues owed to employees other than workmen for the period of three months before the liquidation commencement date;

(d) the following classes of creditors shall be paid equally between and among the following :-

(i) financial debts owed to unsecured creditors; and

(ii) workmen’s dues in respect of the period of nine months beginning from twelve months before the liquidation commencement date and ending three months before the liquidation commencement date;

(e) the following dues rank equally between and among the following :-

(i) any amount due to the State Government and the Central Government in respect of the whole or any part of the period of two years before the liquidation commencement date;

(ii) debts owed to a secured creditor for any amount unpaid following the enforcement of security interest;

(f) any remaining debts;

(g) preference shareholders, if any; and

(h) equity shareholders or partners, as the case may be.

There is a separate insolvency mechanism for individual and partnership firms. For individuals, some of their personal assets are excluded from the process. These are;

(a) unencumbered tools, books, vehicles and other equipment as are necessary to the debtor or bankrupt for his personal use or for the purpose of his employment, business or vocation,

(b) unencumbered, furniture, household equipment and provisions as are necessary for satisfying the basic domestic needs of the bankrupt and his immediate family;

(c) any unencumbered personal ornaments of the debtor or his immediate family which cannot be parted with, in accordance with religious usage;

(d) any unencumbered life insurance policy or pension plan taken in the name of debtor or his immediate family; and

(e) an unencumbered single dwelling unit owned by the debtor of such value as may be prescribed;

For smaller debtors there is a mechanism called Fresh Start Process. Here smaller debtor who cannot pay his creditor can apply under this provision.

There will be suitable changes in the Company’s Act. SICA, Limited Liability Partnership Act, SARFAESI, Recovery of Debt Due to Banks and Financial Institution Act and Partnership Act.

This single Act will simplify the entire insolvency and bankruptcy process in the country. Lenders /Creditors’ rights will be protected stringently. As per the World Bank report insolvency process in India takes an average 4.3 years as against 8 months in Singapore and one year in Malaysia. Now with this code in India,  this time, will be 9 maximum months. More safety and quicker recovery will boost lending climate in the country and this will also discipline borrowers.

Borrowers beware.

Sunil Gandhi

Dangerous DEBT

The NPA is a fraction of the problem for Indian banks. They will employ a team of lawyers and / or sell NPA to ARCs to get rid of such accounts. They will get capital from the Govt.

But for entrepreneurs having an NPA, it is the mega problem for them. Their other good accounts will get affected; no one will lend them, they will be at a risk of selling of property mortgaged to the bank. It’s a very stressful situation. Mostly most small NPAs are not willful but ignorant NPAs.

Most entrepreneurs are financially illiterate. They can do good business, but can’t read financial statements. They can’t understand the implication of debt, cash and cash flow.

First draft my next ebook Dangerous DEBTWhat every entrepreneur must know himself is ready. I am looking for a few beta readers who can give me feedback about the book.

Please express your interest by dropping your email ID in response to this post to receive a soft copy of the manuscript.

Thank you.

Sunil Gandhi

Do you know your account could be the next NPA?

The whole India is debating about Vijay Mallya. But he is sitting somewhere in the world and addressing his high debt worries. On the other extreme, there are farmers committing suicide, due to unbearable debt exposure.

In between there are SME borrowers who are the most vulnerable to the debt crisis. Most do not know the implication of debt – its short-term and long-term usage, cash flow mismatch, interest impact and in the case of default all other implications that comes with NPA status.

To understand the dangers of debt, one must understand the intricacies of business finance. Entrepreneurs are happy when they could raise finance from banks or institutions. But the money that comes for business growth, comes at a cost.

Cost is not just interest but the cost of inability to pay interest and debt. The cost of invocation of personal guarantees, liquidation of security and the tag of NPA means untouchable status by all banks and institutional finance. This is a huge cost so much so that people are committing suicide, gone under depression and lose their self-confidence.

Entrepreneurs are by nature enterprising and optimistic. These qualities are important in business. But unreasonable optimism also sometimes kills. Many times when entrepreneurs are advised by finance professionals about their heavy debt exposure and weak financial ratios but the advice is sidetracked under the pretext of undue optimism.

Last week, Mint published Interest Coverage ratio of some of the large companies having huge debt exposure.

Company Interest Coverage Ratio
Jayprakash Associates 0.65
Jindal Steel & Power 1.09
Lanco Infra 0.24
GMR Infra 0.23
Bhushan Steel 0.72
GVK Power 0.31
UB Holding 0.52

Note: Interest coverage (EBIT/Interest)  below 1 indicates they do not have sufficient profit to pay interest on the debt. All borrowers own to the banking system thousands of crores.

When we act in the initial stage, we can salvage and even turn around the business. But at the death bed, salvage and turnaround is very difficult and even if that becomes possible it comes with huge toll. Whether its business or it’s a disease, early action prevents more damage and chances of survival.

In the case of Satyam, Govt acted swiftly and the company was salvaged successfully, but the same yardstick of swift action was not applied in the case of Kingfisher and the promoters were allowed to sink the boat.

For SME entrepreneurs, they have their residential flats at stake, whether mortgaged or not due to their personal guarantees given to the lenders.

To stop fooling around and survive on the basis of mere hope, SME entrepreneurs must make true and fair balance sheet. One cannot be said fit based on fake and manipulated medical reports. The world can be fooled. But own body can’t be fooled by the manipulated reports. Likewise, rating agencies and banks can be fooled, but the biggest casualty of the NPA is the entrepreneur himself and not the banks.

Forget Rs.9000 crs of Kingfisher, but imagine Rs. 90 lacs or Rs, 900 lacs defaults by an SME and the flat & factory are mortgaged to the bank, sister concerns are good accounts, but casualty it will face due to one NPA account in the group company.

Therefore, timely action is critical to save the account from becoming an NPA account. That will start with knowing true and fair Balance Sheet and P & L Account. Financial statements are the results of entrepreneurs’ action so knowing the problems with the financial statements, going into the causes of the problems to address the same.

To a give simple example, know your net worth by subtracting dead stock and not receivable debtors / loans and advances. This is the reality.

Camouflaging to deceit lenders most of the times boomerangs.

Sunil Gandhi

‘Not For Profit’ ways are the NEW Marketing

I was early for the meeting the other day so I opted to spend time at Starbucks Store. With the Kindle app installed in my mobile, I read the ebook for an hour. Neither anyone asked me what I would buy to justify my occupying their chair there, nor there was any compulsion to buy anything. Like me, I was not alone, there were a few more like me completely engrossed in their mobile phones.

Michael Sterner of Social Media Examiner in his book ‘Launch’ writes;

“Don’t think people are targets for the sale….. rather than focus on people who are buying your products and services, shift your attention to people you want to help… If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”

This is the future. ‘For Profit’ enterprises have to change their ways of doing business. They will have to employ ‘Not for Profit’ way of doing the business.  Rather than having only sells focus, enterprises of today are focused on helping their customers. Non Profit route is the route to earn the profit.

“Companies with higher sense of purpose outperform by 400%.’’

From Zappos.com website.

Free selfless help will bring more customers to the business. Hospitals need to focus on preventive healthcare awareness program for the benefit of people at large. Real Estate companies need to educate people about precautions while buying a home or precaution while selecting the developer for the redevelopment project. Restaurants and hotels need to offer free culinary classes to the people in the nearby vicinity. LinkedIn is a free service. Even without their premium services, LinkedIn is extremely useful service for the professionals.

When I launched my previous two eBooks, it was free for an initial 3 to 5 days. Not only me but most ebooks are available for free as a part of Amazon’s book promo package.

What is this free economics?

Educate, allow free entry, allow free usage, help them with your knowledge and relax. Free service users and customers would get converted to paid customers and paid to premium customers. This is applicable to LinkedIn as well as to the Starbucks and may be to every business. But most are not used to help customers and therefore no free business.  But it is a good business. Free ebook means more downloads, more downloads means more reader reviews and more reviews means more buyers even when the book is not available for free.

There is a whole book titled ‘The Starbucks Experience’ which is about how Starbucks is doing business and how many of their customers are managing their work life from Starbucks stores. The book is also talking about how Starbucks store is engaging with surrounding communities. All these have nothing to do with their CSR activities, but it is their way of doing FOR PROFIT business.

Every business has to help their potential customers for free in order to earn profit. Yes, we are in a strange economy. Yes, this is a strange sharing economy where companies focus on helping customers and customers help fellow customers in deciding to choose their service providers with their user reviews.

The author of the book ‘Looptail’, Bruce Poon Tip, aptly puts this;

“…. Social enterprise to me is about solving standard business problems with solutions that address social issues like environmental sustainability and economic inequality. That idea started a non-profit world, but more and more, you see it creeping into the for-profit world because the consumer is demanding it.

The customer doesn’t want to purchase something randomly; they want to know where that product is coming from and to identify with that brand. They want to know why they should purchase it and why they should purchase it from you. They want to understand what that brand and the people behind it stand for.”

Though the bottom – line remains the same, approach and route of doing the business has changed. We now don’t need a separate CSR team or activities or funds, it has to go hand in hand with the business objectives. Helping customers genuinely in solving their problem by charging for some solutions and not charging for others is the real CSR and new marketing.

People don’t trust enterprise communication and monologue, but they believe in fellow customers. Therefore, talk less and focus on helping and serving customers.

Remember:

“If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”

Sunil Gandhi

Product & Service is dead

If an enterprise wants to fulfil the customers need with ease and delight, enterprises should know what the need is, what will add to ease while fulfilling the need and what will be icing on the cake i.e. delight.

Customers take a journey to fulfil his need. For example, if we look at the journey of a home buyer;

1) First, he will look for the project, either in the newspaper or on the website.

2) Then he will call the company or call center,

3) Thereafter he will book his visit appointment,

4) Then he actually visits the site,

5) He meets a sales person there,

6) He will see show flat,

7) Asks about the surrounding area and location,

8) Inquire about price and possession schedule and leaves.

This was a journey of a potential buyer. Now when the potential buyer becomes a buyer his journey would be;

1) Family visits to the site

2) Paying booking advance at the builder’s office

3) Stamp duty, registration payment

4) Home Loan application

5) During the construction period, a few site visits

6) Reminders from builders for instalment payments

7) Final possession

8) Go online on social media sites to share the experience

Broadly, this is the journey home buyers undertake while buying a home.

Now if a company wants to improve customer experience, breaking down of this entire customer journey is very important. For every industry knowing customer journey are very critical aspects to better customer experience.

Customer Journey maps – Example – Patient ExperiencePatient Journey Map

(Source – Bridgeable)

Starbucks measure their in-store customer journey in about twenty steps. They measure store location and appearance to store toilet cleanliness and everything in between like queue at cash counter to welcome by staff to a decor of the store.

When the company is working on to better their customer experience, the weakest link can not only spoils the entire experience but even can negate the sales altogether or repeat purchase. Imagine a shabby toilet in an otherwise good restaurant. Though we do not go to restaurant for toilet experience, but that experience matters. Imagine a builder site with a signboard and potential buyers could find it with great difficulty. His buying interest will almost die by the time he is in front of sales executive.

Similarly, in an online world which is the omni-channel world, customers seldom travel in a straight line. He visits a website then he will move to call center for an inquiry, then he will move to social media for customer reviews and then he may call someone for a home visit. Every customer not only will take a different a journey but entry and exit points are also not certain.

Why to map customer journeys?

The simple answer, in order to improve the customer experience, knows how customer not only moves on a buying map but what he feels along with it.

Journey mapping will make the enterprises aware that there is a form to be filled before the emergency patient is admitted to the hospital. This will bring to the light how doctor talks with the patients impact customer experience, this will even enlighten the enterprise that patient discharge procedure is too lengthy and there is a need to engage the patient and their relatives during that time. This will make the hospitals and banks and for that matter every enterprise knows how irritating or emotionally draining experience they are providing to their customers.

Customer Journey Mapping can help the companies in;

1) Knowing existing touch points and experience in each of the touch points.

2) It can give end to end view of the customer movement which can help in,

3) Improve the experience by reducing the pain points and enhancing the need fulfillment mechanism with ease and possible delight

4) Most important the entire organisation which is usually divided into silos, becomes aware about the customer journey and experience how their action or inaction impact the experience.

Journey maps can even help an enterprise in knowing people, process, channel, operation, technology involved at each step of the journey.

Focusing only on features of an insurance policy is not enough. How it is sold, agent sales training – soft skills and product knowledge, claim settlement procedures, call center experience, clarity of policy documents everything counts.

How to map a customer experience journey

1) Decide the major journeys

2) Apply existing knowledge and get additional info/research to map the journeys

3) Map the existing journey. Moments of truth, pain points, customers thinking and feeling at each touch point. REMEMBER: Emotional experience is very important to map to improve the wholesome customer experience.

4) Map it with what the journey/touch points is expected to achieve

5) Identify area of improvements

6) Define future ideal journey maps from the existing journey insights

7) Develop a plan (short-term, medium term and long term) to execute the ideal journey maps.

Customer Experience is a competitive advantage, today, winning brands owes their success not just for the quality and value of what they sell, but by the superiority of the journeys they create.

Yes, customer journey in its entirety is the product. Entrepreneurs have to expand their view of the products and services in the experience and sharing world we are in. Product and service design entails designing of customer experience and customer journey designs are core to customer experience design.

Imagine, chef and cook are making excellent food, but the restaurant where it is served, location where it is located, approach road, the soft skills of waiters, interior design, menu, home delivery service everything is pathetic and not designed keeping customers need, ease and delight in mind. Mere food quality will fail to make the enterprise successful.

Do you have your customer journey maps in front of you?

More about customer experience in the book The Bread is moving.   

Sunil Gandhi

Brand, Real Estate Developers and NASSCOM

What a real estate developer wants?

  1. Deals – Land, Redevelopment, Joint Venture, Joint Development
  2. Money – Institutional/Bank Debt, Public Equity, Private Debt, Private Equity
  3. Customers – Buy, Leases

What is the single most important thing which will bring all the three to a developer?

BRAND

Brand

Advantage:

  • Better bargaining power with suppliers – land owners, societies or contractors
  • Better bargaining power for cost of funding and ROI to investors
  • Higher pricing capability

Buy cheap and sell costly is possible when a BRAND does business. This is why a brand commands a premium. Be it real estate or any other business.

Even a brand can attract the best of talents.

But branding is not what it is usually believed it to be.

Brand means:

Fair & transparent dealing, a commitment backed by trust, following financial prudence, delivery as committed, no hidden shocks or cost and help when needed even after sales is complete. Employees going out of the way to solve customer problems.

The brand is not a company logo and stationery, it has nothing to do with brand ambassador, posh office the company operates from, uniform company employee wears or event the company sponsors.

Any activity done by a company merely to sale will not create the brand, but every activity the company does to help existing and potential customers will create the brand.

“Don’t think people are targets for the sale….. rather than focus on people who are buying your products and services, shift your attention to people you want to help… If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”

(Source book: ‘Launch’ by Michael Stelzner)

Brand means company culture reflected from every aspect of the enterprise. Branding does not need an advertising agency, it needs a customer passionate CEO.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com is the living example of what a passionate CEO can and should do. He is now on a life mission to spread happiness across the globe. He believes that,

“Companies with higher sense of purpose outperform by 400%.’’

Real Estate developers observed one day strike in protest of suicide by one of the prominent developers in Thane. They blame and perhaps rightly so the delay by Govt. in building permissions and existence of huge corruption.

Agreed.

However, as a representative body what is the role of industry association? I have never seen MCHI doing any good work to either build the good image of the industry or coming out with a best business practice policy for their members. They have a grievance cell, but no public information on how many complaints and against whom the complaints have been received and what action have been taken.

Builders today are known for delay in project delivery, unethical & corrupt business practices, no transparency in square feet, they sell to the buyers, not offering conveyance as per statutory requirements, selling the project before all approvals are in place, lack of customer focus or sensitivity, over borrowing, lack of financial prudence, increase in NPAs and many more brand destroying practices.

Members conduct destroy the brand of the industry that too when no action is taken against the errant members.

Isn’t it the duty of the industry association to;

  • Build good perception about the industry,
  • Help & educate members in adopting best practice,
  • Educate home/office buyers about how to deal with their members to safeguard own interest (SEBI’s investor education programs is the clue)

All the above initiatives will greatly enhance the image not of the MCHI but of the entire industry.

However, we see MCHI active Only and only during property exhibitions as if their only focus is helping their members to sell.

Building brand is the joint responsibility of the both – an enterprise for the self and its industry association for the industry it represents.

Indian IT Industry is US $ 14 bn in 2015 while Indian real Estate Industry was at US $ 93 bn in 2014 and is expected to reach US $ 180 by by 2020.

The size of both these industries is significant. But look at the website of MCHI and NASSCOM. Though MCHi is not representing all India real estate developers, but when MCHI is at this level what we can expect from other cities and housing associations in the country?

Web sites are the indications of roles both industry associations are playing in promoting and creating an image for the industry.

“ Nasscom played a significant role in establishing a brand image for India in global software services market.”  Prof  Subhash Bhatnagar of IIM-A writes in his paper India’s Software Industry.

Regular seminars, conferences, knowledge repositories, magazine, setting up of business standards and practices, disciplinary action, etc etc many things an industry association can do and should do in promoting the industry and parallelly uplifting the members to the best business practice standards.

Real Estate entrepreneurs and industry associations should introspect what ails their industry. What should have been done and not done? Reimagine your business practices, reimagine your brand building exercises, reimagine the role of industry associations.

NASSCOM is the perfect example to follow if this significant industry wants to grow with dignity.

At the cost of repetition, member and industry associations both must read and act on the following wisdom.

“Don’t think people are targets for the sale….. rather than focus on people who are buying your products and services, shift your attention to people you want to help… If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”

(Source book: ‘Launch’ by Michael Stelzner)

Sunil Gandhi