IntroductionWe have had several products and services, across many Indian industries, that have really delighted the customer and has brought in repeat customers. The "Made in India" tag is never an inferior concept anymore. After the advent of economic reforms, where only the fittest will survive, the Quality revolution has really caught on, and the huge Indian Saga of customer delight has caught on. In this article, particular reference is made to customer delight in a) hotels and restaurants b) consumer products c) financial services including banks d) bus and train services e) schools and colleges and f) miscellaneous services.
Customer delight in hotels and restaurantsThe ITC group and the Tata group, in particular have literally cornered a huge percentage of market share in the Five Star hotel segment. In the city of Bangalore, for example there is a superb garden hotel, where the trees are part of the building itself. This innovation is a treat to watch and experience. This has caught the imagination and happiness of hundreds of foreign tourists who wish to stay only in this ITC Welcome group hotel. The imprint of Customer delight is complete.This is exactly what we mean by customer delight.
In the simplest of terms, this will mean doing something unique to occupy a huge mind space in the minds of millions of customers. The word of mouth publicity, based on personal experience brings in new customers. This keeps the cash registers ringing.
In Chennai, the ITC Chola is a hugely successful hotel as it is near the Airport and is built to perfection. It has become a big hit for hundreds of conferences and seminars as well.
In restaurants, the likes of Saravana Bhavan in Chennai, MTR in Bangalore, and hundreds of specialized Biriyani outlets in Hyderabad, have made a big name for themselves as they have standardized so many practices to offer great value for money and to really get across to hundreds of thousands of customers. For example, the party orders for Saravana Bhavan is a highly specialized division by itself. They have ventured into so many foreign countries, offering the same menu everywhere. Similarly the MTR group has such a huge memory recall, that no single visitor to Bangalore can never miss. Even a casual query with an auto fellow will take the customer to this famous restaurant.
When one wants the best rasagulla in the country, there is none to beat the famous K.C. Das of Kolkatta. If we want specialized variety of a huge amount of sweets, the names of the superb Grand Sweets and snacks and the imitable Adayar Ananda Bhavan, both from Chennai will automatically come to mind. These are brands that have gone far beyond in delighting the customer.
Customer delight in productsAny customer will feel delighted when he or she uses the sunfeast brand of biscuits. This Indian company gives the market leader Britannia a run for its money, as it has a product to match the service offering of Britannia in every single segment -- premium or no premium. At the lower end, the Tiger brand from Britannia is a huge hit in rural markets. Even products such as Bovonto, a soft drink from the company called Kali Mark, in Tamil Nadu is a huge hit with a niche product of its own. Ditto for the likes of Cavinkare and Jyothi Laboratories that have products that have taken the might of Unilever Limited. However Hamam soap is a huge market leader, with his health positioning.
The customer has never had it so good. There are likes of Dabur and Himalaya, that have a huge portfolio of Ayurvedha products that are very good indeed. Its customer delight of a tall order.
Customer delight in financial services including banksHave you heard of a non-banking financial company, delighting hundreds of thousands of customers with its unique world class services, and a fixed deposit portfolio that exceeds two thousand crores? Over to Sundaram Finance from the famous TVS family of South India. The interest for FDs gets faithfully credited into the sb accounts of all customers. Even a single phone call is enough to register any complaint about bad customer service. This never happens though.
The likes of Karur Vysya Bank have a huge jewel loan portfolio, since their customer service is very fast. Youngsters dominate the show. They provide the loan in under twenty minutes vis-a-vis ninety minutes at the likes of State Bank of India and the Indian Bank. This irritates customers who flock to KVB. Their Managers visit the houses of customers. Even a small but fast growing bank like the City Union Bank follow the same strategy as the jewel loan business is one hundred percent safe.
Customer delight in bus and train servicesEvery single customer, including this author, would love to criticize the Indian Railways for shoddy service. The on-time service of trains is still horrible. Yet, of late, the Railways are making some good efforts. The wifi services at major stations is very good. The Shatabdhi and the Rajdhani Express trains are well maintained. The food is quite good too. In specific stations like the prestigious Coimbatore Railway junction, there are a number of welcome developments and the so-called "model station" initiatives are worth appreciating. There is some customer delight now.
Cut to KPN,the largest single private sector bus service in India. With a fleet of over five hundred buses, touching and serving so many towns of Southern India, this service also has a very good sleeper service and its buses are maintained well. There was a nasty accident some years ago, when all passengers except one, died. The driver escaped. However, since then, the safety has been given huge importance and there has not been a single accident. Competitors like Rathi Meena have copied KPN, but the sheer size of the latter, keeps it going far ahead of competitors. Similarly the State Transport buses run by the Government of Karnataka are simply superb and maintained well too. The Garuda buses of AP Government are very good too. There is positively quite a bit of customer service.
Customer delight in schools and collegesSt. Xaviers Mumbai and Kolkatta, and Loyola of Chennai. MCC of Chennai. St. Stephen's of New Delhi. Mount Carmel of Bangalore. The Christ University of Bangalore. SRM and the VIT Universities. All these are formidable brand names, built over a period of decades. It is not for nothing that these are trusted brands, offering world-class education. Most of them have tie-ups with world-class institutions abroad for higher education. Their placement records are superb.
How did this customer delight happen? Because of investment and reinvestment. Lovely gardens, lovely atmosphere to study. Lovely environments where the teachers care for students. Where teaching is not merely academic. Where any number of students make it to the Civil Services every year. This is the stuff that these superb institutions are made of. The CBSE schools belonging to the DAV, and DPS, brand names, across India, are similar in teaching methods. The Padma Seshadri and the Chinmayaya group, with a presence in so many cities, and the SBOA group, have also added to the customer delight in no meagre measure.
Customer delight in miscellaneous servicesWhen South Indians visit New Delhi and wish to go around, they go to one address called Paniker Travels. This service organization has been around for decades. They specialize in conducted tours and provide safety and security as well. Their A to Z packages are very good. They have a branch at Chennai and it is possible to easily do bookings.
Even matrimonial services like Sai Shankara of Chennai and Tamilmatrimony.com are superb examples of customer delight. The A to Z marriages has huge brand names like Iyer and Co of Bangalore and Subham Ganesan of Chennai. In every field, there is customer delight. There is always some value addition.
The way the likes of Big Bazaar are making efforts to delight customers is a big case study in itself. The discount model positively works in India. However, what really matters is the kind of confidence that the major retailer reposes in the minds of the average Indian customer. It pays that lesser known brands like Nilgris are now part of Big Bazaar, which is a truly national, pan-India brand of repute.
ConclusionThe aforesaid examples are merely indicative. The unsung heroes like the hundreds of thousands of kirana shop owners, whose unique selling proposition is only customer delight of a tall order, need a mention too. The ball has been set rolling for more than couple of decades now. The real battles are fought in the market place. This trend will continue and we will see a huge number of new players also entering every single product offering, across industries. The service sector will also see numerous formidable competitors. The customer will gain in both the short run and the long run as well.
It is very true that in many areas some of the service providers are really providing a value added quality service and some of the customers might be surprised on such a positive development.
The author has mentioned many of such examples. I will also like to add one from Govt sector and that is the IT department computer mammoth in Bangalore. The improvement in their services is phenomenal and deserves praise. The quick assessment and refund are the order of the day. Many tax payers will agree to this positive change.
So the technology is also helping the service providers to a great extent. I hope with the digitization of land records, criminal histories and things like that we will have better efficiency in the Govt sector also.
In nutshell, the future of customer satisfaction of services in our country is going to be brighter.
It is a fact that customer delight is the foremost important factor for any business or service. If there are no customers there is no existence for the business. They are the part parcel of our business.
The author has made a good attempt to bring in many such examples and I 100% agree with the examples he has brought out.
In East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, Kakinada is a city and one of the smart cities that are being developed. In that city, there is a good restaurant called Subbiah Gari Hotel. The reception and the hospitality they show in this restaurant is second to none. The way they make us eat is tremendous. Even in our house, we may not get that treatment. By the time we complete our meals there, we will be overfilled and we feel delighted. The suppliers in the restaurant are so trained that they never show any disrespect towards any customer. Recently they started their branch in Hyderabad and the response from the public is more than expected. The cost of the meals is very reasonable. I think it will also become like Saravana Bhavan of Tamil Nadu in AP and Telangana. People who are familiar with this hotel will agree with my opinion I feel.
The article brought out by the author gives an insight into how business in the different segments can flourish stretching to non-banking sectors to successful restaurants like Saravana. The author has touched upon the successful assignments in almost all industries. The narrations are encouraging and an innovative approach is essential to emerge successfully.
A business requires a lot of perquisites to be implemented and to name a few - an analytical approach taking into consideration all the issues promoting the business, farsightedness, resourcefulness and after all paying heed to the customer's complaint are essential.
Tata group started the steel plant in 1929 at Jamshedpur with a modest scale but due to his sheer vision of Jamshedjee Tata, this group has been successful in numerous industries such as TATA motors.TCS, TELCO etc. Dedication in the business is equally important to be a successful market - leader.