Business, Culture and Entrepreneurship

Friday, April 25, 2008

Excellent service should seem trivial - a SpiceJet story

This evening I had one of those AHA customer service experiences. I had flown into Bangalore from Chennai on SpiceJet's afternoon flight. Even as I was headed home in a cab from the airport, I realized that I had left my (simple ruled 200 page) notebook in the pocket of the seat in front of me. I pulled my boarding pass, which amazingly had the customer service numbers (both toll free and regular) on it and in a noisy call from my cell had a customer service request put in. Before I got home, I got a call from the airline (from their local person I suspect) to whom the trouble ticket had been assigned. She called me to say that they'd expect to get back to me within the next 24 hours. At this point I was happy to have just remembered where I had left my notebook and having called it in. Their acknowledging my call was just icing. So I figured.

However within the next two hours I had six calls from them. Six - that's right, six (missed) calls from SpiceJet's customer service department - spread over a 15 minute period. And once I got home, I saw that they had emailed me a copy of my formal complaint with the relevant trouble ticket info. And having been unable to reach me on my mobile, they had sent a separate email, informing me that they had found my notebook and it now awaited me (armed with the boarding pass and a photo ID) to be picked up. Wow! What a feeling it was and I am practically glowing still (in the dark as I write this) from that experience of nearly eight hours ago. And to think I had picked SpiceJet (the second time this week) for my flight primarily due to their value pricing - for those not familiar with crowded Indian skies they aspire to be the Southwest or Ryan Air of India, especially with the leader in that space Deccan now moving upscale after their acquisition by Kingfisher Airlines. Such service on the phone, on-line and in person was unbelievable - Good work, SpiceJet!

All this, when I had only spent a grand total of Rs 2350 ($55) at SpiceJet, contrasted with my experience two weeks ago of trying to get a spanking new (2-day old) Nikon that had stopped working, fixed. But that's a whole another story. This experience certainly showed how some training, committed service providers and simple follow through can make excellent service seem trivial.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Delivering on your promise

From my ninth article in the Start-up Logic entrepreneurship series in the Hindu BusinessLine

Every business sets out with a single premise and in the case of successful entrepreneurial firms this usually is a simple premise. If your business promises to deliver ‘hassle free online bill payment’ or to ‘keep all your contact information current automatically’, it keeps everyone in your company focused on what needs to be done. As an entrepreneur, you discover that just as you manage to get your ducks lined up, growth sneaks up on you scattering things once again.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Keeping the cash flowing

From my eighth article in the Start-up Logic entrepreneurship series in the Hindu BusinessLine

For a business to be viable, money is important. Most of us understand this intuitively and deal with it constantly in our own personal lives. Yet, as runaway individual credit card debt or a cash squeeze in a large company and the occasional sovereign currency crunch demonstrate, it is not difficult to lose sight of where the money goes. Even as capital and sales revenues supply money for your business, inward and outward cash flow management is critical for survival. If you don’t track and control the cash flow in your business, you may not keep your doors open too long, unless, as in the case of Chrysler, an elected government bails you out. It makes better business strategy to understand and manage your cash flow rather than rely on the government to help you with it. Read the rest here.