When technology replaces human touch!

albert-einstein-fear-technology-surpass-human-interaction-generation-idiots

Prologue: I am writing this article given the recent mishap which I had with online buying of products with one of the leading online retailers. Those who read that post will also know which one I am talking about. I am glad that they have picked up the products and have refunded us for the same. But while in process with current business model and some more, I felt that power of technology & internet is a boon but it needs to be balanced with human touch. What I am thinking today, the Genius (Albert Einstein) thought ages back!

 

When technology replaces human touch!

  • How many times has it happened that while making payments due to server issues money gets deducted from your account but it doesn’t show with any of the parties involved?
  • How many times after buying a product from retailer you kept on getting juggled between brand you bought and the retailer from where you bought it for post sales issues?
  • How many times have we felt super frustrated with IVRs as they don’t suggest the required options?
  • How many times you just lost it, when you have been kept on perpetual holds and keep getting transferred from one personnel to another for a simple complaint or query of yours?
  • How many times does the call center guy says “Sorry Sir/ Ma’am, it is not possible”?
  • How many times while taking the flights did you feel that the airhostess is wearing a fake smile?

Well, I had such experiences once or more than once with reputed as well as growing brands. So, what is the common theme here?

Over dependence on technology & processes orientation than customer centricity!

Let’s take the issues one by one and see what could have been done to avoid grievance or resolution of grievances

Issue 1: Too many party’s involved:

  • How many times has it happened that while making payments due to server issues payment has got deducted and it doesn’t show with any of the parties involved?
  • How many times after buying a product from retailer you kept on getting juggled between brand you bought and the retailer from where you bought it?

A classical case when on a virtual platform too many parties are involved in a payment system or purchase of a product or service!

In such a case, mismanagement by one of the party results into a bad experience for customers but the one who gets blamed is front ending brand. Examples:

  1. Any of the online market places, they have a limited control over the quality of product/ services sold online. If product turns out to be bad one, we attribute it to the front ending brand.
  2. If we try to make payments via third party payment system or payment gateways and due to server issues the payment is not showing, then we tend to again blame the brand for which we are making the payment.

From end customer point of view, the brands are ought to be the culprit but also from business model perspective too. Because if you have accepted a vendor or a partner; it is your responsibility to ensure that they sell the right products & services or have systems aligned to make payments error free.

Problem arises when none of the involved parties want to take the responsibility of “a rotten apple”. Simply because, it is an era of cut throat competition! Everyone is running after numbers.

If one sale goes wrong probably it doesn’t hit balance sheet of a company too much. But if they don’t rectify the issue; it creates ripple effects via “Bad word of mouth” being spread around.

What should the brands do to deal with such issues?: Re – define value chains from customers point of view

If such situations are arising too often, it is time when brands re-look at their value chains; try and find “Pain points” and “Gain points”; mend the gaps & deliver services in a way to create delight for customers.

 

Issue 2: Too much mechanization

  • How many times have we felt super frustrated with IVRs as they don’t suggest the required options?
  • How many times you just lost it, when you have been kept on perpetual holds and keep getting transferred from one personnel to another for a simple complaint or query of yours?

From company’s perspective they are trying to create processes which are replicable without deviations as they would want to give standard experiences to all customers but systems and mechanically trained personnel who front end customers, fail to empathize with customers many times.

What should the brands do to deal with such issues?: Leave an “others” box!

In research, whenever we try to generate any list of reasons which customer can think of; we always feel we have created the most exhaustive list. But in research; the 1st thing you learn is leave an “others” box i.e. if there is anything else which customer wants to share; leave proper spaces for them.

With an overburden on call center; the companies took the options of calling the call centers at the fag end which a new customer or a 1st time buyer would probably miss out and would feel irritated about.

Over process compliance and inability of brands to see an exceptional case leads to too much relaying at the call center.

A good option would be when a customer is on hold while calling Call center, rather than advertising about their brands; educate the customer about your standard terms and conditions, escalation matrices, customer grievance processes. At that time, since he/ she is on hold; they wouldn’t mind listening to something which would come handy the next time

 

Issue 3: Mechanized personnel

  • How many times does the call center guy says “Sorry Sir/ Ma’am, it is not possible”?
  • How many times while taking the flights did you feel that the airhostess is wearing a fake smile?

Standardization of experiences is good but not an overdose of it! Brands train their personnel to be professional but fail to train them on empathy. Hence, the end result is standard dialogue – Sorry!; as their target is to end the call as soon as possible

Airlines specially train air-hostesses to smile but they fail to understand that they too are humans with feelings. They can have a terrible day off work, how are they supposed to smile in that case but they are trained to do so and also expected to do so!

What should the brands do to deal with such issues?: Look out for some customization

Train your personnel well but also train them to empathize and sympathize with customers. Make them go that extra mile which provides customer delight. Also, let them be human and don’t make them mechanized robots (like trained to SMILE! or trained to say SORRY!). Customers can see it through! Don’t think they are fools, it won’t help your brands grow.

What research says?

If brands are able to create delight experiences, research supports that it leads to positive business outcomes like continue to do business, high share of spends, increase business with brands, high recommendation, positive word of mouth. This ultimately leads to positive business results

 

Just to summarize:

Redefine value chains & Mend the gaps!

Educate customer when he has time! But keep the processes simple

Train your personnel to empathize and behave as normal humans

Please share your thoughts and views on this article in comments below. Would be glad to learn from other experiences and understand different view points.

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The products most googled in every country of the world in one crazy map!

http://www.businessinsider.in/The-products-most-googled-in-every-country-of-the-world-in-one-crazy-map/articleshow/47098332.cms

India being searched mostly for price of cows (!!!!) while China for electronics .. Pakistan for weddings (lol) and Sri Lanka for Honeymoon 😀 😀 Really crazyy!!

Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan for price of Camels … while Thailand for prostitutes!! So very crazy!!

Proves my prejudice – stereotype – discrimination theory! DUH!

Indian subcontinent hit by another earthquake – What could be a possible cause?

Hope all friends and family are doing well, hope there is no loss of property.
Now, this specially for those who do not know the causes of earthquake (so this post in layman language!) and are pro – development (at the cost of environment).
Well, we all do remember our geography lessons that earthquake is an effect of cause of internal disturbances, faults etc. BUT

What we probably didn’t study or is rather a recent find is .. there is something called Induced Seismicity

How is Japan earthquake different from Indian subcontinent’s Earthquake?

When an Earthquake hits Japan, it does hit headline but is not such a big surprise as we all know Japanese archipelago has a locational disadvantage (it is located in an area where several & continental plates meet & with continous movements of these plates causes disturbances resulting into both volcanoes & earthquakes). Without going into too much technicalities lets move ahead

Now, why is it such a surprise when Earthquake hits Indian subcontinent, because we don’t have any such locational disadvantage. But we forgot to take into account the RESERVIOR INDUCED SEISMICITY which is nothing but when a large dams which store water for multipurposes create a pressure on earth which leads to internal disturbances causing Earthquakes.

With this, I would like to sum up my article as I promised to keep it as simple as it could be.

Well, I am in a favor of development too but not at the cost of human lives … well it is yet too early to say that this earthquake too has been because of some reservior induced seismicity but the past data records do have a reason for us to belive in it

For further reading

1. Reservoirs are believed to have induced five out of the nine earthquakes on the Indian peninsula in the 1980s which were strong enough to cause damage. 

(Source: http://www.internationalrivers.org/dam%E2%80%93induced-seismicity)

2. Major earthquakes had occurred at four large reservoirs; at Hsinfengkiang in China in 1962, (magnitude 6.1); at Kariba, in Rhodesia in 1963 (magnitude 5.8); at Kremasta in Greece in 1966 (magnitude 6.3); and at Koyna, in India in 1967 (magnitude 6.5)

(Source: http://www.edwardgoldsmith.org/1020/dams-failures-and-earthquakes/ )

What’s the ‘Doha’ style poetry in Hindi movies?

Answer by Juhi Singh:

To begin with, those who don’t know what a Doha is?

Doha: is a form of 2 – 4 liner rythmic poetry; mostly in Hindi and in Urdu as well. Many Hindi poets wrote epics in form of Dohas & Chaupais (another form of poetry); best of its examples are – Tulasidas’s Ramcharitmanas; a popular version created of epic Ramayana. Doha culture was popularized by some of the popular bhakti saints who preached in languages of common (like awadhi & braj) because the vedas & other literatures of ancient time being in sanskrit or prakrit weren’t reaching commons (as some classes like shudras were denied of Sanskritic education) Important Bhakti saints who popularized Dohe were Tulasidas ji, Rahimdas ji, Kabirdas ji, Surdas ji, Jamiluddin aali, etc. Another important fact about Bhakti saints was Hindu & Muslim saints equally wrote praises of krishna, ram & other hindu gods which shows integrity of our culture. To this date, both Hindus and Muslim claim that Kabir Das ji belong to their religion only to forget that he chose to be a person who doesn’t follow religion but follows GOD!

Now back to question, Doha style of poetry in Hindi movies: Surely, I don’t know all but I know few of them.

1. Bade badayi na kare song from Aankhiyo ke Jharokho se: (one of my favorites so I do remember). There is this song featuring Sachin & Ranjeeta in form of a competition. Its a beautiful song showing their fight and then friendship happening 🙂  I am also trying to translate the same so that everyone can enjoy the essence of these dohas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVNgOAS2M00

a. “Bade Badai na Kare, Bade na bole bol;

Rahiman heera kab kate lakh taka mere mol.” (By Rahim das ji)

Translation: Great men don’t boast about their greatness, its only when the occasion comes their greatness is shown; Just like a Diamond which never boasts that its worth millions but when its cut out, everyone knows its worth!

b. “Jo baden ko laghu kahe, nahi Rahim ghati jaye;

Girdhar muralidhar kahe, Kachu dukh manat nahi” (By Rahim das ji)

Translation: Great men aren’t demeaned if they aren’t praised. Lord Krishna who plays his flute, says don’t let anything (small or big) affect peace of your mind

c. “Gyani se kahiye kaha, kahat kabir lajaye;

Andhe aage nachte, kala akarat jaaye” (By Kabir das ji)

Translation: Knowledgeable saints shouldn’t waste their pearls of wisdoms in front of fools, because dancing in front of fools is a sheer waste of one’s knowledge and talent (ALSO expressed as bhais ke aage been bajaye, bhais khadi paguraye i.e. if you play flute in front of buffaloes, they will still grunt)

d. “Aisi bani boliye, man ka aapa khoye;

Auran ko seetal kare, apahun seetal hoye kabira .. apahun seetal hoye” (By Kabir Das ji)

Translation: Speak in such a manner to those who are angry that helps in calming them down rather enraging them further. Do good to others and good will come back to you, give happiness to others and happiness will come back to you

e. “Avatahin harse nahi, nainan nahi saneh;

Tulsi tahan na jaaiye, kanchan barse meh” (By Tulasi das ji)

Translation: All in this world don’t have the power to see love with their eyes, we shouldn’t shower love on such people who don’t see love which falls in form of tears from one’s eyes i.e. shower your love only on people who value it

f. “Bura jo dekhan mai chala, bura na milaya koy;

Jo dil khoja aapna, mujhse bura na koy kabira .. mujhse bura na koy” (By Kabir Das ji)

Translation: I travelled in search of wickedness in this world, but I didn’t find any. When I sat down to see through my own heart, I found all the wickedness was lying there

g. “Bigadi baat bane nahi, lakh karo  kin koye;

Rahiman bigarey doodh ko, mathe na maakhan hoye” (By Rahim das ji)

Translation: If you have used wrong words for others, you can’t take it back; even if you try a million times. If the milk goes sour, you can’t get butter out of it.

h. “Rahiman dhaga prem ka, mat todo chatkai;

Toote se phir na jure, jurei ghath pad jaaye”  (By Rahim das ji)

Translation: Rahim das ji says don’t break the auspicious thread (bond) of love in a moment of rage or for small misunderstandings, if you do so and try to mend it again, the thread can’t be tied again and if its tied it will still have knots. 

P.S. When I was a child and I needed to remember/ write Dohas for my Hindi classes I used to listen to this song again and again and all was sorted

2. Kahat kabir suno bhai Sadho from Dus Numbari:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2Bl7hBTWHw

Well, clearly the song is not in form of Doha but it does take that plot. The lines “Kahat Kabir Suno bhai Sadho” were used while singing Kabir das ji’s dohe as lokgeet i.e. to preach his teachings in form of songs to commons.

3. Dulhan hum le jaayenge – Mandir scene: Ya, rite, even this movie has some dohe 😀

There is a song “Murali Manohar Radhika Kanha” which features Salman in a temple and he sings this song to impress Karishma’s Pandit Mama. After that song, when Pandit mama leaves the two alone, apparently for exchange of heavenly thoughts (gyan ki baaton ka aadan – pradan – as he puts it :P), there is a small dialogue in form of dohe which happens between them.

Salman says “Duniya badi baawari, Pathar pujan jaaye;                        Ghar ki chakki koi na puje, jaako piso hi khaye

Translation: The world is crazy that goes to places to worship stone idols, but none cares about the flour grinder (traditional one which was a must in every Indian household) which helps to fill your family’s belly

Karishma says “Pothi padh – padh jag mua, bhaya na pandit koy                          

Dhai akhar prem ke padhe jo pandit hoy

(QUITE A POPULAR ONE IN HINDI MOVIES) Translation: The world is going crazy reading huge piles of books, no one has still attained that wisdom. But one who understands the meaning of simple word love is the epitome of wisdom P.S. Sorry for bad translation of 1st Doha, couldn’t come up with better one 😀

4. Dhai Akshar prem ke – Movie: Well the movie name has been derived from the above doha but the movie to the best of my memory doen’t have a dailogues related to this Doha.

However, this Doha has been used in many Hindi movies

Well these are to the best of my memory from all the movies I have watched. Please feel free to help me remember more and I will happily add and translate them for you 🙂 Any correction in translation is also welcomed 🙂

What’s the ‘Doha’ style poetry in Hindi movies?

Is there any Indian actresses who shaved their head for any movie or for any personal issues?

Answer by Juhi Singh:

Initially I had just mentioned two, which were to the best of my knowledge but after writing that answer I got to know others from other social media discussions, so updating this answer:

1. Persis Khambatta: Indian model (who was the 1st one probably) for Star Trek

2. Nandita Das: for Water by Deepa Mehta which went into series of trouble (along with Shabana Azmi) But when the film was finally made neither Nandita nor Shabana were a part of it

3. Shabana Azmi: for the same movie Water and she too wasn’t a part of final film

4. Lisa Ray: For Water she went bald and after that she had to cut her hair because of Cancer

5. Seema Biswas: Again for water, she too had to go bald

7. Manisha Koirala: Suffered cancer had to cut her hair for Chemotherapy

Is there any Indian actresses who shaved their head for any movie or for any personal issues?

What might Deepika Padukone have to say for herself considering the flak she is receiving on the internet regarding her “choices”?

Answer by Juhi Singh:

According to me, she’d be saying “That’s a bullseye!”

Well … there’s something called publicity stunt, clearly she’s a pro at that. Keeping in mind her tarnished image over the recent controversies, what could have been a better time to launch another controversy for vogue!

After all any publicity (negative or positive) is a good publicity in glam world.

If any movie is coming for her – this wud help … and if any movie is not coming what wud be a better way to hit the headlines? 😀

Good one Deepika – way to go (“where??” we actually dunno).

P.S. Do u people realize right from Ranbir, Siddharth, Ranveer (Link ups Break ups) -> Cleavage  -> Public Display of emotions (Kisses bfs, Tattoos name, Cries on receiving award from Padukone senior and so on!) comprise of most of the reasons of her hitting the headlines … Has she been in news for doing a good movie apart from Cocktail? Well, I can’t find an answer to that! Ram Leela was more in news for the couples kisses or link ups than anything else!

EDIT: Just gotto know Piku’s on the way 😛
Thanks for A2A

What might Deepika Padukone have to say for herself considering the flak she is receiving on the internet regarding her “choices”?

Sending Whistle-blowers to Their Deaths

Whistle-blowers continue to be murdered even as a law for their protection awaits notification.The death of a 36-year-old Indian Administrative Service officer in Bengaluru and the suspicion that his death was not self-inflicted, has yet again sparked off a debate on the fate of whistle-blowers, Right to Information (RTI) activists, public servants who take on vested interests and witnesses to major crimes in India.

On 11 March, the Supreme Court upheld the life imprisonment awarded to six men for murdering an Indian Oil executive S Manjunath in 2005 because he had obstructed the oil mafia’s doings in Uttar Pradesh. Since 2003, when Satyendra Dubey was murdered in Bihar for exposing corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral Highway building project, India has witnessed several cases of assault and murder of RTI activists and whistle-blowers.

There have been a large number of cases of harassment, physical intimidation and victimisation of those who have stood up to corruption. In a different set of cases, court witnesses are threatened and even murdered to prevent them from testifying against the accused, two witnesses in the rape case against so-called god-man Asaram Bapu were killed within six months of each other. A judge and police inspector have also reportedly received threats since the case began in mid-2014. Against this scenario stands the unenforced Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 while the courts continue to exhort governments to draw up effective witness protection mechanisms.

The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 got presidential assent in May 2014. However, no rules have been formed under the act and more importantly the National Democratic Alliance government has declared that the 2011 act needs amendments on national security and sovereignty considerations, before it can be implemented. As it is, the shortcomings in the legislation which was approved by Parliament in February 2014 have been much debated and written about.

Prime among these shortcomings are the punishment of up to two years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 30,000 for “false and frivolous” complaints and no action on a disclosure if it does indicate the identity of the complainant or public servant, or if the identity is found to be “incorrect.” Further, if the complainant is found to have been involved in the irregularity or illegality, he or she will not have immunity or leniency.

The 2011 act also does not apply to the private sector. Given that there is a nexus between government employees and those from the private sector in almost all major corruption cases, the non-applicability of the law to the private sector is a major lacuna. Many large Indian companies have, however, set up their own whistle-blower protection policies, ironically, fearing exposure through social media should they ignore initial complaints.

The Supreme Court as well as three reports of the Law Commission have all stressed the need for an effective witness protection mechanism in the country. On 10 March 2015, the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to finalise, within six months, a witness protection law that would bring whistle-blowers and activists under its jurisdiction.

The high court was hearing of a suo motu petition regarding the murder of RTI activist Satish Shetty in 2010. Again, media reports recently gave details of an affidavit filed by the Central Vigilance Commission in the Supreme Court showing that in the 3,634 complaints filed with it from 2007 to 2014, only 1,063 were forwarded for action. More tellingly, 244 complaints filed by whistle-blowers of victimisation and intimidation were ignored.

Quite apart from the foot-dragging over enforcing the whistle-blowers protection law, the Indian situation adds complexity to an issue that is a difficult one in any country. No sooner does a whistle-blower expose a major scam involving the powerful, he or she is accused of being a “political tool.”

Then there are the ingrained structural weaknesses in the law enforcement machinery, the regulatory mechanism and the delays in the judicial process. When these major systems which are supposed to deal with crimes and corruption are riddled with major drawbacks, it is but natural to be skeptical that any whistle-blowers protection law can be effectively implemented and witnesses protected from retribution.

ARTICLE SOURCES: EPW, PRS, Parivarthan