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Think before you speak

  1. Make a smart observation and the customer is ready to buy more

Just Books is a private library which has branches spread at many cities across India – being an avid reader I took a membership. I was in trial mode; the thought process being that since one can’t read more than one book at a time why go for anything beyond the Basic Membership, which permitted me to take one book at a time.

The entire process is automated – the customer gets a smart card and each book has a magnetic strip with classification data – Issue and Return of the books are via a user – friendly system which can be operated using a touch-screen. The Security who opens the door for you with a smile is also trained to help customers with the Issue / Return of books.

I finished the first book within a week and went there to pick up the next one. By the way, they also have seats in the library in case you wish to sit there and read.

While I am browsing the Service Executive walked up to me and said – “Hello,Sir! It seems you are a fast reader.”

I asked – “Why do you say that?”

He replies – The book you borrowed last time had more than 400 pages – people usually take more time to finish such a book.”

I silently appreciated his smart observation and smiled.

He said – “Sir, you can reduce the number of trips you make to the library by upgrading to a 2 book membership and because you had opted for the six-month advance payment the additional fee would only be a nominal amount.”

Wow! This guy is good.

I asked – “How much?”

“Rs. 600 only, Sir! And in that Rs. 500 is a refundable deposit … so you are paying just 100 more.”


I said – “Sure! I will go for it.”

He took the money and the card from me and in couple of minutes he returned the card saying – “It’s done, Sir! You can borrow one more book now and the rest of the process remains the same as before.”

As easy as that – he had brought in extra revenue for his business and impressed a customer.

Can you think of ways to do the same in your business; if it’s already being done … CONGRATS!

  1. Make a Smart Alec comment and lose a customer for life

I get into an Inter-city bus that would take me to Bangalore. The ticket was booked online (Redbus website) and payment was made for a seat on a Volvo bus, which is more expensive that the other buses. The bus that arrived did not appear to be a Volvo, at least to my sight – it wasn’t multi-axle like most Volvo buses and the engine sounded different.

Later in the night when the bus made the dinner-halt I walked around the bus and found the Volvo logo at the back but the engine was lot noisier and the sound levels inside the bus too was much higher. It didn’t feel Volvo-ish to me!

I asked the driver, as soon as I stepped in – “Is this a Volvo?”

He replies – “What do you want it to be? If you think it’s a Volvo, it is; if you think it isn’t, it isn’t!”

He didn’t mean it to be a joke – it was said with derision in his voice, like he was chiding an insolent child! He also had that scornful look on his face and turned away without waiting to hear what I asked next.

That I am going to raise a stink about this is pretty obvious because I don’t like being conned, but that comes later. This man’s stupidity had cost his Company a patron for life. He had obviously forgotten to plug-in the “Be Sensible” card into his brain while leaving home.

Coimbatore – based A1 travels will lose a lot of customers if their employees keep responding this way.

If anyone at your workplace behaves this way it would make a lot of sense to apologize to the  customer immediately and rectify the situation – you must also speak with the person concerned and make them aware of the impact of such behaviour.

Words need to be chosen and uttered with care … they have a lasting impact!

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  1. Dr. Goutam Das
    March 27, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Nice observations..

    • JayadevM
      March 28, 2012 at 2:30 am

      Thank you, Goutam.

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