Tag Archives: CRM

How Does a Customer Perceive Value – A Case Study

Allied Technologies is a manufacturer of Special Purpose Machine (SPM) and friction welding machines in Bangalore. The company had received an order to manufacture tablet filling machines from one of its clients. Servo drives is an important sub-assembly for this application. Being an SPM, the company had invited a market leader called MACK servo ( name changed) along with a medium sized company called Leonardo Automation. In the morning session, after the client gave a presentation about the SPM dimensions and application, the senior managers of MACK Servo started pitching in their products. The MD was a bit perturbed as he could sense the sales pitch. He was expecting the vendors to provide a solution rather than pitch a product.MACK Senior managers changed the approach sensing  the client discomfort.

Mr. Anil Purohit, the Director from Leonardo is a person known for his technical expertise. Rather than speaking about his servo products; he started speaking about the machine design and the relevance of the number of units needed in the SPM as suggested by the design team ( of the client) At one point of time Anil even  suggested the client that the same result can be achieved by using less number of servo drives. The design team was quite apprehensive as the vendor was challenging the former’s competence.. However the client MD gave  a patient listening to Anil’s proposal.. The meeting with both the vendors was over prior to lunch.The team from MACK were thanked profusely for their efforts. Anil was asked to wait.

After lunch the MD called for another round of  meeting with the mechanical design team where Anil was also invited. The team listened to his novel idea of bringing down the machine cost by innovative design. A decision was taken where Leonardo was considered as a sole vendor and the order was placed on it. The price of Leonardo Servo was higher vis-à-vis MACK. However the overall cost was lower due to an innovative design approach.

This was achieved due to the technical expertise of Anil about his product but also for value he brought for the client’s  machine design.

Quite often salespeople feel price is the main factor in today’s business environment. However it has more to do with your technical expertise and what value your bring to the customer. Can the salespersons change their paradigm from price to cost of ownership?

Rajan Parulekar, rajan@paradigm-info.com

Who Says customer is the King?

It was a chilly December afternoon in Bangalore. We were at the Commercial Street in Bangalore. By around 2 pm when the shopping was over, we decided to have meals. On either sides of the road, there were MNC joints, one a McDonalds and the other KFC. To save the hassle of crossing the road, we got into KFC. The menu displayed on the wall was a series of combination of chicken pieces, French fries, Pepsi. Called as mini meals, value- add meals, combo meals with various  permutations & combinations, Pepsi was a common factor among all. It was quite dreadful to have Pepsi where the glass is topped with more than 50% ice on a chilly afternoon.

After considerable efforts, we were able to figure out a possibility of ordering a La-carte. Getting drinking water by default is out of question in an MNC joint. It affects the sale of Pepsi and Coke.  After finishing the meals, we requested for water. What was served after a long delay was the ice-cold version.  It was quite a struggle drinking such cold water on a chilly afternoon. We had to drink it sip-by-sip like  hot tea.

I go to a normal Darshini, Udipi restaurant. The waiter is not trained like the ones in the MNCs. Without being asked, he serves you drinking water and then you can order a dosa or an idly with coffee/tea. Why does training makes life difficult for customers?

Another example: I drove my car in a Shell petrol bunk. To avoid taken for a ride by the attendant, one  needs to be a Zen master and get into the present –moment awareness. The conversation goes as follows:

Attendant: Shall I fill  the tank with super petrol? (Remember, it is a closed question and it is easy to answer yes. The Super petrol is expensive by Rs 10 per litre vis-à-vis the normal petrol, the guy does not take the trouble to tell you this fact.)

I: ( with a calm disposition)  Please fill in the normal petrol.( You cannot afford to mumble NO as he can claim he heard it as Yes.)Attendant: Shall I top-up the tank?

I: Please fill only for Rs. 1000.                                                                                                                                                             Having missed his target twice, he makes a last feeble attempt.

Attendant: Can I help you with routine checkup like Oil check and coolant check?

I: how much will you charge?

Attendant: No, its free.

I: wonderful, please go ahead.

Attendant: (He opens the bonnet, takes out the oil indicator slider) The oil level is low. Your engine will seize anytime and it will damage the engine if you do not fill oil now.

I: How much will it cost?                                                                                                                                                                Attendant: Rs. 785/-

I: thanks for your advice.                                                                                                                                                                             I drive out after paying for the petrol. Last three weeks my car is still working fine.                                                                         Executives from KFC or Shell go through rigorous training vis-à-vis their Indian counterparts in Kamat/Shanbhag hotels or Indian Oil/Hindustan Petroleum .

Who says the customer is king but a hapless victim ( if gullible enough) who can be conned at the drop of hat?