The PJ (poor joke) above might no longer remain a PJ if banana peel is replaced by a typical problematic situation one encounters in daily routine. The question remains unanswered then: Why do some people find it difficult to act beyond cure? They do think 'Prevention is The Best Cure' though! I was no different from them! But now my journey is gathering speed, hopefully in the direction that the blog is supposed to drive towards. Checkout my other blogs and work at

Friday, 10 May 2013

Listen to iceberg of VOC to acquire customers

Having traveled over 500-Kilometers in a bus-to-hell, I requested to "book my return-journey on a bus-service that follows road-safety (especially overtaking) norms, doesn't honk horn excessively, nor does overuse brakes."

There was no other alternative mode of transport that was convenient since the day a debt-ridden airliner stopped operating Mumbai-Hubli sector.

The travel agent gave me a funny look as if he was booking a ticket for an alien.

Not his fault because he was used to conventional requests like "timeliness, cleanliness, bus-with-video", etc. But an idiosyncratic like me had to do the nasty job of giving customer feedback by trying for unusual requests although sure of no cognizance of it. 

I am optimistic that someone sometime will. I think every customer who isn't, deserves if he gets shoddy quality!

Anyway, whether a customer complains or not, I don't know why owner/managers of tourist buses don't prevent their bus-drivers from overdoing honking, speeding-up, braking on-and-oft, etc. Drivers, usually bus-drivers, are constantly in a mood to kiss each and every other speeding vehicle in it's vicinity.

Perhaps only on Indian roads buses offer it's passengers a feeling of being a continuously-rattling grain-in-a-sieve. One has to master the art of Napolean-nap (quick nap on horse) to be able to take one between two sets of honking and braking.

Forget feedback or lodging a complaint, hardly anyone even dares to voice such abnormal driving behavior. Surely not if traveling in the same bus for the fear of the boss-drver.

Some companies do have a mechanism to capture such voice-of-customer (VOC). Because they know that although sounding like 'idiosyncratic' casual remarks, they are just a tip of the iceberg of complaints.

Some of them are sensible and sensitive enough to take next step that of digging into the iceberg to take corrective and preventive actions treating such voices as 'complaints'.

But having taken actions, how many look at the resulting improved practices as an advantage. How many build upon them and bring them out as specifications alongwith that of their 'core-offering'. How many communicate them (through their marketing promotion programme) in order to differentiate their services from that of the competition.

Those who do, do score over their competition.

What steps do they take?

1/ They make their staff aware that only 4-out-of-100 dissatisfied customers complain. Rest just quit without-telling while so-called satisfied customers live with abnormalities (if they have restricted alternative-options).

2/ They install various mechanisms such as follows to capture VOC.

- They actually travel like a ghost-customer in order to learn by observing
abnormal as well as good practices, if any.
- They train their staff to speak and/or 'actively-listen' to customer like a mother does with a one-year young (not necessarily crying) child to dig into unspoken-unmet needs as well as wants.

3/ They put Kaizen-improvements in place on VOC observations, abnormal as well as good practices, and unspoken-unmet needs as well as wants.

4/ They train and re-train all their stakeholders on all the steps above for their effective implementation.

Actually specifications such as timeliness, cleanliness, video, etc. are a given 'Must-Quality' norms.

Additionally it is the satisfaction of VOC: unspoken-unmet needs as well as wants (that's why it is called as 'Quality-that-Delights' the customer) that has power to expand customer and business base (Ansoff-Matrix) by not only helping to bring out new products/services but also to pull in additional customers (affinity towards brand) while retaining the existing ones on existing products/services (loyalty towards brand).

Of course, effectively communicating the resultant differentiations among all it's stakeholders is part and parcel of the process.

Very few companies actually administer such a conducive mechanism by-design. Imagine the scope to benefit from it in terms of top-line sales and bottom-line profits if they do so.

Also read a few relevant blogposts hereunder: Please do consider leaving a comment or sharing this post.

1 comment:

  1. Other day while travelling back to Thane from Dhule someone booked ticket for me saying he got a better deal meaning saving rupees 30/= in spite of the bus being brand new. The bus was new with a support for lower-legs, etc. Actually, this was a typical price-cutting strategy. But it came at some cost: the bus took additional stops to 'pick-up' extra passengers who occupied driver's cabin as well as the aisle. Aisle-lights were left 'ON' almost 50% time of the entire journey. So the cost was disturbed sleep. Saving that was not asked for was rs 30/= What is the cost to benefit ratio? This is the Psudo-Value refereed above.