The threat of leaving negative reviews

28 June 2014 at 8:16 am | No Comments
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One of the biggest consumer enabler in our lifetimes is the ability for customers to leave feedback about a shop/restaurant/service/business. This feedback or review can be positive or negative. But whatever form it takes, it is public and available to everyone.

Customer service improves not just because of the fear of getting a negative review but because the business owner/manager has the ability to HEAR from customers in a process driven manner and make changes based on this feedback. And this is free to the business.

Bottomline: It’s awesome for everyone involved.

One of the ugly aspects of this lies in the threats being given to business owners about “do this or I’ll leave a negative feedback”. Sure, only a minuscule percentage of the small percentage of feedback-leaving customers would use this threat tactic. But this is a loud bunch.

One of the problems I’ve seen is that this is a feel-good threat to the consumer irrespective of the business solving their problem or not.

For example, lets say there was a service deficiency (delayed shipment, incorrect item, etc).
Now, the business may be doing it’s very best to fix customer problems through normal channels like support email or call center.

The customer who threatens with a “fix this or else negative review” still gets the benefit of customer service solving his/her problem in the same way that a customer who did not threaten.

However, upon getting the solution, the customer sits back in his echo-chamber and thinks “wow, this threat actually worked for me” and only reinforces this into more and more aggressive future threats. They don’t recognize that maybe their problem could be solved without having had to threaten.

Sure, if the first level support response was not proper, you can always escalate. But there are too many customers who start off their first interaction with a threat. Thats just negative! (pun intended)

Is there a valid solution? How do you defuse this reaction?

Other than making it clear to the customer to “give us time to solve this before you write a review” there is little else a business owner can do.

What do you think?



The wild-west of India: Bangalore

15 June 2014 at 12:38 am | No Comments
Personal, Ideas/Work | Tags:

So I’ve come to realize why we see so many hate/negative posts about Bangalore on various social media websites.

Some thoughts:

1) We are more wired and net-savvy as a city. Lots of residents of Bangalore are online for longer hours of the day. And so they vent on these sites before venting in person at a dinner table.

2) We have a greater % of population that is *new* to the city … meaning not born here, not done schooling here. People who have been a resident for under 10 years. This has actually been the case with Bangalore for too long and frankly, this is what makes Bangalore the awesome city it is. So the number of new-residents complaining is higher just because the number of new-residents themselves are higher.

3) More of these people (from #2 above) are from smaller, no-future-here type of towns… and they compare those idyllic dead-end lives to the hustle of a growing city. Cannot help it. It’s a fact.
Bangalore *is* cooler than the dead-end town you came from. You did book a one-way ticket when you moved here, right?!

4) Bangalore does not have it’s aggressive culture/heritage protector politicians like what SS/MNS does for Mumbai (thank god, I know) so people feel free to vent out publicly more often.

5) Most Bangaloreans don’t give a rats-ass about negative people. We recognize that the economic, cultural & social growth of the city is possible only with fresh infusion of talent and we’ve got to take the good, bad and ugly as a set. Cannot pick and choose.

6) The percentage of people who vote for a life in Bangalore by, you know, actually moving to Bangalore, is huge and the majority of them don’t bitch and complain. And we appreciate you for this.

Bangalore is to India what the Wild-West was to america during the 1800’s.¬† Fortunes are made in months not decades. Just give it a generation or two and we’ll be settled in nice and comfortably!

I’m sure I missed/mis-thought/incorrectly-mentioned many things. Please do clarify in your comments.

Melting pot of India, FTW!



The Rupee is falling against global currencies - and why shouldn’t it?

2 September 2013 at 7:04 am | No Comments
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If you are an Indian, or know an Indian or read newspapers from India, there is a good chance you have read about the great Indian rupee meltdown of 2013.

I know I’ve personally (my gadgets cost more) and professionally (my company needs to import hardware) been affected by the free-falling value of the Indian rupee against most global currencies (atleast the ones that matter to a buyer - the USD, GBP and Euro).

Lots of pundits have their opinions of why is it falling, how to stop the fall, why to let it fall and even how it is a political problem.

My take on this subject?
Well, why shouldn’t it fall?
I mean, currency fluctuations are a global phenomenon and based on various factors. The simplest of those factors are “supply and demand”.

The Indian rupee is not in as much demand as the dollar is.
1) India needs dollars to buy it’s oil, electronics and other equipment. It has no control over the dollars in it’s pocket. It needs to buy these dollars. Lots of them.
2) India has enough rupees and can print more if it needs. But no other country needs “rupees” as badly or in as large quantities are India needs dollars.

If this supply-demand ratio changes, we could be having a different conversation at that time. For now, nothing will help the rupee’s slide because the infrastructure to manufacture more stuff that other countries need and are willing to give India more $$$’s does not exist.



Going to the Mattresses - RFID Manufacturing

22 December 2012 at 12:45 am | No Comments
My Work | Tags:

Recently, our customer got featured in ComputerWorld magazine for their excellent of RFID technology to prevent unauthorized dealers selling their Sleepwell brand mattresses.

Check out the full article on our RFID blog



Mjunction is a terrible joke

12 September 2012 at 2:44 am | No Comments
Techy, Nuisance | Tags:

So I’ve recently had to put in a bid for a Govt. tender for one of the projects we are bidding for and found out that the potential-customer company is using the bidding platform designed by mjunction (buyjunction.in)

They expect me to downgrade my Java from JRE 7 to JRE 6 because my version is “too new”. I would have not bothered normally except that their own website says “6.x or higher”

For a company that claims to be India’s largest e-commerce company, mjunction surely has terrible development chops. And don’t even get me started on their overall website design. What the hell is this? 1999?



How to sell: FUD or the truth?

11 January 2012 at 8:52 am | No Comments
My Work, Nuisance, Ideas/Work | Tags:

Recently, I came across a potential customer who was being sold RFID by a competitor.

Usually, this is a good sign. This means that the customer is serious about RFID and is already in a “ready” state of mind.

However, when talking with the client, he started using phrases such as IP68 protection, etc, etc. Now, usually, IP (Ingress Protection) shows how much environmental damage a piece of equipment should survive through (dust and water damage).

Context: This client required RFID readers put by the road-side in a relatively dry part of the country.

An IP level of 64 should do. Maybe IP 65 if you are really paranoid.

The customer was being pitched IP68 by the other guys with stories of how to protect the investment for the long term, etc, etc, blah, blah.

What does this mean? Higher protection means more money on the project without any real parallel benefit to the client.

__________________

This shows a different way of selling = The FUD (Fear - Uncertainty - Doubt).

It works very well too. Everyone wants to Cover-their-ass and let the boss know that they got the “best there was”.

I don’t have experience with this and don’t believe this is how customers should be sold. But I see this happening all the time.

Too early to tell, but we’ll see how this specific project closes and who gets to win. For now, all I can do is educate the customer and give them the information to make the right decision.



Apple has users locked in with iOS apps? Yawn!

21 August 2011 at 4:18 am | No Comments
Techy, Nuisance, Ideas/Work | Tags:

Every tech blog worth it’s digital bytes seems to talk ad nauseum about how the iTunes Store has locked in users with the app purchases and hence it will be difficult for people to move from iPhones/iPads to competing devices.

Well, if that is the way you frame an argument, you know who has the biggest, most geographically spread-out and oldest app lock-in in existance? Microsoft.

Sure, people are buying 20+ million ipads each year and that is a great thing, no doubt.

But I believe the so called 1% of the blogosphere or twitterati need to look outside their closed shell!

Every single ipad sold is an added device to an existing PC infrastructure. Again, don’t compare graphic/audio/video artists/kids/excited-gadget freaks to the actual business users who buy thousands of desktops each year)

There is lock-in with accounting apps, with custom software (some even still using Foxpro apps), with manufacturing/erp/crm tools, with calibration apps.

The apple store majority caters to the entertainment set. Not the at-work set. Sure that can change over time. As will other things.

But trying to cry out “post-PC” era today is like looking at aircrafts and crying out “we don’t need roads anymore”. It’s just not logical given the timeline, given the context and given the real-world needs.

For every person with $500 to spend on an iPad, there are a 100 people who will wait all night in line for a $10 phone or a $100 Cheap-o-top.

For all their BS in “writing about companies that looking at the big-picture”, the tech journalists forget to look at the big picture themselves. The big picture with a few billion users.
I’ve owned a tablet since 2005. Before that my first ever laptop was a thinkpad without a CD drive back in 2001, seeing the demise of optical media and proliferation of broadband. So I can look a little ahead of the curve too. And I don’t need to be a superstar tech-writer for that.



RFID Blog

27 May 2011 at 8:04 am | No Comments
General, My Work, Techy, Ideas/Work | Tags:

We’ve started a new blog specifically discussing some popular and upcoming whitepapers and case studies of RFID solutions from around the world. Occasionally, we also write about specific hardware or other products.

If you are interested in the RFID Active/Passive, AIDC or† SmartCard market, you would like to follow the rfid blog.

Let me know what you like or would like to add/change?

Should we focus more on India specific solutions or talk more about popular global deployments?

Should we write more about hardware or middleware or case studies?



Laziness manifesting through consumption

5 April 2011 at 12:10 am | No Comments
Personal, Ideas/Work | Tags:

I always believed that I was more of a producer than a consumer. I generated ideas, thoughts and discussions rather than meekly follow them in other people’s blogs, news articles or facebook walls.

However, over the last few months, I have noticed my laziness manifest itself in the form of my becoming a consumer of content vs. an active producer.

I read more blog posts (through an RSS reader) per minute than I write per month.
I simply “like” more facebook photos/posts per hour than I write per week. Even adding a text comment would somehow make me a part-producer. But no, I am simply happy with single-clicking “like”.

It makes life just so much easier! Adding to the crowd/mob’s flow.

Disruption in any form, even through becoming an active producer of content is so bloody damn hard when I am lazy.
Hope this isn’t a long term phase.



Educating the uneducated about recycling

13 March 2011 at 3:23 am | No Comments
General, Ideas/Work, Frugal | Tags:

There is something we have always done at our house for as long as I can remember.

My mom ensures that we save old newspapers, bottles, plastic bags, etc and that they are sold to the “raddi-wala” (it is a nice article, read it) at the end of each month. The total cash is then given directly to the maid/cook/house-help.

This does two major things:
1) The amount from this isn’t anything much for us, but it helps the people who work for us as a mini-bonus each month.
2) Because they know they will directly benefit from all the recyclable stuff, it is in their best interest to make the extra effort and separate the plastic, glass and paper and ensure it is properly sent to the raddi-wala. Simple incentivising.
I am sure many of us in India can share similar stories. Just goes to show, sometimes, what works in the west doesn’t work here. And what works here, may not make any sense there. But the goal is the same.




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