I happened to meet up with a foreign national this week to discuss business. He was a fairly well experienced global executive. He had travelled the globe, lived across countries, run businesses in various continents and worked across borders. He had some strong views about Indians and i thought it was kind of important for us to know about what people outside of India think of us as business men. Clarification: This is the view towards us as professionals in the business context only.
He said “Indians are very bright and intelligent but, i have some fundamental qualms too.”
He went on to list:
1. Indians don’t stick to commitments.
2. Indians have no respect for the other man’s time.
3. Indians really don’t have any value for their own words.
4. Indians find it very difficult to say sorry even when they have made a mistake.
5. Indians give excuses all the time.
Apart from all the complaints above and some others there was one thing which struck me very hard – Indian businesses expect customers to adjust to the company’s offerings, not the other way around! Surprised at this? Initially i thought i should have been – but why?
Look at the way we get treated as customers – I am sure we all have stories to tell about our service providers that are not even remotely funny. There are very few companies that even think they need to listen / acknowledge / service customers. Most of them are happy to live with dissatisfied customers. Be it telecom, education, banks or anything. Because for every service they have not one or two but a billion people queued up.
Though i will agree that we are transitioning towards a more customer sensitive economy, we are far away from true customer satisfaction – when many business leaders talk ardently about customer delight. But if we want to become more global as a nation, it is time we become empathetic to the professional requirements at the receiving end too. Especially if one is vying for customers in more developed economy – we need to change and redefine our parameters and principles around customer service. ‘Jugad’ that we are so proud of here – is not appreciated elsewhere! What worked for your domestic customers here is NOT going to work there! It is time we accept and action this out!
Thought it was important to share this with aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, because prevention is better than cure – isn’t it?