Today I would like to talk about this book “I came upon a lighthouse” by Shantanu Naidu.
Actually, this is my second learning from this book.
He is the assistant to Mr. Ratan Tata.
This is the story about how because of his passion of preventing stray dogs being hit by moving vehicles, he wanted to help the dogs
He had created a kind of reflecting collar.
His hobby or passion got publicity in and around Pune.
And subsequently somebody suggested & he wrote to Ratan Tata.
He got an appointment to meet him.
Because as you know, Ratan Tata is also a lover of dogs.
But the learning which I want to share is how Ratan Tata made a promise and kept it.
Shantanu, his friends and his dad (who is also a Tata employee) go to meet Ratan Tata.
At the end of the meeting, Ratan Tata tells Shantanu’s father, don’t worry, I will take care of your son.
Now if you and I were to, going to meet Ratan Tata or any such senior famous personality, when somebody says like him says “don’t worry, I will take care of your son”, you don’t know what to take from that.
Is it a casual conversation?
Does it mean anything? And you can’t even “remind” him !
But if you read this book, you will understand how Ratan Tata actually takes care of Shantanu and his passion & his career.
He helps him in this Motopaws which was the passion that he was doing.
How he helps him in during his studies at an University in USA.
How he offers him a job back.
Which shows how Ratan Tata really takes Shantanu under his wings.
All because he made a promise.
You can say it’s a comment.
A promise to Shantanu’s father.
How does it relate to our retailing business?
Yes, I want to relate that back to retail business.
In this series, I am trying to relate learnings from this book into our retailing business.
In our retailing business, our sales staff are the face of the brand.
They are the face of your brand.
They are the face of your store.
There are 2-3 things which are commonly being thrown about by the staff.
- You ask the salesperson for a particular item which is not available, he or she will typically say it’s sold out or the supplies have stopped because of low sales !.
If you insist and ask him when the next stock will come, he will say it will be available in 2-3 days.
If you read between these lines, you can immediately make out these are not promises that are being made to keep.
If you go back after 2-3 days probably it will not have come.
Many times, I have given my phone number on my own and asked the sales staff to call me once the product has come.
That call never comes.
- The other critical thing is what we call as customer orders.
These are custom-made products meant for a particular event in the customer’s life.
Many times products won’t be ready on time or it won’t be as per the requirement.
The minor attention to details will be missing.
The sales person should understand what is the effort and times it takes for the customization.
The backend team should know the salesperson’s promise to the customer.
In all these situations, when product is not as expected, you as the owner may not be even aware of the trauma that the salesperson goes through when the customer has come into the showroom looking for that piece on that promised date.
If the product is not up to the mark and customer loses her cool and it becomes an unpleasant situation.
You may even be aware, but you are not in the line of fire because one of sales people is handling an angry customer.
It’s not a simple task to resolve.
Learning: What are the implications on your business?
One thing is sure, if you messed a particular order, the chances or the customer coming back to you for repeat purchase go down.
He will share his complaint with not one or two, but with everyone on his social media! Even for a Taxi ride, you are actually giving the rider a 1 or 2 star, if you are not happy about it. Imagine, if a wedding suit or a jewellery was unfit for the wedding?
So the learning from here is to take these special orders seriously and keep the promise.
The other things is you can’t be running in an emergency mode, day in and day out.
My request to you is, take care of these issues and improve your processes & procedures.
If you need any help, we are there for you. Hum hai na! to help you become a well-organised retailer.
Share your own experiences here !