One of my recent experiences.
A few days ago, I was at the pharmacy/chemist, my Family Warrant holder for years now.
Stacks of baby-food tins, packs of sanitary napkins and crates of bottled water reduced the customer space to a single file in the small shop. The short guy spotted me patiently waiting behind a lady unhurriedly examining the label on a diet kakra pack. He is one of the guys – there are two or three of them – filling my orders regularly over the last three years. I shouted out my usual order for insulin cartridges and some OTC items. He pulled them out one by one from the fridge, shelves and cabinets and piled them up on the counter, punctuating regularly with a ‘What else, Sir?’
I wasn’t sure if he remembered. Disregarding the awkwardness, I asked him for the Senior Citizen’s discount on the bill. Transaction completed, I stepped out.
Gone for a few minutes on my next errand, I remembered. I returned to the pharmacy, got the attention of the short guy.
‘Hey, you did not give me needles for the insulin pens.’
‘Sir, I asked you ‘What else?’ and you didn’t tell me,’ he looked hurt at my unfair accusation.
He didn’t suspect I would need the needles to get the insulin into my blood.
If this is my pharmacy, it is the same with the appliances store where we’ve bought for last 25 years and all other businesses we transact with. My government does even better – it needs me to have my ration card (used more for identity proof than for buying provisions through government shops at subsidized rates), PAN card for income-tax, Election Card for voting, Know-Your-Customer for some financial transactions and of course, passport for travel, not to mention telephone bills, electricity bills, cooking-gas bills, rent receipts, etc., etc. for identity/residence proof. I’m sure I’ve overlooked a few.
On my part, I’ve been remiss of one thing – on my next visit, I’ll find out the name of the short guy.
While on the subject, there is an interesting post from Bernadette Jiwa’s blog at thestoryoftelling.com that succinctly captures the essence of personalized service – her posts are always short, easy-to-read and jogs one’s mind. Note she is talking about organization consciously basing its entire service model on what it knows about its customer – it’s a lot more than customizing web pages on browsing history or profile data entered/collected or even CRM.
Credits: thestoryoftelling.com and hahastop.com