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An interesting example of how a ticklish situation was turned into an opportunity to impress and gain business advantage.

Udaivilas Oberoi

From HBR March/April 2017:

M.S. Oberoi and the front-line obsession

Successful founders understand the economics of customer loyalty. In their early days they know every customer by name. Keeping that up becomes impossible as they grow, but nevertheless they remain obsessed with making sure that someone is looking out for every customer at all times.

Few business leaders have developed this attention to the front line as effectively as M.S. Oberoi, the founder of the Oberoi Group, a chain of luxury hotels in India. Oberoi obsessed about every detail in his hotels that might affect the customer experience. Even in his eighties he kept visiting his hotels to make sure employees were getting everything right, and in doing so he established a culture by which all employees shared in his obsession.

Poornima Bhambal, the assistant manager of the front office at the Oberoi Udaivilas, in Udaipur, described for us the company’s empowerment program, which encourages all employees to do what it takes to delight customers and even gives them access to small amounts of money in order to do so. “We love to surprise and delight guests with little gifts and niceties,” Bhambal said, “and the empowerment program allows this to happen.”

One example, related to us by Vikram Oberoi, a grandson of M.S. Oberoi who now serves as the group’s CEO, was what happened when the staff at one hotel discovered that an American family occupying two rooms was taking all the toiletries — twice a day. This seemed a bit much to the housekeeping staff, and the manager’s first instinct was to go to the family and politely point out that they probably had enough toiletries.

But instead, says Oberoi, after some coaching, “He created a basket of soaps and shampoos and oils used at the hotel’s spa, and wrote a note that was signed by the housekeeping staff. The note said, ‘We notice you like our toiletries and wanted to give you a supply you can take home and share with friends.’ The family loved this. They wrote us after, saying that we were the most fantastic hotel and that they would tell all their friends to visit. That’s a wonderful business result from the investment of a box of lotions!”

Image of Oberoi Udaivilas from theholidayindia.com

You’re Not Alone!

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Source: Buzzfeed.com

 

From Inc. (lightly edited):

Walmart Just Created a Side Hustle for Its 1 Million Employees

By Chad Perry, Senior Sales Leader 
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These days, you’ll be hard pressed to find an individual who isn’t working a side gig or side hustle.

In the old days, it was paper routes and second jobs. Today, many side hustlers aspire to be the next internet star or consulting guru. But most are simply looking to make an extra buck or two.

Don’t believe me?

Look around your company and you’re sure to find more than one individual hustling on the side. And that’s from the front lines all the way to the executive suite.

In a brilliant move, Walmart just tapped into the “make money on the side” desire of its employees.

The Walmart Associate Delivery Program

In a Walmart blog post Thursday, Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce, announced the testing of an associate delivery concept.

The model is pretty simple: Associates are able to opt in to deliver groceries on their way home from work.

Associates can choose how many packages to deliver, along with the size and weight, and also which days they want to deliver.

(Some sources report that Walmart will limit the number of associate deliveries to 10 a day. The remaining deliveries will be handled by carriers like UPS and FedEx.)

Walmart then uses technology to match deliveries and associates. The technology will never take an associate too far out of their way home.

Here’s why the move is brilliant.

The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Walmart was once considered the unbeatable juggernaut, gobbling up anything in its path. Today, Amazon has grown to two times the size of Walmart, and threatens to devour it.

Amazon has built a delivery network of over 40 cargo jets, truck fleets, drivers, and, in the not-too-distant future, drones. Many have speculated that this network will be the downfall of Walmart.

But, in one single action, Walmart tapped into the latent needs of more than a million employees, and now has a home delivery force to rival that of Amazon. For little to no extra cost (certainly less than Amazon spent).

The Lesson of Latent Employee Needs

Walmart knows that many of its employees are no doubt working side hustles. We all have employees and co-workers who are doing the exact same thing.

Why not keep it in the family? Why not build greater employee loyalty and improve the customer experience (because your employees are more loyal)?

Why not make the side hustle an on-the-way-home hustle? Why not be both the employer and the side hustle?

And that is the brilliant lesson we can learn from Walmart: There are latent needs in every employee. Tap into them, and you’ll find yourself with an increase in bandwidth, productivity, and skill-sets.

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Source: Inc.com

From Seth Godin:

” 

And we just had a winner

The local market has a sign that says, “There was a $500 Lotto winner here…”

A cursory knowledge of statistics will help you see that this doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make it more likely or less likely that they’ll have a winner today or even tomorrow.

And yet…

And yet sales go up after a big win. And to veer to the tragic, when a friend is struck with a serious disease, we’re more likely to go to the doctor.

Because proximity is truth.

The truth of experience, the truth of immediacy, the truth of it might just happen to me.

That’s why the media has been such a powerful force, because it brings the distant much closer.

And why small communities of interest and connection are still the dominant force in our culture. Because people like us, do things like this.

This throws up interesting possibilities and directions for designing online experiences,

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Design Thought

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Human Error

An interesting story from James Lawther:

…During the second world war over 60 million people were killed.  That was roughly 3% of the world-wide population.  It was a hazardous time.

Among the hardest hit were the bomber crews.  The Eighth Air Force suffered half of all the U.S. Air Force’s casualties.  The British fared as badly.  The chances of surviving the war as a member of the RAF’s bomber command were only marginally better than even.

If flying bombing raids wasn’t dangerous enough, landing when you returned home was also fraught with danger.  Pilots of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress had a series of runway crashes, accidentally retracting the landing gear when they touched down.

…Accident investigators blamed these incidents on pilot (or human) error.  There was no obvious mechanical failure.

It wasn’t only Flying Fortresses that had the problem.  There were stories of pilots of P-17 Thunderbolts and B-25 Mitchells making the same mistake.

Nobody would deliberately retract the landing gear when they were still hurtling across the tarmac.  Why the pilots did so was anybody’s guess.  Perhaps the pilot’s attention wandered when they realized they were almost home.

…The authorities asked Alphonse Chapanis,  a military psychologist to explain the behavior.  He noticed that the accidents only happened to certain planes and not others.  There were thousands of C-47 transport planes buzzing about.  Their pilots never suffered from such fatal inattention.

After inspecting the cockpits of the different planes the cause became clear.  On B-17s the controls for the flaps and undercarriage were next to one another.  They also had the same style of handle.   Pilots who retracted the undercarriage when the wheels were on the ground were actually trying to retract the flaps. They just pulled the wrong lever.

In the C-47 the two controls were very different and positioned apart from each other.

The solution: Once he identified the cause Chapanis developed an equally simple solution.  Circular rubber disks were stuck to the levers for the undercarriage and triangles were stuck to the levers for the flaps.  When a pilot touched the rubber, he felt the difference and the crashes stopped…The pilots were well aware of which lever to pull.  It was “human error” that caused the mistake.  But laying the blame on the pilots wasn’t ever going to solve that.

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We all make mistakes.  It is in our nature.  Don’t fight it, fix it.

 

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The original post – unfortunately no way to reblog – may be read here.

Design Thought

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