Infinite Scrolling

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Customer experience: a people and technology milieu

As a customer we are being served more by technology than by people than ever before.

We are experiencing this in every form of service that we receive.

In the mid 1980s on arrival in UK from India for a one year stay, it became evident how technology was easing our lives.

The India of that time was moving towards better technology, but had some catching up to do. Since then much has changed and India has now caught up and even moved ahead in some areas. But things were different in the mid 1980s.

The technology advantage of services being provided to a consumer in UK was evident.
A reflection of the gap between a developed economy and a developing one.

We had carried travelers cheques. Credit cards were yet to become commonly available in India. In England we for the first time started using a bank debit card and discovered the convenience of withdrawing money at any hour from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

Those days in India for withdrawing money one would go to the bank and hand in  a cheque and receive a 'token' in return. This was a metal disc with a number on it. The cheque would travel by hand to the teller who would give us the money when our token number got displayed on the token display.

The change from being served by a person to being served by a machine made a huge difference.

The machine worked all hours.

There was a limit set on the amount of money which could be withdrawn in a day. On one occasion when money was needed on a weekend I remember driving down to the ATM late at night. Withdrawing 50 pounds and then waiting for the date to change and withdrawing another 50 pounds.The machine was there to serve. It solved my problem!

A trip in the London Underground was another experience. We now have a world class Metro in Delhi. But in the mid 1980s having been used to buses as public transport in Delhi going to London and using the Underground was a big change. The convenience of it was simply amazing.

 As India became one of the important centers of the Information Technology age we saw a sea change in how we interact with our banks.

From the 'hand over cheque and wait' times we have come to the age where almost everything is being done online. Going to the bank has become considerably infrequent. The smartphone keeps you posted on the latest information of your transactions.

On a recent trip to Europe we found that it appears that the Indian banking seems to be easier on the customer than even in developed countries.

However, when you do have to go to a bank in India you have differing experiences from bank to bank. Here the people, technology milieu comes to the fore.

Technology is at the core of the service one experiences. The user experience on the banks website. The ease with which one can navigate and transact. Such things matter a lot.

However, the people at the bank make a difference as well. The bank which comes across as the best is where people are helpful to the costumer.

For this the training and team spirit of the staff in the bank tips the scale.

On the other hand if the technology of a bank is clunky and not easy to use by the bank staff and by the costumer both the bank staff and the customer tend to get frustrated with it. This in turn effects the ability of the bank staff to serve the customer.

A bank which is not very careful in ensuring that there is responsive feedback process in place to improve the technology is sure to lose costumers.

Technology will keep on doing what ever it is designed to do. A bad design and ill trained staff will drive away customers. A good and evolving technology solution along with a trained and adept staff is sure to attract and retain accounts and customers.

The quality of the service we receive is a result of the people, technology milieu.

Also see my blog posts:
We live in a world of apps
Freelancing portals and the evolving work market
The Co-worker: the changing nature of work
Customer experience: a people and technology milieu
The way we learn, study, recruit or apply for jobs: it is all changing
Digital markets: when the computers decide
Window to the world: digital access as an enabler
From paper to pixels: how technology is empowering the way we invest.
Navigation then and now: how technology has changed the way we navigate.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The future is here: metro ride from Gurgaon to Old Delhi

Metro Station in Old Delhi with Street Scene Murals
I grew up in Delhi, or rather New Delhi. How much the city has changed and how much it has remained the same. Many things in the city have changed and taken huge leaps forward while others have meandered along in the most leisurely of ways.

The other day we traveled from Gurgaon, which is a new city abutting Delhi's southern side, to Old Delhi. Just a decade or so back the only way to have done this trip was by car or by a cab. Now we have the option of taking the metro.

Traveling by road has not changed much. Of course we now have an expressway which takes you to Delhi. But the number of cars on the road has gone up faster than the space on the expressway. So driving all the way to Old Delhi still remains somewhat of  a challenge. Finding a parking space at the other end still remains as seemingly impossible as it always was.

On the surface things have drifted along and not much has changed. Old Delhi is still much like it was. Traffic as chaotic as ever. Some times almost as if stuck in the past.

But the future is here, not on the surface, it is underground. For just INR 40 which is less than a dollar, you get to ride in a world class metro coach built on a world class metro track, with trains running every few minutes, like clockwork. The gleaming coaches of the metro whisk you in exact time to your destination. It is a different world.

So travel to Delhi and see how much of time coexists.

Also see: Getting around: freedom of a commute.

Tenets I followed: Facts not opinion