A MINDLESS POST: BEING A CONSUMER, internet,consumer feedback & business

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I had been thinking about this for a while…..a wide range of thoughts have run in my mind on a 1000m race probably at 1000 km/h speed on what I should actually blog about. I’ve thought about reality shows, my favourite being dance as usual….there’s so much I got to say about being a consumer and probably to the companies….right from starting Ayesha again, to continuing with the imagination world, to my new service idea, or my maddening idea that came to me when I was trying to concentrate on the rural marketing…!!

Ok….time to put down my my red hat(emotional brain work…)….as this part of my post was supposed to be short……………..well I am always proven to contradict, right!

Ok,. Coming to the point(I know you are gasping ….FINALLY)……I guess I’ll talk about being a consumer….with the variety of choices we have these days, and the no. of brands….the eternal lessening of product differentiation, when everything just appears to be the same….and the marketing channels management classes that kept on stressing on how zero intermediaries could reduce all the cost!....As our professor kept stressing to buy something from ebay or amazon(just for the heck of it,….to know the process and all)….I did visit the sites, but I haven’t bought anything as yet….

Suddenly I’d this feeling….(I have it often)…..that I was the one left out, only I didn’t know….it was there all the time(CHILL,…I KNEW about both amazon and ebay)
……..i mean other sites…..just as we keep reading that companies are entering the no brick no mortar world….ie: the click world of cyberspace…somehow the obvious ideas of googling our regular brands had skipped my tubelight mind….like titan,…..I love my raga…..and as the site opened, it was surprisingly,…..beautiful….and the rhyme…..the titan trademark…the jingle……made me feel belonged……(I’d never even realized prior to this act, that I LOVED the jingle SO much)But unfortunately, it said, shopping cart would be added soon, which meant I couldn’t buy anything directly as of now…:(

Similar jingle that has clicked with me would be RAYMOND….”Come and see…” with Manish jumping like anything….the entire ad was just awesome(By the way….that ad’s frequency has reduced or am I just the one not seeing it?)....Sad that I couldn’t buy them…..but I’d nearly forced a friend of mine to buy some shirts!!(Woman power!!!we even MAKE them shop!!;)
Actually the whole feel of the ad was amazing.As Raymond was all decided to create a brand new positioning in the youth mind, from being just a traditionally complete man, to being more adaptable, funky, stylish, yet gentleman like….from the Rajkapoor styled suits,the umbrella….to the hip-hop look,with the backdrop of the amazing jingle…”come and see”……(It’s weird that whatever I’ve written,just now is purely brand recall,I’ve not read anything on it, right now,and it has been a LONG time since I’ve seen it again…)

The jingle was actually pretty blunt….like telling to come, come see see……like buy my product!!!.....and for Raymond to do that!!BUT the genuinely AMAZING music behind the lyrics made even the blunt thing work, I believe.And their site looked good too.

Coming back to my topic of consumer perception of the offering and the company’s feedback policy and e-sales….some companies really work wonders by listening to the customer….
And why shouldn’t they?After all they are the ones paying for it!!(I mean, I wouldn’t bear someone not listening to me!!I would not only boycott it, but even launch my little satyagraha on net, blog, fb…you name it,..i’ll do it!!Yes, I can be mean….;))

That reminds me ICICI Prudential Life insurance has not yet replied,after its automatic reply that had promised detailed response,…..despite my wailing mail after a horrible experience at their site.ARGHHH

Now for good boy companies…..blogger!!Yes, it was really sweet when blogger listened to me!!Long back I was highly irritated as I wanted to blog on blogger, but there were not many graphics.The amazingly pale,and lackluster templates, sucked out all the emotions out of me…One fine day I decided to speak up,raise my voice for what I need…..as I got tempted by seeing blogger feedback service.I explained how colors,customization,graphics,designs,pictures,fonts and styling…can be SOOO IMPORTANT to us.,…
And guess what blogger LISTENED!!!!Cant tell you how happy I was to see the new template designer…I customized to my style,with every little bit of change….and finally the capstone was FONTS….the lovely webfonts…..I’d mentioned in my feedback that we need handwriting fonts, so that it looks more personal and diary like…..and so they had homemade apple….there are others also….That was customer delight(not because that was something super value added they’d offered, but because,……..I didn’t have any hope of further changes…..and you know when customer expectation is so less perceived value is even more!!!But no complaints….der se sahi aakhir finally suney to…...i love you blogger team!!!
I’d tried wordpress too….they say it has better templates, but this customized picture designer template from blogger just has no comparison.It even lets me adjust width and lessen the side bar(Although I’d appreciate a li’l more;))So, I am customer loyal now…to blogger..:)

Another move to internet that I’d appreciated a lot,mobile recharging….its a boon for people who cannot go to recharge(for laziness and otherwise)……and vodafone’s site looked great too,….and I’d the idea that I could choose a plan from a different state and take the benefit of it,although its not available here.I was a happy new Vodafone customer…..(yes you noticed it, WAS)I resent it now, (but not as much as I hate airtel for the torture it has done to me)
Reason why my excitement for Vodafone has died out is the sudden removal of sms pack(Ok, they didn’t actually remove it, they made it 5 per sms,even though we pay the same amount that was earlier giving us free sms!!! (Currently “is your service provider also cheating on you” ….tagline of virgin is coming to my mind,…..that’s one smart tag, with a great ad theme by the way)

Vodafone did cheat us by charging for something that was earlier free….(and not offering the service I had wanted…less money,…less service…but more validity…..like Rs12….5000sms…..but same one month,I could pay if the validity was increased….the last thing you want is suddenly realizing that your sms are being charged 1rupee reach cuz your sms pack expired!!!so its validity that is more important!!)

But the mastermind,the king of all is Airtel ofcourse,….it kept charging me for things I’d never asked for or even clicked by mistake….no hellotunes nothing(yes, I am a good soul….very good at that;))
Can you believe it actually charged for customercare??           (I couldn’t!!)
The way airtel tortured us for the documents….(we’d all the documents submitted, pan card & all, everything,….now if you loser, lost it, its NOT OUR FAULT,…..n suddenly you say you’ll cut the service….we go running to your place, you give us a form, send us back for photos,we come home, drive again,you send us to another store,they say this form wont work, again we fill the form,………..gosh!!!

I saw people swarming like anything, each cursing Airtel with whatever they had….(That day I wished I knew how to curse!!....any slang would have been less though!!!)That day was a remarkable day,I swore I would never use airtel again and I didn’t!!!....well I know my little voice is nothing against the giant, but atleast am not part of the crime(blame me for having bad experience…..but that is what shapes a customer’s opinion.,….”experience…..even after I stopped using I had 29 rupees  that evaporated god knows how…..(even though cell was switched off!!)….and when I felt I really had to thank airtel for this remarkable act(I have deliberately used all forces to stop myself from giving baddua)…and guess what even to demand why they charged me for nothing,,….even to enquire ……wait for a longggg time(as it usually happened,…..each time, & still then never find an executive or find one in once a blue moon,…& they wouldn’t even get one in hindi or English….and finally they tell me they would charge me for it(me….who has already been pirated for the meager 29 she hadL….)

Now, with mobile number portability I am thinking of switching to Idea and Docomo(Yes, the aggressive promotions of Abhisekh Bachhan are really working….especially the “no idea get idea”……gold digger line…I tell you!!!...clever brain who ever thought of it!!!Docomos 10 paisa seems good too.But what about the zero paisa Videocon?is it a reality…??how will they earn their profits then??Their ad could have captured me,had they explained, the million dollar qsn…HOW can you afford to charge nothing & yet stay in business??
Brand personality of voda was really good,all that red and the dog, one really wished to stay attached to it,but as it has also started airtel’s confusion based pricing model,I’ll change, I guess.

Another smart one liner(like that of idea….) is of icici…..”Oh, I see…..”…and the credible personality holder amitabh bachhan to say “no, icici”….(guess, they made out clever lines for both father & son;)
I can understand why Big B is chosen, for his reliability, the persona he has, the respect he demands(I’m not a fan, btw)

But, Abhisekh Bachhan, junior BigB for Idea,is the best choice they could have, may be especially after his role in Paa, where he plays a politician who tries his best to change India for the better,by setting standards…and innovation….Aggressive promotions by Idea positioning as better than its competitiors in nearly everything, is making it very visible.(I recently got to know its from Aditya Birla Group…..blame for me being an ignorant marketing student!!)

I completely lost my original topic,right?hehe………..I am yet to see all, but I’d try to find sites of nearly everything I buy.
I saw jewellery sites cashing on the internet thing, Tanishq, Geetanjali….even self design ones…that let the customer create the design by assembling various parts…But as sites develop and brighten up, they should keep the space for feedback wide open!!! Not just open, they should actually go through customer feedback and work on it. It’s high time to understand what the customers really want…and when they are ready to yell about what they want, please don’t turn a deaf ear!!

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