Monday, 28 July 2014

Traveling on the Path of Value Creation (KSS)

In this post I would like to share an article based on my notes taken on another important and useful subject
In the Knowledge sharing session(KSS) on the above subject at our L&D center on 10th May 2012, the speaker Mr R. Ravishankar, of M/s center for Development of Managerial Skills, gave a simple definition of “Value Creation”. He related many stories & instances when value creation came alive for him through the actions of normal simple ordinary people. However their action made extraordinary impact on him as the consumer/ customer.

Value creation means adding some value to the original product or service and making available this enhanced product/service to the ultimate consumer. In other words, it means doing more than the minimum requirement or the basic job description. As for example you leave for office everyday at 6.30 AM. The newspaper is delivered daily at 7 AM & so you get to read it only in the night when you return home. If the newspaper boy knowing your needs, delivers it every day at 5.30 AM, he is creating more value for you. To meet his job requirement it is sufficient if he delivers the paper in the morning. He has added value for you beyond the minimum expectation.

Value creation can also be explained as giving something more than for which you are paid - Giving something more than the expectation. When you create value, you understand the real needs of your customer internal or external and satisfy them.

Mr Ravishankar introduced to the audience some of the value creators he came across in his life:-

Sales Girl in a Department Store

The speaker used to visit a department store near his home. There was a sales girl working in the billing section. She was always enthusiastic & aware about the activities of other areas also including the stock situation  of various products. She took interest to understand the brand preferences of regular customers.  She would inform a customer immediately on arrival “Madam  your  ‘Tajmahal’ Tea which was out of stock has just arrived.” Value creation for the customer from such a sales person is obvious.

Server in a Salem Hotel

The speaker had gone to Salem and was required to eat out for 3 to 4 days in a hotel. On the second day he noticed that there was this server who knew the personal preferences of his customers. As for example he placed the water glass to the left or right of the customer depending on the preference as noted by him. He knew which was the favourite vegetable of individual customers & served them more of the same.

Receptionist in a House construction Company

The speaker had gone to the front office of a House construction Company and was received by the receptionist. She informed that the sales representatives had gone out. The speaker was in a hurry & was reluctant to wait. The receptionist offered to explain the details of the project herself. She took him to the model of the project exhibited on the left & explained all aspects of the project to his satisfaction. He was impressed that a receptionist had kept herself very well informed & asked her how long she was working for the company- she replied that she had joined two days back.

Assistant in a Two wheeler show room

The speaker before visiting the showroom had discussed with a mechanic who advised him that a particular brand of tyre is best suited for two wheelers. When he inspected the vehicle which he otherwise liked, he noted that the tyres were of a different brand. He requested that the tyre be changed to his requirement.

 The salesperson dealing with him simply stated that “Nothing can be done sir. We can sell it only in ‘as is where is’ condition as received from the factory.” His assistant manager also took the same stand & it looked like the sale will fall through. At that time another  assistant who just came in, listened to the problem and gave a detailed account of how the tyre brand & its quality was not a differentiating factor. Mr Ravishankar was finally convinced as the assistant was not avoiding but willing to give patient hearing & explanation to all his apprehensions and he decided to buy the vehicle with the same tyres fitted by the company.

Sales Girl in a Mobile Shop

The speaker went to a mobile store for purchase. The sales girl during conversation came to know that he is going abroad. She started asking questions as to which country he is going. Although a little irritated with the inquisitiveness of the girl, he replied “UK”. She immediately gave him a lot of information as to which service provider in the UK can provide him service, their contact number etc. The gentleman had gone to the shop only to buy a mobile instrument but he got so much more.

Handkerchief vendor on the roadside platform

While buying handkerchiefs on the roadside, the platform vendor wanted to know whether the speaker was going abroad. On being told that he was going to the UK, the vendor told him that being the month of December; it would be very cold in the UK. He advised on the various accessories like sweater, gloves etc that need to be carried while going to UK in the winter & also advised as to where you will get these thing in Pondy Bazar.

Here was an ordinary person  extending extraordinary service much beyond what is expected of him.

The Hyundai Getz car & the service in HMP

The speaker revealed that he was a proud owner of the Hyundai Getz car for over 5 years. Every feature of the car, according to him is planned for the comfort of the driver & passengers in the car. He presently owns an I20 but memories of the Getz continue to haunt him.

 Mr Ravishankar was also in high  in his praise for the service extended by the Hyundai Motor Plaza (HMP) in Ekaduthangal. He says he is so satisfied each time he gives his car for service to HMP that he will never consider giving his car for service anywhere else. He also recommends all his friends to go to HMP alone for service. One aspect he liked in the HMP service is the minute concern for customer comfort like for example at the time of taking car for service, the seat position is marked so that at the time of returning the car after service, the seat is adjusted back to the comfort position of the owner. He is also impressed by the fact that a feedback rating of anything less than 8 out of 10 is not acceptable at HMP.

Bank Manager while vacationing in Munar

The speaker had gone to Munar,Kerala for a vacation. He had recently acquired a debit card & therefore did not feel the need to carry cash during the journey. However on the previous evening of his departure, the resort authorities informed that they do not accept card for the payment which would have to be done in cash. He immediately rushed to the only ATM facility available in Munar only to find it was not functional. He was informed that repair people would have to come up to the hill & do the job which could take a day or two.

In desperation Mr Ravishankar rushed to the Manager of the State Bank of Travancore whose ATM he was trying to operate. The manager listened to his problem but was not sure how he could help him. Finally he advised him to come to the ATM booth at around 8.30 PM. Later the manager came along with two of his staff who worked on the machine for about two hours & at around 10.45 they got it to operate for a time span of five minutes during which time Mr Ravishankar was able to draw his money. The manager had gone out of his way created value for a stranger who was not strictly his customer. This is why the speaker remembers him years later & relates this story over and over again to his audience.

Assistant in  the office of a Sales Tax Service Provider

The speaker was heading a firm providing service on sales tax matters. His assistant had quite a few records under her control under lock & key. One day while coming to office she met with a serious accident. The first thing she said & the last matter she conveyed before losing consciousness was ‘Please tell Mr Ravishankar that the key to the documents cabinet is with Ms Geetha. Today is the last day for filing the sales tax returns…” Even in such a condition she thought first about her duty & the office.

Mr Ravishankar advised participants to make introspection as to where they stand.  Normally there are 3 types of people:

1)     Those who create value

2)    Those who are neutral

3)    Those who are value Destroyers


Most people tend to be in the second category. The introspection should egg us on to move into the first category

Now let us take a Look at a few Value destroyers who came up in the experience of the speaker:-

(1)    Bank Manager advising not to open account in his bank  as he is overburdened

The speaker had gone to open an account in a public sector bank but was shocked to hear the bank manager advising him to open account in any of the other 5 banks operating in the vicinity. To him this sounded like blasphemy that a responsible representative of a business entity is advising you to go to the competitor.

(2)      Nurse in a private hospital refusing treatment

The speaker’s grandmother aged 85 years took ill suddenly. They rushed to the nearest hospital. As no doctor was available at that time, they requested the nurse to come down to the house and provide relief. But the nurse was not willing. “How old is the patient” she asked. When told that the patient was 85, her response was “Nothing is to be done. Let her die.”

(3)      Salesman  at a  motor Bike showroom

The speaker   was discussing the features of a new product in a showroom. The salesman was very casual in his approach.  He said “sir don’t get carried away by the advertisement claims on mileage of the vehicle! You will actually get much less”.

He was discounting the claims & credibility of his own company- a clear case of value destroying.

We can all travel on the path of becoming value creators. After the talk, there was a lively discussion as to why people chose to be value creators. Is it because they will get something in return – More money?  Promotion? Appreciation?

It was generally agreed that people generally  do not create value to get these things. They do it because they enjoy the process. It is another matter that those who add value generally tend to be noticed & rewarded. But their original action came from within as a part of their basic nature.

As for example, the platform vendor who regularly shares information on the climate in foreign countries & guides people on where they can get the required accessories is not expecting to sell more handkerchiefs because of this gesture. It is very unlikely that the same people who benefited from him would go back to the pavement each time they felt the need for buying handkerchiefs. This however does not deter the vendor from sharing, giving more value than is expected from him.

In fact we would do well to take as our role models these people who create value because it is in their very nature.  They are doing things because they enjoy it. They have a passion for what they are doing and automatically add value.

Come, let us all travel on the path of value creation with a focused awareness of what it is that is important to our internal & external customers and consistently aim to meet them, creating  value for our customers and a sense of satisfaction for ourselves.