Hours lost with eCommerce delivery

My wife’s practical advise with worse e-Commerce delivery. Will I be able to follow the advise?

  1. D not get frustrated and waste my precious weekend hours with customer service
  2.  If the e-commerce site demonstrates similar experience, do not order from the website.
  3. Do not spend time believing engaging them would transform their customer service better.

For me customer experience starts from going to customer website, select items and order items.  Should experience not continue till goods delivery to customer’s address?  As customer, for me customer experience includes the experience with  the delivery boy, technician and the customer support portal on escalations.  Beyond the ordering portal to place order, the customer experience is really worse with most of the Indian e-commerce websites.  Here is my experiences and my wife experience and above practical advise.

We ordered study table for our daughter on PepperFry prior to previous Sunday.  On last week Tuesday, I saw missed call on phone after a meeting.  On reaching the missed call number, the delivery boy says that there is no one at home when we came for delivery. Is the message that learn to wait home for the delivery boy to call me?

He asks me whether he can deliver goods with security at front.  When asked “Can you deliver after an hour?”. He says “Yes” and then I start from office and reach home. When I entered home, I call the same number to get response that the item will be delivered within 15 minutes. After that, I keep waiting for more than one hour and no one turns up with delivery. Is the message that learn lesson for not being at the time the delivery boy comes to my home?

Disappointed, I call customer service, provide the order number. The customer service promises to get back by the end of day and assures of delivery within next day. For server issues, they fail to provide a case reference number. I forget this.  Yesterday Saturday , I called customer service. The customer service asks for previous case number say there is no track of my call and ask me to explain problem again. I explain and they claim that the call is recorded and they are not able to extract the previous call. Is the message that learn that  customer portal is not responsible for good delivery and it is my responsibility?

In conversations, I get a hidden message that there are more things to worry beyond the customer.  My wife overheard talk to customer portal and made comment ” Be happy that you are not asked whether to deliver product in your office. I know it is not easy for you carry this large furniture home.”.  Asking why  made me learn the following two experiences.

She shares her delivery experience with Indane domestic gas. She considers delivery experience of e-commerce company is similar to  delivery experience with Indane domestic gas. Both of them are pathetic and there is not much difference in effectiveness and this is her experience.

My wife works as teacher in school setup, where she does not pick phone calls during school hours. She started ordering in flip-kart. The delivery boys call her during here office hours and  she does not pick up the call. She comes home and call backs missed calls. Some times the delivery boy respond and some time they do not respond. When they respond, the answer is evasive and delivery fails to happen. When she calls customer service, she is informed that she was not at home and hence they were not able to deliver order. They recommend that she can provide her office address and they can deliver there. Bad taste of recommendation after learning from her that she cannot entertain calls and visitors as per school rules.

After the same episode happened twice, she decided not to order in Flipkart.com and no more visits their website.   She says that she has no option with domestic gas and atleast have option here to switch to  amazon.in. Till now, amazon.in provides decent delivery experience, even if it becomes late hours. If amazon.in fails to deliver, she would no more order from them too.

Why English and not Tamil at home?

[ After posting article  Does IT include Indian languages?, a friend shared her perspective/feedback in email.  After  reading her inputs, I can connect from where she comes from and  agree the huge effort required to introduce Indian languages in IT. Today I see an opportunity for Indian languages  to ride  the wave of internet usage driven by e-commerce and tax-commerce companies. if we miss this wave, Indian languages in IT is something to be forgotten. Here is her response for your reference.]

I wish to put some things in perspective. I often hear this lament from people who have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ – i.e people who speak and think in English often complain that their mother tongue is dying and everyone should support it. I beg to disagree.

To communicate in a language is a person’s choice – I know the amount of struggle I go through when I need to communicate in Hindi – and can empathize when someone else goes through the same struggle in English. English is the language of business and you and I have  travel abroad and work there because of our comfort in that language. We simply cannot deny someone else that choice.

When my children were young and in an age where they were learning to speak, I was employed full time in a corporate job. Our choice of housing and location to be ‘close’ to office did not agree with elders in our family and they chose to continue staying where they were. I used to leave my children in a good day-care with a tamil-speaking elderly couple. But there were other children in the same day-care whose parents came from different places in India. So, Aunty and Uncle spoke to all children only in English and that’s how my children started to utter their first words in English.

When I used to get back from work, the idea was to talk to children, to communicate with them how their day was. To insist they speak in Tamil in which they did not have adequate vocabulary did not help serve the purpose as they were very young and used to get frustrated when they did not get the words to communicate. So, we relaxed rules and it continues to this day  – we talk to our children in Tamil and they respond back in English. We communicate what we think and the matter ends there.

Language has to be spoken, absorbed, thought in and repeated – an immersion process that often children whose parents have migrated away do not get. Especially so in nuclear families. Also, language is a not an isolated entity – history of the place where the language originated, festivals we celebrate, the way we dress, food we eat, our choice of entertainment, our thoughts all have an impact on this learning process. In times, when both parents work, do we have the time to do this – to establish this environment? I have tried and I have failed. In Bangalore, we do not celebrate Pongal or Karthigai Deepam with the same gusto we used to do when we are young – no one else outside of home does it and it does not propel children to absorb the culture.

Recently, my children’s music teacher started an exercise that all her students must read and write Tamil. While I heaved a sigh of relief, my teenaged son rebelled. His stance is that he does not connect with Tamil the way he connects with English. His world has changed – he does not grow up in a place where he can immerse himself in Tamil and his ‘bhavam’ will never be correct. His emotions are better communicated in a language he is comfortable with -I,e English. Some of us may still have family ties in Tamil Nadu, but we may not be able to afford the luxury of ‘sending’ our children there to absorb the language.

I recall the days when I worked in Paris – I met a Tamil family who had emigrated there. While two of the siblings spoke Tamil (they grew up in Chennai), the last two spoke only French [not even English]. Everyone else spoke Tamil and they responded back in French. I could not speak to them as I did not know French. Same background, Same language, no communication :

In a metro like Bangalore, especially in new areas where multi-level housing complexes are located, English seems to be the language of communication. So, children naturally tend to speak in a language that helps them to connect with other children to get their message across. Is it correct to force children (or people) to learn a language when we cannot provide them an environment they can immerse themselves to develop fluency  OR show them a future where learning this is important for livelihood, so that they will learn?  Remember we live in a world where most people’s choice is based on utility values and not on emotion

All technology updates or news that impact our lives are in English, the world is becoming smaller so we meet people from different parts of India / globe more often that we did 25 years ago. We need to accept change. Yes, we need to be more neutral as you put it, but how many of us have the depth to translate English based technical articles to Tamil on a daily basis so that people can consume it to eliminate information asymmetry?

I love Tamil and I still read Tamil literature to unwind. But I am pragmatic too – while I will continue to teach  my children to ‘at least’ speak the language, I also know that most of these things will quickly become symbolic. My spouse grew up in Bangalore and his Tamil is also a little challenged. He does not connect with the language or is emotional about it, the way I am. My in-laws ‘supposedly’ speak tamil but it is mostly Kannada. So in families that are multi-lingual like mine, it is a greater challenge. We speak English to eliminate mis-understanding and keep relationships intact.

I rest my case. And I know I am not alone.

Hey folks, can you think this way?

[ I am happy to have read this on Facebook and want to bookmark the same for my reference. I replaced my father in place of old man in story. My old man, English speaking executive of the past, walks without shirt and has reinvented himself.  I do not try to change him. I am very proud that he is firm on his belief at age of 73]

An old man, staying in a small south Indian town came to visit his son in Bombay recently. The son in his early thirties is a successful businessman living with his wife and son. The father, having spent most of his life at his birthplace, hardly understands a splatter of Hindi or English,forget Marathi. But he doesn’t care.

‘I have come here to spend a few days with my son and his family. I don’t have to go out and socialize with the city people,’ he said. But the son is very excited about his father’s rare visit to Bombay. He wants to make the best of it. He and his wife want to show him around the city. And yes, the son enjoys those evening hours too, when he and his father go out and sit in a good bar, sipping their favorite drink.

Last week he was in a very good mood. ‘Let’s go to a five star hotel’s bar tonight,’ he told his father. It was a beautiful evening. Talking about everything under the sun they had a few drinks. As usual they were offered some salad, peanuts, wafers etc as accompaniments with their drinks.

The old man being almost toothless was not much interested in eating. But that day when they got up to leave, he simply took a handful of channa (roasted grams) and stuffed it in the fold of his dhoti. He might have thought about munching on them, sitting in the car or whatever. Unfortunately while walking in the lobby, he missed a step and stumbled.Down he went, scattering the channa on the plush carpet. No problem …..

Now try to visualize that scenario. Someone else in his son’s place would have been mortified, embarrassed to death. He might have cursed not his father but his own self for causing this awkward situation.

‘Never again will I take my old man to such hotels’, he would have vowed.

No sir, not this son. Gently, with a smile, he helped his father get back on his feet. Instead of feeling irritated or angry, he was amused. He found the whole incident very funny.

Laughing, they both went home and on the way they decided to return to the same place the following Sunday.The old man liked the place and liked the channa too. Few days back, at a friend’s place they both described this event and made everybody laugh.

Weren’t you embarrassed? Somebody asked the son.
‘Oh, come on now’ replied the son. ‘He is my father. He talks in his native language, prefers to wear a dhoti even to a posh city hotel, takes channa from the bar to eat later, does whatever he feels like….

So what? Why should I feel embarrassed with his nature and habits? Nobody has a right to stop him from doing whatever he feels comfortable with, as long as it is not harmful to others.’

The son doesn’t care what the staff in the hotel thought about that incident.He says ‘they should be concerned only with their bills and tips.

I am concerned about my Father’s Happiness.’ The wife too totally agrees with the husband on this issue. She feels there are enough other qualities in her father- in- law to feel proud of.

Accept them the way they are. . . The above incident is not mentioned just to show the love and devotion of a son for his father.

More than love it is a matter of understanding and a healthy respect for the other person’s lifestyle.

A seventy plus old man doesn’t want to change his lifestyle now. He likes the way he eats or dresses or talks. In his eyes there is nothing wrong with the old ways of living.

And the son says, ok, fine.

Every body has a right to live as per his wish. Now at his age, why should he be forced to learn to eat with a fork and knife, if he doesn’t want to?

I will feel bad if he is doing something morally wrong or indulging in some harmful activities. But otherwise it is fine. I am not going to try to change him at this stage. He is my father.I love him, respect him.

Hey folks, can you think this way?

So many times we see people getting embarrassed by the so called unsophisticated behaviour of their family members. They keep on apologizing about their lack of class and manners or about their drawbacks to outsiders.

  • My wife can’t speak proper English; she doesn’t know what’s happening in the world, so I avoid taking her out or introducing her to my friends and business associates…
  • My parents can’t eat with a spoon and fork, so I don’t take them to restaurants …
  • My husband is working as an ordinary clerk, so I feel awkward when I introduce him to my rich friends.
  • My brother is mentally challenged, so I don’t feel like going out with him…

Are you plagued with such thoughts or do you meet such people who think alike?

If you do, please ask yourself. Why do others or I feel this way? Really what is there to feel ashamed of?

Most of the people always have this fear of other peoples’ opinions and comments. What would others say?? Y should u????Think… Ponder… Act… Respect…

Should doctors be entrepreneurs or freelancers?

I read Mukesh blog “Are you an enterpreneur or freelancer“. Very true about entrepreneur. Entrepreneur earns money from business for organization to hire and pays salaries for people’s work. He depends on others contribution to earn income and adds uncertainty. Any one can become entrepreneurs.

Freelancer or consultant earns money for himself. He depends on his skills to contribute to others to reduce their uncertainty and  earn income. There is uncertainty to extent that he depends on himself to offer his value to an entrepreneur or business to reduce their uncertainty. Freelancers are mainly professionals like doctors, lawyers, equity dealer, trainer, singers, artists. Human connect is very important to doctor from perspective or care and cure. .

Chinmaya Hospital is a social entrepreneurial hospital serving people with heath care for  more than 30 years. They have priority in order of patient care,  patient cure and beyond patient money.   How will entrepreneur doctor get doctor staff to prioritize in order of patient care, patient cure and beyond  patient money?

I am sharing experience below on having visited a similar or possibly same doctor in Bangalore when my wife was pregnant with second daughter. Mukesh is right calling doctor as freelancer.

My wife went for her regular tests and the doctor in nearby medical lab. The medical lab is entrepreneurial firm and lab doctor went across his status(on patient ask) to share observation on scan about the to-be-born child and that shared my wife and sister who were young. They came back and started reading on internet and got more worried before we meet gynecologist  the same evening. Our gynecologist was veteran in delivering babies from 1960s and wanted my wife not to fear first. She have observed similar patterns earlier and babies were all fine and mostly the observation provided was not right.  To clear fear in our mind, she wanted us to visit doctor(referred in Mukesh blog mostly) to get scan and expert opinion. Our gynecologist   is a freelancer too.

Appointments were available after a month when called over phone and for immediate appointment, we were asked to come before 9 am and the promise of doctor is to see patients before he goes home in night . We went in morning and took token and waited for doctor to call. We got appointment at 8 pm in night. Amazing commitment of freelancer to make sure every customer goes home before he leaves.

The special doctor looked at report and shared that it was normal and not to worry and expressed that  lab doctor should not have commented as pregnancy is little different from regular one. Observing the fear from our eyes, after listening to us, ask was to think positive from right now to 3 months of baby’s birth and that energy will make baby come right.  We still went through one more minor scan to gain comfort that things were normal.

Mrinalini was born in lakeside hospital, Ulsoor and is growing as normal girl and is 8 years old.  If doctor priorities patient care, then patient cure and beyond patient’s money, the doctor can either be entrepreneur or freelancer.

Other Neutrality like Net neutrality

I am happy that we are aware of net neutrality, garnered support and resulted in some real actions. Should we direct learning’s from net neutrality  to other areas also?

This blogs is not about net neutrality.  If you have not heard the term earlier, go ahead and read the articles Net Neutrality: Here is everything you need to know about itThe Fight against Airtel’s VOIP charges, net neutrality and what it means for Startups in India?Net Neutrality violation: Airtel introduces differential pricing for type of Mobile Internet usage and What is net neutrality and why it is important

Here are my observation of no neutrality in other areas of society affecting common man similar to net neutrality.

  • People in cities and major towns have access to internet and internet is not available 50 kms away from city centers. Should internet service providers be not demanded to be net access neutrality? Even in Bangalore,if you rich and live in areas more with slums, you would not get broadband access with private providers.
  • Public transport entities like BMTC offer bus services. In areas like ITPL, I observe more Volvo buses than ordinary buses, while large section of bus passengers cannot afford the charges of Volvo and are looking for ordinary buses. Few have represented to BMTC to have more common buses too. It is painful to see Volvo buses plying empty, when the common man waits for ordinary bus.  In reality I think there is  no transport access neutrality. Where is transport access neutrality needed by common man?
  • When you are pedestrian and want to cross the road, there are no pedestrian crossing and hence you navigate through traffic holding your precious life. When a lot of pedestrians try to create awareness towards safety to their life, there are  pedestrian walk ways created and pedestrians are made to climb up and climb down. It is not easy for old people to do this climb up and climb down.  Ideally, both the pedestrian and the person travelling in his car have equal access to the road. In reality, roads are developed more skewed towards transport vehicles and not towards humans(pedestrians) and there is no road access neutrality. Where is  road access for people mobility needed by common man?
  • The whole electronic city flyover is making life horrible with median across its poles and the common man needs to walk long distances to cross the road. You realize this neutrality when you are pedestrian and make use of public transport to commute.

Today, I saw this article in Hindu Whitefield residents stage protest against deluge of trucks. One can observe that ban on trucks carrying essential commodities is not demanded, as they need essential commodities.  There is call of regulation of timings for movement of trucks carrying non-essential goods, as they do not need non-essential goods for their homes and  work. Will regulation of timings for movement of trucks lead to questions on transport vehicle neutrality ?

I want to call IT pros and Whitefield residents( today most are IT pros) to apply their net neutrality awareness to arrive at holistic perspectives for society challenges. I want Whitefield residents to read following and be aware

  • White field was more area like village 20 years back  with resident bungalows and independent villa house. The high rise apartments and IT companies has contributed more to transport woes more than trucks.
  • Outer Ring Road of Bangalore was developed for  trucks to have smooth transport.  IT guys leveraged the roads originally developed for trucks to their advantage.
  • A huge industrial park  was developed in Mahadevapura and surrounding areas and these industrial companies depend on truck and there is container corporation right near ITPL where trucks commute on regular basis. IT guys leveraged the existing infrastructure  starting with ITPL first and continued to develop their homes around these industry establishments.

There is need  of support from educated (IT pros) for this too to create awareness.  I wish IT pros take initiatives to create other neutrality needed by common man in the society.

1776 Challenge Cup @ Bangalore

There was an email calling for volunteers for Challenge Cup, Bangalore. I just signed up and then realized i was running out of time.   With support of my wife. I  was able to attend event and this was a nice experience of visiting entrepreneur event after 2 months.

The event was focused on start-ups that work on energy,education, healthcare and Smart Cities. The winners of the challenge get free trip to Washington with mentoring and outreach sessions. Please look at this link to know winners. In this post, I write about the start-ups that interested me or got a chance to interact with their co-founders based on their pitches.

  • Coeo Labs is a cool health start-up. They have developed  medical device and  new procedure to prevent Ventilator associated pneumonia in incubated patients in the ICU.
  • Fyrsta is another health start-up focused to relieve pain,including back pain. The founder wanted to solve pain of his mother and experimented to come with cure and now positioning the solution to relieve pain of other people and also extend to cure other pains.  Nice to know that founder is also from College of Engineering, Guindy.
  • Smart Buildings is technology start-up solution with by a cool device to measure energy consumption in buildings and propose approaches to conserve energy by reducing energy consumption.  Their solution utilizes already collected data  like security data available locally in buildings of enterprises  to identify occupancy of building.Wish empowerment of all  technology company offices in Bangalore to be enabled to conserve energy.
  • BrainWave has a lot of educational products from children and are part of  Amar Chitra Katha Pvt Ltd
  • Divi Learning: It is interesting to see one another company arriving to democratize educational content.Wish they are more aware of the path they are on journey. I was not self aware 4 years back and was also inspired by Khan academy.
  • BGenius : nice to see Calcutta based start-up.  I liked that they are dedicated to provide solutions for students to change the way students think and study and reduce their study pressure and study time, making education fun and easy.
  • Greeneria is energy start-up works in waste management of organic waste. They manufacture hardware that would process waste of 25kg/day to 1250 kg per day I hear that hardware was developed abroad and has been licenses and tinkered for Indian conditions.He is working with hotels and other food places. Check www.arunagreen.com. Nice to see progress beyond kambha  and  NGV project done as part of AID Bangalore.

Thanks to Andrew and Gareet for coming to Bangalore and organizing event for start-ups and keep them motivated. Thanks to Microsoft Accelerator for facilitating the program.

“Rural India and Villages” by Mridula

[My girl Mridula shared this essay with me, written at school and it got selected in some event by some authority. It was adhoc event and she wrote with no preparation. The topic was ” What I would do for the development of My country,India”. I have typed article with the mistakes. Wish she finds her passion some day]

Article1Front image2

India is a land of culture, religion and a bit of technology, but there are still somethings we do not care about like maintaining cleanliness, keeping some animals out of being endangered, etc. If we do not take reconditions soon, it will cause harm in future. When I get older, I will try to help India in some unique ways. These will develop India and make it a more smarter country. They are.

Save Animals, Save India India was once for animals like the Royal Bengal tiger, the house sparrow,etc. So we need to stop using cell phone, not slaughter them for their flesh and skin. We can still do all these things, but in limited amount.

Cleaner India, Cleaner Earth  India is not having a sense of hygiene because it does not have cleanliness, as we the people, throw  garbage everywhere, pollute the air, uproot and cut many plant without knowing their pains. So we can start cleaning India in some ways.

Caste System By removing the case system out of India, there will be ginormic miracle, but we the people refuse as we think that people who live in poor families should be slaves and rich people should be kings and queens. If we remove this, it will cause a great difference in India.

Religion We also complain about different religions as they can disturb us through their grand festivels, when we are in prayer. WE need adjustion but none of us want to adjust.

If we make these developments in our country, India we can improve the villages, cities, the people and also the government. We can also start many movement like this.

  • Swacch Bharat Movemet
  • Word Sparrow day
  • Environmental Week


Vydehi school of Excellence

Done by Mridula

Class :- VI

Date :- 27/01/15