Chat with the Experts, a new series on the Exotel blog in which we speak to industry experts across various domains and try to understand consumer pain points and how technology is or isn’t solving them. As a part of this series, we spoke to Anaggh Desai, a veteran in the hospitality, e-commerce, travel, and retail industries. You should follow him on twitter here
We asked Anaggh to talk about how as a consumer technology can improve the interactions with its supplier (the Retailer, Restauranteur) and also how being on the other side of the table, what more improvements are needed in the mindset of business owners and retailers.
Q.1. You have been on the Internet, and offline business for the past 20+ years, what is the biggest change you have seen in technology adoption amongst retailers and restaurants in India?
A.1. The simplest accepted change is in basic accounting and POS in the front. Unfortunately, most have still not integrated both.
Q.2. As a consumer, what are some pain points well solved by technology (assume net banking or eCommerce) in other sectors that you wish were implemented by both service providers and retailers/restaurants?
A.2. I’m afraid both assumptions are wrong, and they have a long way to go, and it would be to the benefit of other sectors not to follow them.
The simple alleviation of ‘Pain Point’ is Listen, understand, don’t ask the customer to repeat the entire story again (when you are taping the call for Quality purposes, please listen), respond within the acceptable time frame, learn, do not repeat.
Q.3. How do you think today’s entrepreneur and business owner in these sectors (retail and restaurants) should look at technology? Is it a means to lead generation, cost reduction, efficiency? What has he/she before looked at technology and how should it change?
A.3. Technology is not a Capital Investment alone and hence should not be treated as such. All the three points will follow once your objective is clear. – Do you want to listen, interact, learn from your customer? In which case technology will help you initiate that, followed by lead generation, which should lead to an increase in productivity thereby efficiency, cost reduction maybe, but wouldn’t really push that but definitely ROI sooner or later.
Q.4. What are some technology adoption examples you can share from your recent times, that standout or should be adopted by more?
A.4. Loyalty programs where cards are not required but just an identification number is something that is extremely convenient, but there are no aggregators as yet. This should further extend to even hotel cards being app or phone driven.
At least some brands using technology for Data Mining, insights, analytics and deriving ROI from it. Again this needs to spread and be implemented across many brands.
Q.5 Any piece of advice to young entrepreneurs trying to bring technology to help retailers and restaurants run their business better?
A.5. Learn to ask your customers “What is your pain area?” and then have solutions for those pain points; probability of loyalty is high
Thanks a lot, Anaggh for agreeing to do this interview.