Once upon an unrecorded time in another dimension across the wormhole, there was this guy Arelius, who was doing his MBA in Shangri-la Institute of Management in Celestial town. During the time of internship, Arelius was placed under Hindu Ltd, the company run by Hindu Deities at top and middle management and jointly owned by Hindu Gods as Board of Members. Hindu Ltd was the biggest of all the recruiters at Shangrila institute of Management. Their operations were across the world with their headquarters on the border of India and Nepal.
Arelius, who was in marketing and promotion department, was assigned a project to survey the existing customers of Hindu Ltd. His project included determining the consumer satisfaction level, consumer behaviour at Point of Purchase (Multiple unorganised Outlets with the generic name ‘Temple’), product line and consumer benefits like festivals, celebrities, fasts, rituals and holidays. Arelius decided to start his project by visiting contact points where the footfall was in millions during selected time periods. The company called these points as ‘holy places’. His first such visit was at Maha Kumbh Mela, somewhere near the Headquarters of Hindu Ltd. The activity was organised once in 12 years jointly by field representatives called pundits or pujaaris with assistance from Nature department. Arelius, unknown to the trends and buying behaviour, though went there to record the consumer behaviour and satisfaction level, but was awestruck by the organisation and event management skills of the company. The quality control was in a dismal state with no support from the Nature department. The Operations were haphazard and the crowd flow also required major channelisation. Unable to ignore these observations, Arelius noted them and proceeded to consumers for their feedback. A bigger level of dismay struck him after his first feedback. The respondent, a 55 year old woman from middle income group was very satisfied with the services. All her responses were positive feedbacks without any complaints or suggestions. On finishing the survey at that site, Arelius realised that customers were not just satisfied but delighted.
Arelius later went to another contact point named ‘Balaji’. The services offered here chiefly included shelf displays of statues of one of the board member of Hindu Ltd, called as ‘Idols’ and a live band which played music religious genre. He observed a very particular tendency among the consumers of Hindu Ltd. at this area. Though most of the visitors appeared to be sane and composed, but during a strange promotional activity called ‘aarti’ (when the live band performed at its best), the consumers displayed weird responses. Starting from tossing their head in all directions, they went as far as injuring themselves by either rolling down a staircase or pulling off their hair from their scalp. Unable to hold his curiosity, Arelius met one of the field representatives after the promotional activity to understand the rationale behind this consumer behaviour. He learned that among other activities, this contact point also offered free ghostbuster services to its consumers. They were able to capture their target audience, a quasi-niche segment, solely by the means of grapevine and brand loyalty. Noting his observations, he left the place.
Arelius visited many more locations and outlets of Hindu Ltd. during his tenure as a trainee. Some were Amarnath, Kailash Parvat, Haridwar, Vaishno Devi and Chaar Dhaam. He found the common sentiment of consumer delight at all the location irrespective of the poor quality of services and operations. He also realised that the company should never opt for demographic segmentation as its consumers were spread across all regions across the world and so did its outlets. He observed that brand loyalty was the biggest USP for Hindu Ltd. as the consumers rarely looked for competitors’ services, irrespective of their attempts. He also examined that though the quality of service was inferior, the incentives and up-selling added to customer delight. It was usually in form of edible merchandise like Prasad and ‘charnamrit’. Moreover, small statues of board of members, that were nothing short of souvenirs counted for revenue generation. Another benefit to the company’s advantage was that investors were always ready to provide funds for overhauling of existing outlets and expansion plans as well. Subsequently, the company was cash rich. While Hindu Ltd was not the market leader but it enjoyed monopoly in certain regions. Arelius recommended that the company, apart from expanding its operations, must also try to attract more consumers to increase its profitability and Return on Investment. Though there were numerous small attempts to seek new clients by the field representatives, but they were often small scale and unorganised. The competitors were however coming up with continuous innovation for the same.
Then, courtesy his mentors and seniors, Arilius was able to finish his project before time. Impressed with his performance and swiftness, his department decided to give him another project during his tenure with Hindu Ltd. We shall soon get to know what it was and how it changed his life….