Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Asif...

I dedicate this blog to Asif and to CRM. Its not obsession that drives me to write another blog on CRM but an honest experience. I am not in the habit of walking around scrutinising every flaw with the world around us, I am only voicing my concern.
Its Asif’s birthday today. Last night, 60 minutes before the stroke of midnight Asif and I had gone to café coffee day on 100ft road to catch up on the past weeks happenings and to grab a quick mid night snack. As a part of his birthday celebration I went into the coffeehouse (leaving him sitting outside) on the pretext of using the washroom to surprise him with a birthday jig.

"My friends birthday is in the next 50 mins is there anything you guys do for birthdays. " I ask the waiter.

"Sorry Mam we don’t have birthday celebrations here" replied the waiter at the cash counter.
"Its not a Birthday bash, there are only 2 of us. Could you get him a slice of the yummiest cake available here with a candle and sing for him as well…I’ll sing along."

"Sorry mam we don’t do all that here."
"Well ok atleast deliver the cake and coffee to our table outside and wish him happy birthday, thats the least you can do for me."

"Sure mam I’ll tell the waiter to do that for you."

"Thank you, that would be nice."
I rushed back to the table.
"Dhivs did you order our coffee?"

"Yes I…"
"Happy Birthday MAM! Have a great year ahead" announces a rather pleasant looking waiter. Asif looks at me all baffled and I look at the waiter.

"Its his birthday, why would I order my own birthday cake"

I was rather embarrassed now, the waiter was looking stupid himself and Asif was rolling with laughter.

"That is so cute of you Dhivs!" exclaims Asif to break the awkward silence. The now goofy waiter takes a cue and escapes.
Well it sure was a joke and we kept laughing through the night.
All coffee houses sell an ambiance and so does Café coffee day it is a place one could be himself and not put up a facade, a place where one could unwind after a long days work either alone or in the company of his friends, a place where one could read, play board games or do business.

For me it has been a place where I have bitched, gossiped, strategised, ideated, or simply procrastinated for hours. I have enjoyed my time with friends or in a company of a book at that place. And after last night I felt a little let down, after all I have been a loyal customer.

Coffee retailing has seen a stupendous growth in the last few years. Café coffee days, Baristas and qwiky’s have mushroomed in every street, it has been further accelerated with foreign players like Starbucks and Costa coffee threatening to enter the Indian market. Putting up a stiff fight requires deep pockets and in such a scenario its important that coffee houses not only provide value for money but also go beyond the expectation of their customer.
I understand that the waiters must have been quite tired after a long days work, they must have been exhausted after smiling the whole day at the most annoying customers however, they could have sung the happy birthday song (even if it was just a cacophony) and could have wished the right person and could have made Asif’s birthday special.

CRM is not just about making and keeping a customer (like I had published in my last blog) but it is also about going beyond the expectations of the customers and thus keeping all other competitors and substitues at bay.

I will still go back to Café coffee day and unwind and not let this incident sour my ties with them but in my head this place has lost its charm and I would also think that probably a Barista is a better option for the next birthday celebration.

And Happy birthday Asif have a smashing year ahead!



viggy said...

well dhiv, seems ur becoming a CRM expert.. :-)Anyways, nice observations and soem light moments too..

Anonymous said...

Are you talking about 100ft road CCD.. Something very similar happened wid me too there..
Neways... Your blog doesn't have RSS feed.. or doest it? Couldn't find one..

C u arnd.

unforgiven said...

I've actually gone there somewhere between 10:30 and 11 pm to get some food to go and seen cockroaches crawling up *inside* the refrigirated display..

Ofcourse, I still ordered and got the food, but then, uhh, inebriation can do that to you.. ;)

Pointed out 4 to the guys there but didn't even get a discount! :(

Sandeep said...

Hmm.. Time for another post, don't you think?

Bond...James Bond said...

What made the bday even more special was the goof up. Years later this one incident will probably stand out in Asif's life. :)