Saturday, November 28, 2009

Just Books, Bangalore is a promising startup running crappy software

JustBooks is a Book Rental startup incubated by IIMB. They have a fairly decent pricing model where u can take 2 books at a time for 150/= a month in the basic plan.

Since the book store is conveniently located at 12th Main, Indiranagar, I promptly went there to get a membership. The store is kept quite neatly and boasts of touch screen kiosks to search books under an air conditioned roof, with a good collection of books and comics on the shelves.

The sad part though, is that when I asked the lady at the counter to add me as a member, she struggled. She had taken the money from me, but the software she was using could not do the basic user scenario of "Add a new member" and it crashed. I was feeling more embarrassed thinking about the state of the software they were using, and for a startup out of an Indian IT Hub B-School. A small glance at their website shows how pathetic it is. I think people made better library applications as a part of their college projects.

I sometimes wonder what this indicates ? Does this show how serious we are about building software for an Indian Business ? Maybe customers in India are not really that demanding when it comes to the software they use ?

What I am sure of, is that someone tried to source really cheap labor to do a shoddy job.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Why auto drivers offer the worst customer service ?

Imagine you hail an auto to go a remote residential place from a city hub at 9pm after doing your shopping. The auto driver stops promptly, allows you to get in, and without a word turns the meter on, after asking where you wanted to go. After a smooth ride, you even tell him to get into the small gali which leads to your house. Once you reach your doorstep, the auto driver looks at the meter and calls out the fare. You pay him putting on a thankful smile on your face, as he takes it and drives away.

What is the probability of this happening ? Well.. maybe 5% ! But why do the 95% auto drivers behave this way ? Why do they not offer a good customer service ? Because driving an auto is not a business where you can retain customers. Cmon when have you boarded the same auto which you took last week to go the mall. Even if you did , you wont remember. And that is why an auto driver has no incentive in making a good impression while he is dropping you home. Instead he tries to extract the most out of you by charging a fare over and above the meter, dropping you way before your house and leaving after cursing you. Cos he doesn't care, you are never gonna show up again !

Thursday, September 10, 2009 has God Tech Support

My friend Gavri was trying to book a bus ticket from Bangalore to Pondicherry online via . I was sitting behind , watching him work his way through the site until we came to a page where we had to enter a phone number. Gavri, after a bit of reluctance, finally entered his cellphone number. At the last very step, where we hit "continue" after entering the credit card details, something bad happened and the website brought us back to an empty credit card details page. Well.. we figured that the transaction had failed.

Clearly annoyed with this, as my friend tried to move away from the computer, his cellphone buzzed with someone from Redbus asking "Hey.. you wanted a ticket from B'lore to Pondicherry, and your transaction failed online rite ??? " . All this happened within 60 seconds of the transaction failure and we were completely surprised by this miraculous customer support call !.

Even though the online application has a long way to go... this nearly God like customer support will surely save a lot of customers from walking away from They definitely retained one customer right in front of me !