A Poet’s Day Out as a Corporate Professional

Here in India, automobile industry is like a constantly changing kaleidoscope. It is evolving very fast and with improving living standards, customers’ expectations are also changing very rapidly.  These days, irrespective of the segment type, it is hard to imagine an authorized car dealer’s front office in Delhi without an AC. In showrooms too, customers now have a better say because of strong competition. In all Honda cars showrooms, the concept of process time chart for all sales processes is constantly drummed into all sales staff, e.g., every complaint must be closed within 48 hours after generation, a new car must be delivered within 90 minutes of customer’s arrival, so on and so forth.

A few years ago, when there were just a handful of players, dealer staff and dealer principals generally had a laid-back attitude and had a habit of sweeping minor issues under the carpet till they became major problems; the scenario has changed completely now. The manufacturers themselves are under great pressure from competing brands. The customers too are more aware in general about their rights and often resort to social networking sites for redressal of their grievances. As they say in automobile parlance, “Delight factors of yesterday have become hygiene factors of today.”

So when your job profile out here in the automobile industry involves dealing with people, you need to be on your toes all the time and you need to keep innovating. You just can’t afford to rest on your laurels.

Last week, when I was nominated by my company for a training program for the front-line staff, I felt excited. It wasn’t really because of the training program itself. Training programs are, in fact, generally very boring  and it takes an exceptionally good trainer to keep everyone interested. In any case, I am now a senior manager and I have already attended and conducted lots of training programs of this kind in the past myself. I was thrilled because after a long time, I was getting a chance to let in some fresh air into my life, a chance to see new places and meet new people, a welcome change from the daily routine.

On the D-day, 5 May 2015, I started from home much earlier than my usual routine, around 7:30 AM as I had to go far. I did not want to reach late and create a bad impression.. I walked to the Uttam Nagar East Metro Station and took the Blue line metro train to Mandi House. The office rush had still not begun yet and I got a seat easily. Good start, I thought. As soon as I sat down, I took out Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things.’ I had read this book way back in 1999 and now when I began reading it again, it felt like I was reading it for the first time.

After reaching Mandi House, I changed over to the Violet Line metro which goes to Badarpur. I finally reached Tughlakabad station. at around 9:15 AM, well in time. I took a rickshaw from there. As we trundled across the dusty road and reached the final crossing, I was struck by the majestic beauty of the different flowers and trees that I came across. They seemed to glow and sparkle under the strong, glaring sunlight of the summer sun. I made a mental note of remembering to take their pics on my way back.  These are given below. You may not find them clear enough. If yes, I can only say in my defense that I caught the photography bug about 2 months ago and I am still learning.

Way to the training Venue

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Flowers & Trees of ICC…

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We had to wait for more than 1 hour since a few of the participants were coming from places as far as Jammu. While we waited, I decided to pass my time doodling on my note pad. I was pleasantly surprised to see what I came up with. I always thought I was very bad at drawing. Here is the pic.

Doodle pic…

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At the beginning itself, our Trainer Dhirendra, DS for short, clarified quite candidly that this training was related to basics and we would most probably find it boring. But he would try his best to make it lively and we also need to participate actively as it would help us in ensuring that our dealership service levels improve in future.

Here are some more pics from the training room…

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Trainer Dhirendra, D.S. for short, at the end of training

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The program ended on time as per schedule.

On my way back, one more thing I found striking was the constantly rotating Mercedes Benz Logo on the T&T Motors showroom. The orange and red of the Gul Mohur flowers seemed to add a special touch of glamour to the showroom. Why hadn’t I noticed all this when I had come to this showroom last year for an interview? I asked myself this question as I gazed admiringly at the rotating star in front of me.  The setting sun seemed to cast a beautiful halo around the showroom. Is it a sign of things to come? I really don’t know. Their competitors Audi & BMW are already forging ahead.  See these pics below.

Merc. Logo on T&T Motors Showroom, Mathura Road..

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Finally, when I was on my way home, I felt good. “Customer Connect” seemed to be worth it. Its most memorable message, I think, was at the end of one of the videos showed to us during the session: Words are like dams. They have huge power. If you use them properly, you would be amazed to see the results.

That’s what we poets do. Play with words…

Well, as the cliche’ goes, all is well that ends well.

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