Posted in Experience, Life

An unforgettable Uber ride…

A usual day and I was travelling to a friend’s place last week. Had a sore back so booked an Uber. The driver came to the location without a call. This was the first time for me in Bangalore where I didn’t have to fight we the driver in order to get him to the pickup location. This has always ruined my experience with Uber. But today was different.

I boarded the car and my destination was like 10Km away. In Bangalore, that’s a big deal. So I settled in the car which was quite clean and asked the driver to go ahead. He turned back and asked me which music I would like to listen; my reply was just switched on the radio but he insisted me to tell the artist. I ended up saying Atif Aslam. He then opened Caravan and started the playlist.

Next surprise came to me when he asked me if I would like to read anything. My reaction was something he was expecting and he smiled. Then he asked me If I need any water and handed me a packed bottle of half litre biller. I was blown by the gesture and courtesy of the driver.

There is very less chance that we would meet again. He didn’t know me and still this gesture got me curious to know his story and why he was doing all this.

The ride started and so did my questions to him.

What got you into driving?

I am an engineer by profession and worked in IT sector for 3 years but due to personal emergency had to leave for home and lost my job. One of my friends was doing this and told me there is good money and hence I started it.

Why you give this extra service? Does Uber pay to you for it?

Sir, I have learned one thing in life, do best in whatever you do. Some time back I was on your side and someone taught me the meaning of being good to others and take care of them and hence I started serving water in my cab and extend it to music and reading material. This helps me engage customers. I now have a great network. People have already offered me a job. But I now do this by choice. You will give me a good rating and hence I get more rides and earn more.

How much do you invest in all these services?

I love reading so I was already spending on the magazines and I use the same ones here so it’s not a direct cost. I take 13 to 20 rides a day and earn about 2.5-5k a day. 20 Bottles will cost me 250 bucks and then the newspaper and some data pack which doesn’t cost much. Most of the times people end up paying me extra and I do not incur any cost.

Probably I will not meet you again then why this gesture?

I feel happy and contented that I was able to serve better than anyone and you will share this story with people around you. That’s my reward. You never know who will come to your rescue at what time in your life. So you should always think positively and move ahead in life.

What is your plan for future?

I have already cleared loan for this car and applied for another loan. I will get people from my hometown, teach them my ways and help them build their lives and in turn, will take a part of it. This way I will be a success entrepreneur by the end of 2 years. I want to be like Jeff Bezos. This phase of life will give me learnings and help me grow further in my ambitions.

Small interaction gave me a lot of learnings and I think reading this might have given you some as well. Be positive, spread love and nothing bad will ever happen to you and even if does happen it will ultimately be for the good. That’s the human way to think about it Right?

Learnings on always doing your best

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Posted in Life, Philosophy

What if this is the past we are living in?

iu-emagazine-change-history-future-present-student-chance-diet-past-lost-oppertunities-pain-shoulder-global-concerns-today-hunger-36meals-children-food-insecurity-childhood-planting-choice-wasting

Ever thought that future generations were able to create the time machine and sent some of us back to fix certain things in the past. What if we are actually living in the past and leading a predefined life. The mere thought of it gives me goosebumps. Just imagine the likes of newton, Einstein etc. all came from the future and they did fix certain things to become greats the world will always remember.

Just think of the possibilities this can have. But there is always a flipside, maybe all the disaster we have seen in the world right from world wars, great depression etc. were the after effects or ripples of the things we wanted to make right but it led to this.

We have often heard that there are certain things about history we can’t explain. For example, how they were built, their presence at places we can’t expect etc. what if all these things are anomalies that humans have created in the space time continuum and were not able to fix them.

To bandage the anomalies, we created more and now we are in the web of so much chaos that we ourselves don’t know how to solve this. Who do you think in present time may be from future? Elon Musk as he is taking us to Mars or making an electric car for us.

What are your thoughts, do you think there is a possibility?

Posted in Marketing, Startups

8 Facebook hacks I wish I knew before to get more customers

Getting your first few is always special and is a long lasting memory. People struggle a lot in order to get their first few customers. It’s the battle in which you don’t have much ammo (money) and you have to kill the enemy (acquire the customer).  Social Media has come a long way and has become very useful in interacting with your target audience, get feedback and improve. Facebook provides ample such opportunities and is a channel where you can even get your customers without spending at all or very less. You can also acquire customers across platforms without spending a penny but the numbers will be free.

Here I am sharing some of the Facebook hacks that had helped me in growing some businesses –

  • Facebook Groups – As of today there are millions of groups on Facebook and you can always find groups specific to your business. Join them and interact with the audience to create awareness about your product. Conversations are better than content.
  • Organize your friend list – Facebook gives you a unique feature where you can create separate lists of your friends. Create a persona of your target audience and create a list of such people from your friend list. Then keep engaging with them and get your first few customers.
  • Use Amplification – Share your offerings to your curated list and groups and hence amplify the awareness. Even if 4% of your targeted people get one each you will have your first set of customers ready.
  • Integrate with Quora and Twitter – Answer relevant questions on quora, make use of twitter trends and use the same content on facebook to leverage all platform to get your user base.
  • The frequency of posts – Once is two days is what worked for me in order to be on the top of mind and engage customers, build trust and get customers.
  • Testimonial Ads works wonders – Now if you want to run ads (assuming you already got your first customer till now) get testimonial video from your first customer and run an ad on it for your target audience to reap benefits.
  • Spend time on defining target audience – Optimizing for the Time your ad is shown, Selecting the right channel to show your ad, Use Audience Optimization, Use custom audience to remarket are some features if judiciously used can help to get a lot of relevant leads.
  • High initial Budget on Ads and then Pausing it – Facebook initially blasts people based on the lifetime budget set. This gives you a time saving in order to get know about the effectiveness of ad and then take corrective action.
  • Low daily budget facebook ads – Keep running certain ads on FB with the budget as low as 70 rs. Fb’s remaining inventory gets this ad, and the cost per conversion reduces drastically.

A combination of these along with experience in handling digital audience came in handy for me to acquire good number for customers for a business. The Customer Acquisition Cost came down by 100%.

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Posted in fitness, Life, Philosophy, Weight Loss

Fitness, Learnings & 30 Day Plank Challenge

In the gym, you generally see two kinds of people, one who think they are unfit because they are really fat and other who think they are unfit because they are too thin. The total idea of fitness is flawed. In my mind fitness is how healthy you feel when you get up and anyone in this world can be unfit no matter how physically smart he looks.

It’s all in our mind, we have an image of so-called perfect people and everyone is running a race to become that perfect person who doesn’t exist.

I challenged a so-called fit person for a plank challenge and seeing me he said that I will beat the shit out of you. I am much fitter that you are. We started on day 1 and I didn’t do great. His timing was much better than mine. I came back home and promised that at the end of 30 days I will beat him.

Planks for fitness

During my journey of 30 days, I experienced the following –

  • Train your mind and not your body – It became very difficult for me at the start but a friend suggested to read news while doing plank which worked wonders. It increased my timing by 10 seconds. Try once.
  • People will always discourage you, don’t let that affect you – Many people at the gym told me things and it was not helping me. My trainer came to me and said look into eyes of the person who is telling you S**t and don’t say anything. It really helped, people then thinks you are damn serious and they stop.
  • Consistency is the key – I started with 24 Sec and on day 30 I was at 3 Min 4 Sec. Do I need to say anything more?
  • Set progressive goals – Tomorrow should be better than today being the only motto that helps and always will. I used to keep +10 sec target every day. Someday I achieved it someday I didn’t.
  • Don’t underestimate anyone ever – We have seen this time and again that people who are underestimated are the ones who achieve so much in their life. He underestimated me and at the end he lost. Remember that Rabbit 😛
  • Announce whatever you want to achieve it helps – Social pressure is something which always helps you follow the first two points mentioned. I did it in front of everyone in the gym.

Don’t accept anyone’s definition of how you should look and how fit you are. It should be how you feel and think about yourself. Live life on your terms and don’t let others make you believe something that is non-existent. You can read how I lost 23 kgs in 6 months time and lifestyle changes I did in order to be healthy.

Posted in fitness, Life

What leaving Sugar did to my Body

In 1960’s Sugar Companies paid scientist to blame fat for everything but not sugar, which attributed to increase the use of Sugar over time and now 6% of Indian population (64 Mn) suffers from diabetes. Sugar has a huge impact on the body, to give you a perspective of things have a look at the photographs below.

hidden-sugars-in-foods sugar

 

 

Now you can see what we actually eat and we are expected to take only around 37gm or 9 Teaspoon as the daily requirement of sugar in the body.

I did an experiment on myself and completely stopped consumption of things which have added sugar. I consumed only natural sugar in fruits, etc. for 10 days. My story and learnings goes like this-

  • Day 1 started normal as when you start you are determined. But after my gym, I started having a craving for having something sweet, so I had an apple. Then I got engrossed in my work and the day was normal till evening when I started having a high craving of sugar and took me a great effort to stop myself from having a biscuit which I regularly have. Then I purposefully sleep so that I can avoid it and the first day was successful.
  • Day 2 – 4 started with impulsive need of sugar, but I somehow controlled and then searched the net on how to stop sugar cravings. Learning from there I started having a lot of water and started having a lot of fruits. This really helped, but still my body was not ready to take the fact that I was not eating anything sweet.
  • Day 5 – 10 I started having a lot of green sof and water, which help kills sugar craving, by 9th day end my body got adjusted to the daily schedule and was flushing a lot of toxins in the form of sweat and toilet which became very frequent.
  • Guess what I lost like 2 kg in 10 days just by stopping the intake of artificial sugar, which increase my water intake by 2 times and I also started feeling less hungry and my stamina increased.
  • There were days when you will feel dizzy and tired at the start as your body is reacting to the lack of sugar, but keep going, motivate yourself and have that end goal in mind that you want to achieve.
  • One thing I used to do is to track what I eat and how much I drink on an excel so the I do not cheat myself. One more thing that I generally do is that I announce it to my friends and family about what I am going to do and hence that shame of not achieving it keeps me going. You can try it too.

Not I have completely stopped taking all things which have artificially added sugar and has greatly boosted my stamina health and overall lifestyle.

As far as I am concerned My motivation was my mom who dared me in doing it and If I achieved it I will receive a GO Pro. This was enough a motivation in doing it and achieving something greater than life things.

 

Posted in customer service, Startups

Learnings for better customer experience

“Your customer doesn’t know how much you know until you know how much they care”

Customers are affected by very small things much more than anything else. Customers are also human being and understand if something major is not working but when small things doesn’t work out the whole customer experience goes for a toss. Small things/ problems are perception driven and how we handle it defines our success in providing world class experience.

Customer experience or service is not only about solving the issues that occur to the customer, it is about listening to them, finding root cause, making sure that it doesn’t happen again and giving feedback to other functions to improve.

For this you need to spend time with customers rather than being engrossed in the product. We need to talk to them understand them, feel their pain points and then incorporate it in our offering, thus build great product and companies.

“Great Customer Service is not possible without a great product”

We should always get to the inherent need of customer through series of iterations and get to the final tipping point of the need and incorporate that in the product. For example, A person needs shoe polish to polish his shoe, but by polishing shoe he wants to take care of high value shoe, but he also wants to look good and feel good by doing so. This end point becomes the tipping need and hence if I make a shoe polish with inherent characteristic of a feel good factor it will instantly hit with the customer and hence a great customer experience.

Some of my learnings from working in this field are –

  • Customer experience Vision
  • Listen to what customers are speaking
  • Culture of Awesomeness
  • Continuous feedback to other functions
  • Pay attention to little things
  • Data driven proactive support
  • Leveraging Technology
  • Gamify the idea of customer service
  • Weed out wrong hires

This is based on the inherent assumption that things explained in the first part of the article are taken care of and we have an awesome product and all my executive knows it will. Then we can use the above learning to take the customer support to the next level.

 

Posted in Marketing

How to get first customers without spending much…

It is always hard to get first few customers. But in this digital age provides a lot of opportunities to find the first few right customers. When a business or individual is starting, marketing for them means getting customers without much spending, so that they confirm what they are doing and then move ahead and grow the business.
Some channels which has been useful for me time and again while building first audience are –

  • Facebook communities/ groups – They don’t charge any money and you can exactly find your target market and pitch your product to get first few customers. They also give you an opportunity to engage and take feedback so that you can improve. For example, sharing the blog in the relevant group wrt the domain and then driving traffic etc.
  • Blogs – Content is the king and a good engaging content shared across channels can garner good and relevant audience and attract relevant customers. You can read stories about the bloggers who actually earn more than most of us reading this. Content consumption has increased multifold and is an important element of brand building. This is slow but effective channel to get your customers listening.
  • Quora – This is a place where you can exactly find the people asking questions about the very problem you are trying to solve. You can reach out to them by answering their queries and then telling them about the business/ blog where they can find a perfect solution (which is your’s). When they see a value in the answer they in turn end up on your website/ blog and hence you drive quality traffic without cost which eventually can become your users/ customers.
  • Google Adwords – Using exact match keywords for your business/ blog will help you be very low on spending and get relevant leads from the mecca of searching where 72% of the world population go to get their problem solved. WOW!! That’s huge. This hugely helps to tap only relevant people and the cost of customer acquisition is very low.

These are the few tips and tricks that I have used in order to drive traffic to pokharnatalks.com other small business that I have helped. One last thing to take care is that you have to be digitally present on all the channels (Fb, Instagram, Twitter pinterest, reddit etc) so that the user has enough information about you in order to take a decision.