Club Mahindra – Making Room for IT

How do you measure the effectiveness of the promotional campaign?

Yes, measuring results at the end of the month, the technical marketing team will solve their issues. They look at the campaigns, how effective they are, how many leads they have generated and how many have been converted. After you get the lead and the sales team takes over, it is no longer the campaign’s effectiveness. And then it’s about how the sales machinery comes in, so that the closure and conversion rates are not completely dependent on the campaign. So campaigns are just to generate the primary interest in the customer.

How does the system help you in this?

Every lead that comes through is tacked to a campaign.

Earlier it wasn’t?

It was there but it was not precise.

I understand that lead poaching has been reduced with technology.

Once the sales team pitches it up, working in the same city you are not able to geographically demarcate.

In this business, you have someone you really can’t demarcate geographically in these sales parameters. The prospect may ask you to come to his residence for a talk. Another sales team with a different geography responsibility could attempt to talk to the same chap in his office.

So, if you have leads and you assign leads on the system, the invisibility should be there to make sure that one sales team does not have access to the leads of another sales team. With technology, that has reduced.

You said you chose Talisma out of two short-listed companies. Why Talisma? Lower costs?

Combination of everything — confidence in their pre-sales teams when they came and the preparedness while they were making the presentation.

So is this a software product that you have implemented here, or was a part of it customised?

There are certain pieces or components that were customised. Talisma is a product but it allows you to configure. We have an annual maintenance contract in addition to an initial licence fee. We had a fairly elaborate and sophisticated ranking system, the product, who owns the product, what are the future plans for the product, we’ve seen several releases already and because of that we did not consider a few products, as we were not very clear whether this product will be supportive in future or not.

If you look at Talisma’s architecture, it is very open to you to co develop it with them. Obviously there is a core piece that is proprietary.

The willingness and openness to share things is something that we saw right from the beginning. The confidence is there and we look at them as a partner and to have a long association with them.

Can you give us a brief of what exactly your company does?

We are positioned as a family holidays company. We are the only ones very active in this sector. I think hospitality, as a service, is probably the most challenging among all services. This is because in most other services, the proposition is tangible.

Say, for example, banking and other financial services — the ultimate aim is to bring some sort of financial return to the customer; airlines — theirs will be to transport their customers from place A to B — with or without frills is the customers’ choice. Cut to hospitality and that too, to a family hospitality company — we promise a great holiday for the entire family. Is it the sightseeing, is it the resort, is it the swimming pool — there is no single universally applicable thing you can do. So given the challenge that it is very subjective, we do the best to provide the family with a great holiday. Apart from these functional needs, we also need to take care of the emotional needs of the family.

The reason why I say that is if you look at most other services there is a core proposition in there which is fairly universal, it is pretty tangible and what I mean by that is: take banking services, financial services, everything else should do, the bells and whistles that you do is fine. These might be appreciated but at the end of the day the customer is looking for some sort of financial return. If you have mutual funds, you have your online statements, your access and the like. But if your portfolio is not performing, then nothing else matters. Look at airlines. Frills or no frills, the core is I need to get from place A to place B in the time committed.

Cut to hospitality and that to a family hospitality company, what is a great holiday, and we complicate it further for ourselves by positioning it for the entire family. Is it the sightseeing, is it the resort, the swimming pool, there is no single universally applicable thing that you can do, yes of course basic quality, hygiene, those things are all there, so given that challenge that its very subjective that we give them a great holiday. In fact, the functional and emotional needs exist across all services. In certain services, functional components are more important than the emotional components. For example banking. In hospitality, on the other hand, it’s all about emotions. At the end of the holiday, the customer should have felt great. And again this is subjective. What made one member of the family feel great will not hold good for the others. There is segmentation. For them the holiday qualifies as great if their kids have had a great time. Given this, we believe that unlike any other service, here the satisfaction cannot be measured. With this background, the whole thing boils down to what the customer really wants.

It’s all about emotions. At the end of the holiday he should have felt great. Again very subjective, what makes one family member great would not be as exciting for another. For some, the holidays is great if the kids have had a great time, so given the category as it stands we believe that unlike any other services where the satisfaction level can be measured.

Again, here, it is not the numbers or average or clusters, it is the individual. We are dealing with individual emotions, so it becomes critical to know every single customer. It is not a rhetorical line saying `know thy customer’. We need to know every individual, their families, and their children. We need to be proactive too; as children grow up, they become troublesome. You need to do something different when they come to the resorts. This is where technology steps in, in a big way. We need to be more functionally satisfying. We need to be accurate. We should know how much credit or balance we have of the inventory as we have a membership product.


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