Saturday, February 11, 2012


Customer Relationship Building Skill   by Prof. P.K.Keshap

in Business / Customer Service    (submitted 2011-09-27)

A farmer told me this story from his own real life. Age of the farmer was about 78 years as declared by him.
Babuji, it was about 30 years back. My elder son was studying in M.Sc. Chemistry. My another son was in B.Com. I had no money to support my family of 3 sons, 4 daughters and wife. We were 9 members to survive on Rs. 1000 i.e. $ 20 per month. The time was very tough. I remained under mental pressure and tension. There was no source of income except 2 crops which we Jats sow in our fields.
My elder son asked me for some clothes so that he might go to college. He showed me torn clothes. I was perturbed and still collected courage to say, " Don't worry my son, I will arrange clothes for you." How can a father tell to his son that father is unable to arrange clothes for his dear, son? It will derail the credibility of father in the mind of the son. Babuji my both sons are very hard working and no bad habit they have.
I went to the shop of cloth-seller. Throughout the day I sat but could not ask the shop keeper to give me cloth on credit. I came back home. My wife asked me about the cloth but I told her that shop keeper was not there. The real reason I concealed.
Next day again I went to the shop of cloth seller. Many customers were coming and going. I could not dare to ask him for the cloth. I sat for about 4-5 hours and went on talking about different happenings in the village. Shop keeper knew that Sardarji comes and talks a lot. His servants served me water and tea. I enjoyed there hospitality. When there was none, I found an opportunity to talk to the cloth seller and disclose the real issue.
"Lalaji, my son is studying in the college. You know that he needs clothes for wearing in the college. Please help me." First he was reluctant to help. But I pleaded and persuaded him. Lalaji agreed to give cloth on credit. The bill for clothes for son, another sons, daughters and wife all totaled Rs. 2700/- in those good times. I promised to pay when the next crop comes and sold into the market.
Due to heavy rains and floods, our crop was destroyed and we were forced to be without food not to speak of paying the debt. I requested the shop keeper to give more time to pay back the debt. But the shop keeper created a hue and cry. Many times, he visited my home and used foul language in front of my children. I felt very bad but could not do anything. I had to chew those poisonous words. I had no option but to request him with folded hands to postpone the recovery of debt so that I might pay when the next crop comes and sold in the market.
Instead of giving me time to pay back the debt, shop keeper filed a suit in a court of law.
I was summoned by the honourable court. I was under great mental pressure and was fearing that court will send me to jail. On the day of hearing, I went to the honourable court. Mixed thoughts were coming to mind. One was that if judge sahib will order to pay immediately, how will I pay. Another was, if I don't pay, judge sahib can order the police to send me to jail. Prayers were on my lips.
But Babuji, that day I came to know honourable judges are no less than God. A man came and pronounced mine and shop keeper's name. Fearful and trembling, I went inside the court room. Judge Sahib was sitting on the chair with two persons around him and I was praying to Waheguru(God).
Judge Sahib very patiently listened to me. I expressed my inability to pay back the debt immediately. Judge Sahib asked me how much could I pay easily. I told Rs. 300/- per month. But honourable judge sahib ordered to pay Rs. 300/- in a semester taking into account two crops a farmer like me receives during a year.
Further I prayed to judge Sahib that shop keeper must inform me in advance when he will come to collect the amount of Rs. 300/- Judge Sahib ordered this too. That day I came to know that we all should respect law. Nobody is above law. Law is very good for we all. I bowed to Judge Sahib and came out of the court. Even I bowed at the door of the court too.
Thereafter, to collect Rs. 300/- in a semester Lalaji used to come on car 2 times during those days. First time, to give information that I should arrange for Rs. 300/- and then to collect that arranged sum of Rs. 300/- There were no phones in those days.
Then I advised that Lalaji. By going to court Lalaji, you have lost a good customer. I used to buy clothes from your shop and pay you in cash because I had to pay you Rs. 2700/-. I tolerated your high toned verbal abuses because I had to pay you a sum of Rs. 2700/-.Always I crossed your shop because I owed you Rs. 2700/-. But despite my so many requests, you went to the court and honourable court order paying you Rs. 300/- in a semester. Now, you will recover Rs. 2700/- in a period of 4 .5 years. For recovering this Rs. 300/- , now you visit my house 2 times. That also costs you Rs. 100/- in terms of petrol and car repair. You cannot charge interest. In total you will recover Rs. 2700/- and spend Rs. 900 to Rs. 1000/- i.e. net you have got Rs. 1700/- . Who is the loser me or you?
You appear to be very poor in Customer Relationship Building Skills. You satisfied your ego and lost a customer for whole of life.
Babjui, now my sons earn more than Rs. 1.00 lac a month. My eldest son is in America. Second is a professional accountant and third is in farming. We have 3 cars and one tractor.
When I cross that Lala's shop, I smile and he turns his head away and lowers his eyes because every body in the village knows this incident. Lala feels shame now. Lalaji escapes meeting me when we meet in village ceremonies like functions or marriages.
Bad times do not subsist forever. Who is poor and needy may become wealthy tomorrow. We should not treat him shabbily. Now my bad time has turned into good time and I am very happy. Sabh Kujh Waheguru da hai. He helps everywhere.

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