Birthday in the flat world..

My phone beep woke me up!

It was 6 in the morning on a Sunday. Irritated to be woken up that early in the morning I checked the phone. It was a message from our daughter’s school wishing her on her birthday! It certainly was a very nice gesture for her school to wish her on her birthday.

Knowing how customer focused, process driven and technology enabled her school is; receiving the text was not surprising.

I recall it took me all of 30 minutes to apply for our daughter’s admission – sitting in the comfort of our living room. A simple online form needed to be filled with scanned image of the supportive documents to be uploaded. Finding the documents that needed to be scanned took a while else it would have taken not more than 10! Five minutes after I clicked submit, yes I received a text on my phone confirming that our application had been received. Few days later we received another text and an e-mail informing us of the interview schedule and contact details.

Reminded of a time, not too long ago, (in few schools even now) when one has to spend minimum 2-3 days to apply for school admission. All that efforts, just to get hold of the application form. Then the journey of applying begins, getting information on other steps such as interview schedule are even more challenging.

Thinking of a simpler process and using technology intelligently the experience could be made hassle free and hence allowing parents to savor this key milestone event in their lives.

It is always the thought that counts and finding tools to enable is most often the easiest part! The thought is driven by the principles may be in this case wanting to be customer (parent) focused.

At this point business of primary school is still a seller’s market i.e. demand for school is higher than there are number of schools. I am sure when the supply finally catches up with the demand institutions such as these are well placed to delight their customers hence retain their lead.

All this effort is not just about delighting the customers, getting these right saves money.

In the case of our daughter’s school if they have been measuring parameters such as cost of application processing and cost of admission per student they must be reducing. Automation i.e. making the applicants enter data through a simple internet application has taken out the cost of data entry. A well designed portal on the internet providing necessary information has reduced the load on staff to handle parent’s queries.

This reduces cost of doing business hence impacting schools bottom-line. For parents (customers) smooth efficient process provides excellent customer experience.

Technology is touching and transforming our lives. Bringing people closer and hence empowering us like never before – thanks to blogs we were able to locate a school for our daughter in no time!

The question is how many of the organizations are leveraging it for the benefit of their critical stakeholder: customer?

Would love to hear what has been your experience getting your child into a school of your choice?

2 thoughts on “Birthday in the flat world..

  1. Hi Sanjay,

    I am not very IT literate or educated. But I do understand the concepts. As far as “educational institutions” are concerned, managements are still in the “pre-industrial revolution” era, at which point of time, all that was required was man-power, likewise here, “student-power” (read that as “numbers”). The concept of these managements being “customer-oriented” is alien them because no educational institution administration will admit that they are a “business” (they all want to be placed on a pedestal for rendering an “honourable” service to society, while everyone else is clearly aware of what is actually going on). But I do admit that there ARE some institutions which are genuine in their service to their respective communities/society.

    Ironically, it is these very ‘educational institutions” which need the education.

    I wish you all success!

    1. Hi Eslyn,

      Many thanks for stopping by.
      Your observation is spot on. The primary objective of this blog is to start exactly this kind of conversation!

      The points you made about educational institution is applicable several private enterprises as well ! The only difference being that private enterprises are clearly are in business. In terms of being customer-oriented they still have a long way to go. May be its due to historical reasons as India’s economy was liberalized quite recently and till then most businesses enjoyed the protection “license/permit raj” provided them.

      Finally it all boils down to the leadership if the leader chooses to become customer centric, relevant processes and technology falls in place.

      In the flat-world cost of getting these are not high. Internet provides all the necessary information and cloud (Software As a Service) helps keep the cost considerably lower.

      Cheers,
      Sanjay

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