Sunday, September 23, 2012

Real vs. Virtual

It’s sometimes unnerving to work as an offshore partner and when you visit a Real branch, you realize how far you are from the actual world and reading data is just a small part of the whole game. The customer representative asked me to show her my account details on one of the fancy screens she had in the branch. I saw people picking up the phones and directly contacting the call centre guys. The representatives could speak decent English and most importantly, knew whom to ask about the problems at hand.

The customer representative took me to the cabin of the Branch manager. He asked me why was I not primarily banking with them and shared some investment ideas he had for me. He laughed and giggled at the current Political affairs. I saw that he read Economic Times and was comfortable discussing his opinions. May be because I was sitting in the Branch Manager’s office that people served me with drinks (I realized that later). Something astonishing happened as I was planning to leave the room along with the representative. An old man walked in without permission, looked at the representative, gave a stare which meant something like “Get lost while I'm talking here” and announced to the manager ‘I have great news for you’. He talked about his selection as a health minister, how he stood second in the elections and how difficult it was fighting the cut-throat competition. The Branch manager was delighted, his face started glowing all of a sudden. He preferred ignoring us, the existing inhabitants of the room and continued the conversation with the old man. While they were talking, I noticed that there were a few awards given to the branch for their great service, for customer experience, for crossing 1000 crores in deposits, for being one of the best in a quarter, etc. I felt that the old man must be one of those ‘Big-shots’ as people call them here. I sneaked out and as expected, no one noticed.

May be he was the guy whom I like analyzing when he makes an entry into the dataset – huge Asset balance, some n-number of Savings and Current accounts, Investable balance greater than XX INR, attended by a relationship manager or an Independent Financial Advisory, Mortgages in the best parts of the country, a perfect Credit history, brilliant behaviour Score and high Lifetime Economic Profit. Maybe I should re-think about this incident when I get excited about studying them from next time.

The bank’s punch line means that they understand a customer’s world. In a way, I think they do!