Sunday, January 11, 2009

Case Study: Why All Restaurants Close Down Here?

What is your view of a building (currently a restaurant called Blue Flames) located in New Garden Town, Lahore. I know, I know...again Garden Town, right? But what can I do? My route to my university and office passes from Garden Town. So anyway, what about that building, huh?
When I came here to Pakistan, it was a day care for children called something like Dawn DayCare. It was a pretty building then, with blue painting and a circular window in the middle. Then one day, while coming back from my campus, I saw the building being renovated. We later found out the owner of Mr. Cod had taken over this place. They changed the whole look of the building by giving it a cool boat-looking shape.
However, Mr. Cod lasted only one year or even less. It was then bought by Kims Restaurant. That too, didnt stay for long. Finally, a few days ago I saw the letters of Kims being replaced with the letters Blue Flames.
Now, we have to see how long does Blue Flames stay there.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Customer Service of MCB

Customer Service still needs a lot of improving in banking sector here. Take MCB for instance. Fed up of its rude service (the New Garden Town Branch, LHR), I've decided to switch to another bank. More than two times I've been mistreated; even though I was a regular customer. And I'm not alone. I've seen them behaving this way to a lot of other customers as well.
Hiring a helpdesk officer doesn't help if your staff is not well trained to talk to a customer. And its not the customer's fault if you're having a bad day. Never heard the phrase, "Customer is the king"? And it especially holds true for banks where customer service is a major ingredient.
I really hope MCB starts its training sessions soon. Otherwise they're going to lose a lot of customers like me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Universal Language

In his novel 'The Alchemist', Paulo Coelho talked about a strange phenomenon called Universal Language. I'm not here to discuss his views and ideas about 'univeral language'; rather, I'm more interested in the term itself since it triggered me to reflect about the concept.
I think we all have or know one universal language. I don't want to dive into the depth of this subject and so, will try to keep it as simple as possible. This is how I think universal language exists. The biggest prove of existence of universal languge can be found through the existence of body language. All around the world, every human being poses some specific gestures common to all. When angry, we all frown. When nervous, we all fidget. When lying, almost all can't look into the eyes of the other person. To show an uncaring or indifferent behavior, we all shrug.
These behaviors show that there is some language we all understand. However, I think there's more to this language than just silent motions and gestures and we need to do an extensive research into this phenomenon to discover that universal language.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Need for Case Studies

We study various case studies and research papers of Harvard and Oxford. What I don't understand is, why doesn't anybody write case studies for the Pakistani companies or even the multinational companies based in Pakistan?

I was talking to my friend the other day and we were discussing the sudden jump in sales of Gourmet Bakers and Sweets and its rapid diversification into various products. I mean, I am amazed - mashaAllah.
First, they followed a kind of proximity marketing strategy where they penetrated into the market by spreading their chains in so many localities within close spaces. Secondly, they launched products that became the cause of trouble for market giants like Pepsi and Nestle. For example, their ice cream came into head-on competition with Walls; Gourmet Cola with Coca Cola and Pepsi, Gourmet Milk with Nestle Milk, Haleeb and all those and Gourmet Water with Nestle Water and other such companies. They had been gradually making their way into the market leadership and now they've attained that position; leaving Nirala and Shezan Bakers behind in this industry.

Now this can be a wonderful case study material! But who is there to write it and why should anyone bother? I agree that teaching foreign case studies is the best thing to do and we are way too behind the foreign countries in strategy formulation and implementation. Yet, by studying our own companies, we would be able to better comprehend the local trends and identify the shortcomings. Plus, we would be assuring our students that there is some hope for the Pakistani companies and that we, too, have great strategists and marketers present amongst us.

This leads to another point - who should write a case study? I believe this should be the subject matter of universities and colleges. Obviously, how can one write a case study when one doesn't know how to? Therefore, our scholars and academics need to realize this need and embed it in their course contents.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Working in Veil?

How many girls out there ever faced a problem finding a job because they wear a veil or even a simple hijab? I know I did. It took me almost a year to find a good job. Wherever I'd go for an interview, I would see heads turning, mouths gaping and sounds of whispers coming from around. What I dont understand is, why is this such a big deal? I mean, if this was France or United States or any other Non-Muslim country, it would have been justifiable. But this is the 'ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan' for heaven's sake!
An hr lady at Ufone told me, for example, that hijab would violate their culture. WHAT culture?? Where did this culture come from? Who is the owner of this culture?? Another absurd statement I came across was, "How will we know the girl in veil is you or someone else?" Yar, give me a break! Third allegation was that customers will have problem if they can't see the face. Agreed to some extent. But let me tell you, currently I am working as an HR Executive in a consulting company that has projects all over the world. I haven't gotten a single complaint from my colleagues that they're having a problem talking to me and sharing their problems. Not only that, but a colleague of mine who also wears a veil goes to the client side and interacts with the customers. She has also worked with foreign clients and never once such complaint was issued.
The thing is, its all in our head. We've tried to become so much westernized that we've starting believing what they believe and saying what they say. Agreed that body gestures count a lot and facial expressions is a crucial part. However, this doesn't mean your company goes into losses if a customer can't see your face. If that was so, call center business wouldn't be existing today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


How many guys out there simply hate the parade the troops do at Wagha Border? I mean, showing off the country's pride is something else; overreacting is a different story. What kind of action is to cock your head sideways and put your arms over your hips to portray your attitude? I mean, come on!
No doubt, they also do some cool tactics but seriously, some changes have to be made in the overall design of the parade.

And hey, this is only my view - you reserve the right to disagree.