The Hall was packed to full; the morning radiance had cast its spell, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee permeated the room. The Business leaders of Company X were joined by two business leaders from the UK.
They were searching for an appropriate partner for outsourcing their project. In this quest they had covered about half of Asia and Europe. Ireland, China, France and Philippines were part of his itinerary but he finally zeroed in on India. Now just to be happy of receiving this distinction does not provide much value to us, but as to why we received it lies the key factor.
To extract such crucial information is a skill or should we say an art of its own and only a handful of people have mastered it to perfection.We were in luck and had a person whose expertise in this field was unquestionable and he took on the mantle to ask the client this tricky Question.
According to the client, the Irish accent can be deciphered only by their next of kin. The French were hampered by their language barrier, and also by their ‘antagonism’ to the cultures of the rest of the world. The Filipinos had been short-listed but their overtly demanding nature that almost led to an altercation spooked the client.
Any way what we are interested in is – Why India???
Pat!came the reply which will send everyone who reads this to the moon and back. He appreciated the huge strides India has made in the IT services industry during the last decade, complimented the quality of our work, the cost factor, the efficiency, language, adaptability, cultural sensitivity .Sounds flattering right?
Now comes the flip side of the story; We know that nobody is perfect. So we asked about what he considers our drawback.
His reply – “Indians are hard of hearing”.
What? Sorry, we didn’t get you.
“Indians jump the gun”.
The client’s words can be explained with the following three scenarios:
A new project has to be executed. The client starts explaining the details of the project.
When he has barely uncovered one-fourth of the plan, we already have an idea of what the client wants, how it works, its design… The whole map of the project has been charted out in our heads.We run to our workplace with an energy and drive that could undertake 2-3 space expeditions in 24 hours.We slog over it night and day and EUREKA! We are done with it and make the earliest appointment with the client to showcase our product.
The D-Day arrives; everything is in place. The presentation is carried out to perfection masking even the minutest of flaws which could have caused trouble.We are about to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.But wait!The client gets up and says “That was an excellent presentation, but that was not what I had asked for”.The audience is dumbstruck.We try convincing the client that what we had shown him is what he had asked us to do.He replies “What you have done is indeed what I have asked you to,but that’s only half the story”.
After being reprimanded by our bosses, we start the project all over again, the only difference now is that we focus on delivering what the client actually needs.
Where did we go wrong?
Its simple- we just heard the first part of what the client wanted and having made a brief sketch of it in our mind we ignored the remainder of what the client had to say.
Now the Million $ question. How can we overcome this pitfall?
1) Listen completely to what the client has to say.
2) If you don’t understand something don’t feel ashamed to ask again. It’s better to get
things clarified than Phase 3 to occur.