Your Feedback – How much does it mean to the business?

The other day, kids had ordered some pizza at home. Upon it’s delivery, the delivery personnel, “Sir! My name is so and so from Swiggy. Please rate the delivery experience in the app and give us your feedback please. Thanks sir”

After each and every Ola journey, their app automatically beams ups the customer survey form. It takes about somewhere between 30 seconds and 1 minute to answer that survey. Nicely designed survey form! You won’t spending a lot of your time to fill out the form.

This is what my college-mate Usha Rangarajan, Founder & Managing Consultant, Unleash has emphasized in her article “Ms. Customer, here is my satisfaction form”. The design matters. The customer survey process/ form shouldn’t be tedious for the customers to fill out.

Actually, these feedbacks, surveys or the reviews are all different shades of the same thing; i.e., ‘your experience with that particular business’; ‘whether your experience with the business had been pleasant or not so pleasant’; ‘if pleasant – what made it so special for you’; ‘if itsn’t the case – then what went wrong’.

For us, the desis, giving feedback is either keeping mum or blasting off that employee or that business out of this universe. For example, if you look at a product review in any of the online shopping portals like Amazon, Flipkart et al, at the least, there would be some reviews. But for industrial machinery shops, if you visit their Google reviews, one may find hardly any reviews. Talking of Google reviews, we visit so many places, businesses which all can be reviewed there. But we choose not to do so. Just because, we don’t have time for these things. Period!

Sometimes, these reviews, feed backs might sound so good to be true. We’ve take them with a pinch of salt. But in the US of America, the “Yelp” app cuts down on those suspicious & so good to be true reviews, citing those particular reviews might’ve been generated by the that particular business owner him/herself in a dubious manner. My another college-mate Jayaraman who owns a couple of restaurants in CA, rues this particular algo of Yelp, saying that some genuine reviews by his guests are cut out by Yelp, just because his guests keep praising him lavishly by addressing his name.

Talking of generating reviews in a dubious manner, I’m reminded of “The Shed at Dulwich” (Thanks Krish for the link). Does it ring a bell? I ain’t gonna give away much but this particular UK restaurant – which never served a meal to any customer – had managed to come up as numero uno on trip advisor’s “Best 10 Restaurants in London”. Isn’t it something really funny? To read about it, here we go… The Shed at Dulwich .

Almost like an MLM scam, right? Actually, these MLMs, Emu sc(heme/am)s, et al are built upon a frenzied chains of feedback which are generally generated by the business owners themselves in order to con the public.

So, we can derive that while these feedback have the ability to make a business, they do have the ability to break it too.

Finally, coming back to the point, what do these businesses need from us in the name of customer survey? Nothing else but a fair and plain assessment of the experience we’ve had with them. They need our perspective on how they conduct business so that they can emphatically improve upon their service. Having a 35-years experience with the hospitality aka service aka hotel aka what not industries, a fair and cool-headed assessment would be win-win for both the customers and businesses.

By the way, all good things must come to an end and this article is also seeing its concluding lines. I know.. I know.. Your mind voices are going like, “Hey Babu! Idhu ennaa good-aa?”nnu. Don’t worry guys and gals, please share your feedback in the comments section below. Don’t be shy! So that you and your reviews will find a place in the history along with this PuligEsi (VaralaaRu mukkiyam, amaicharae! dialogue)

C U!

P.S: I know that I’m off a bit of myself on this article. Trying to connect too many dots and missing a few! But please, do share your comments!

Sema! Chance-ae illa! – International Women’s Day Special

I must confess that I usually don’t write about such special days. I let them pass by. But what’s happening today? Well! One of my college-mates has posted an article on her linkedin page, pleading other women to empower and appreciate the fellow women’s deeds.

Though Usha has pleaded fellow women, I take this opportunity to narrate  the experience I had yesterday at the vegetable market.


It was around 10:00 am and I was assigned (by who else! 🙂 ) to bring home some lemons and ginger. Here I went!

On reaching the market, first stop, must’ve been the ginger, greenchillies, kothmir shop; however, our ‘regular’ shop was shut and I had to go further down the road; all the way to the other end of the road to the next available ginger shop. I was strolling along, passing by many other vegetables, tomato, onions & such shops. En route, I decided to make the best use of the trip by buying some vegetables too. I, absent minded, stopped at a shop. But found no vendor was ‘manning’ the shop. There were shops selling vegetables on either sides of this shop and I still wonder why I chose this particular shop; no one manning the shop. Just thinking about whether to buy vegetables or not, I decided to skip the vegetables part and proceeded further down the road to buy ginger. I bought the ginger and walked back the same way. On both the sides of the road, in the market, you’ve got n number of shops selling the same stuff. But still I wonder why I had to stop at the same shop, again, on my way back too. Yup! I mechanically went back to the same shop; this time, I was lucky to find that shop being ‘manned’ by a ‘paatti ma’. (For those who wonder about these Tamil words in blog I’ll try to update you with their meanings. Paatti maa = A grandma like old lady).

With her ‘bokkai vaai’ gleaming: What do you want da, kannaa?

Me: Paatti maa, Ladies fingers – quarter kg please! Is it young and tender?

As it was away from my reach, well inside the shop, I couldn’t test it out myself. She didn’t even reply me; however, she took the liberty to snap a couple of ladies fingers to prove me that they’re tender, she was piling up the container with all the stock she had got.

Me: (Panickingly) Paatti maa, is it for me? Quarter kg is enough for me.

She: Take everything paa. Just over a kilo for 30 Rs only.

Me:! Quarter kg is enough for me. Actually, kids don’t eat vegetables at all. (I didn’t want to get shower from my BOSS, you know!)

She: (Without flinching) Ok! Take half a kilo for 15 Rs. Quarter kilo is 10Rs. (Now she is trying to reason out)

Me: No … Paatti maa! Half a kilo of vendakkaa (Lad Fing) is too much for us.

And only by now she had listened to my request and gave me what and how much I wanted.

In the meantime, there was another lady shopped joined me

Lady Shopper: Paatti maa, how much is tomato?

She: Take 3 Kilos for 25 Rs maa.

LS: How much is 1 kilo?

She: 1 kilo is 10 Rs. 3 kilos for 25 Rs.

Me: Paatti maa. Give me one drumstick too.

She: Take 3 for 20 Rs. 1 is 10 Rs.


Till this moment, I’m simply awestruck by this old lady’s up-selling techniques. In the Hotel & Cruise Industries, I’ve come across n number of training programs emphasizing the up-selling techniques to stay one step ahead of the pack. And, yesterday I met the epitome of up-selling! 

I’ve never shopped at her place all these years. But still wondering why I had stopped at her shop on my way up and down as well. Do you know why?


P.S: No need to say, I ended up buying 3 drumsticks and more than enough of bitter gourd, beets, carrots, beans and brinjal.

P.P.S: What a way to link Usha’s article and International Women’s Day and Ladies fingers. Sabaash da Baabu! 

(And my mind voice: Dei, the readers have to say ‘sabaash’; not yourselves)

And here is the link to Usha’s “A woman’s day plea to all women”

Guthi Vankaaya Kuura – Recipe

“Epdi irundha naan, ipdi aayittaen” moment! “Konjam TA; Konjam samaiyal”
காளையும், கர(ண்)டியும்! இது எப்டியிர்க்கு?

Some whole groundnuts have been lying at home for a while. They’re well dried in this pre-summer weather and well ‘muthhi’fied too. And to make it more interesting, some ‘pinju’ brinjals were there too.
I took stock of what else are available.
‘Vellai Ellu” No; but black ones were there. Okay; fine!
Grated coconumt – Yup! On hand.
These were good enough for me to look into making this ‘yummy’ Guthi Vankaaya kuura! And this dish requires a ‘masala filling which needs to be ‘tight’. So, let’s look into it first.
To make this ‘thick’ paste…..
White Till seeds (preferably) – 3 tbl sp. (I used black ones as White ones were n/a)
Whole Dhania seeds – 3 tbl sp
Groundnuts – 6 tbl sp ( Till: Dhania: Peanuts = 1.1.2)
Whole Red chillies – Around 25 numbers (Bajikkaly, we’re ‘golttis’; hence, this much. If you’re ‘suave’, you may tone down on these guys, as per your ‘kaaram’ tolerance. 🙂
Copra – (Dessicated coconut or grated coconut) – 3 to 4 tbl sp.
Jeera – 1 tsp (Just a touch only; no need to be lavish on this one)
Dry roast the above stuff, separately, yup! separately until they’re golden brown. Make sure you do it on a low flame; you don’t want to burn them. Let them cool down. Add enough salt and grind them together into a powder first. Then add just enough H2O to make it into a thick paste. Again, you can let the mixie jar help you to make this powder into a thick paste.
Now, you should have this ‘gama, gama’ paste ready.
P.S: Make sure this paste a bit spicier than your usual as the addition of tamarind pulp while making gravy will tone down the ‘kaaram’ness.
Next, check this paste for salt too. This is more important as this is the one which is going to make those brinjals ‘yummy’.
In the meantime, cut and get ready the brinjals. You should know how to get them ready for ‘Nuuna vankkaaya pulusu’. With the ‘kaambus’ cut off; just bit of those ‘skirtings’ still on; and slitting them into four from bottom; not all the way across those skirtings but only up till those skirtings. “kat aachi; aanaa, kat aagala” like cut, it should be.
Check these brinjals for any ‘sothais’ and discard them. Soak the remainder in salt water.
Now, stuff these brinjals with the thick paste, we’ve already made.
If you’ve still some more paste available, even after stuffing all the brinjals, don’t worry; we can use it up in the gravy.
Okay! Stuffing done and over with. Let’s move on to make the gravy.
Oops! Some prefer to make this guthi vankaaya kuura dry; sans gravy. Mine is a variation and I ‘luv’ it as gravy. If you prefer to treat me with drier version, hey, who am I to complain? I’ll enjoy it too! Cheers!
Prep: Half a lemon sized tamarind – into pulp, please!
A couple of onions – chopped
And a couple of green chillies – slit (don’t bother to chop them too); some curry leaves, mustar seeds for tempering.
Gingelly oil is the ‘nalla ennay’ for this guy. But at home, no takers for it except me. So, I mix it with my share of rice. 🙂
Garlic – about 10 – 15 ‘pallus’
1. Heal oil in a pan or kadai. Add mustard seeds for tempering. Once it crackles, add chopped onions, slit green chillies, curry leaves & garlic and ‘vadhakki’fy for a while.
2. Now add the stuffed brinjals (make sure you’ve enough oil in the kadai) and cover the kadai with a lid. On a low flame, let the brinjals get vadhakkified.
3. Turn those brinjals over and sautee for another two minutes or so.
4. Make sure that you don’t burn the masala. Now add the tamarind pulp and any left over, excess masala paste. Add some water & again check for salt.
5. Cover and cook for about 8 – 10 more minutes on a low flame.
6. Now, you should have this thick, spicy, tasty guthi vankkaaya kuura ready!
7. If your neighbors ask you about ‘what’z cookin?’, then the credit goes to you for the way you’ve masterfully dry roasted those sesame seeds, dhania and groundnuts. Good job!
8. Bon Apetit!

Don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients’ ratio and mess around with them to get what’s correct for you! Hey! Cooking is fun! 🙂

Please do drop in a line or two saying how well you’ve managed to cope up with my recipe ‘shtyle’. Cheers!