Delivering the first keynote at the inaugural TVNEws4U.com Straight Talk – The Brand Stories, H Vasanthakumar, Founder and MD, Vasanth & Co. and Vasanth TV, and honorable member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, advocated relentless hard work, empathy and focus on satisfying every customer for businesses and brands trying to make their mark in the Tamil Nadu market.
He also underlined the challenges from online commerce for the traditional retail industry and revealed that the industry is in talks with manufacturers to protect the brick and mortar retail business and its employees.
Commitment has no substitute
Recounting his early days, he noted that in his first eights years as part of VGP and Sons, as well as in the ensuing 40 years as entrepreneur, he has reached work on time. “You can have an automatic watch, but you have to move your hand for it to work,” quipped the pioneer of retailing in Tamil Nadu.
“One must aspire for success; but you need to pay the price for it,” he noted. Addressing the issue of customer satisfaction, he underlined the need to value the aspirations of the smallest customer walking in to the store.
“Not every customer is wealthy. We need to respect the small customer, who has saved money over 10 or 20 months to come and buy a TV. He has to believe that Vasanthakumar will give him a good product. And we must value his money even more than that of the large customers. It is more giratifying to satisfy that small customer,” he explained.
Elaborating on the subject of customer satisfaction, he revealed that the retailer had over 60 people just to address grievances of consumers.
“We’ve given the customer the right to come to me and say that he isn’t satisfied or the product isn’t working. That’s why you see my picture in every promotion. That’s our commitment- they can come to me,” he added.
The online commerce threat
Terming online commerce as a ‘huge threat’ to traditional retailers, Vasantha kumar revealed, “We’re speaking to manufacturers. It’s not just about Vasanth & Co. Livelihoods of many, many people depends on the retail business.”
Understanding the consumer and their aspirations is something the traditional retailer is adept at, noted the speaker. He surmised with an appeal: “Please don’t buy online. Buy at any store; you don’t have to come to my store. But buy at a store, so the livelihood of people working in every store is secure.”