Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hippo try pleasing you – the war of non fried chips

India is finally getting competitive, and one can see it even in chips that we eat. These are the days of no-oil chips, those that are  baked instead of fried. Aliva crackers, Smart chips are some of the more famous ones who advertise like there’s no end on the idiot box. While aliva is only masala, Smart chipse could have been better called as masala-fied biscuits.



This is where I tried Hippo and I must say I am impressed. With the way they attract customers, their pricing, and needless to say their taste. With atleast 3-4 flavours the chips are something to get easily addicted to. Tangy tomato, Yoghurt and mint (the maharaja’s recipe), Italian pizza, chinese Manchurian and other varieties have been lined up by Hippo to tickle your taste buds.



One thing with these non fried chips is that they dont exactly feel like chips, but rather biscuit-ish. But then the taste is equally close and enjoyable too. What mattered to me most was the way in which they gel with IT techies who are workaholic and how they show they care for such people with proper food items.

So Hippo atleast try, will you grant Hippo a chance?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Longest Solar Eclipse begins its reign, Bengaluru sun feels strange

Today is the longest solar eclipse for this millenium. The next time you can view such a celestial episode is by 3043, and surely you will not be alive by any means by then :) Rameshwaram and Kanniyakumari were two places where the eclipse looked great. Take a look at this video from Times Of India (Video has been removed).



The Bengaluru sky looked very overcast with no sunlight until almost 8am, and beyond that the sun tried peeking out of the clouds slowly and steadily. The atmosphere was one of some kind of devastation. No traffic on the roads, and no one to be seen doing their usual duties. The temples remained closed and by about 11am, the sun started showing up. The flare of the sunlight was brighter than usual, and most obviously even harmful too. Even with so much of sunlight, still the outdoors looked like being viewed with a tinted glass! There was a subtle amount of shade within the sun rays and even through office windows, the sunlight was pretty harsh.

Here are a few snaps I took of my crappy Blackberry 8520! Enjoy.





So when is the next such eclipse ? How about when you are married and have kids? Yes, its in 2020!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

ING Vysya Bank (Koramangala) : heralding the next revolution in banking?





We have seen many banks since a decade. With the pioneer Citibank deciding to set shop in India, its been no looking back for many banks since then to start enticing their customers in many different ways to retain them. The public sector banks too realized this down the line and banks like Canara Bank, SBI and Bank of Baroda have now quickly upgraded their service level to be both personal and professional to the extent that it matters.

If you have seen the Samsung advertisements their caption reads “Next is what?” This is the caption they have set as a vision to themselves to continually innovate all the time. So then can there be a banking experience similar to this? Today I had the pleasant experience of opening a savings bank account at ING Vysya Bank which I wanted to share with you for those whom it would matter. Read on.

I was an existing customer of ING who recently happened to close my account. I went to SBI to open a savings account. But the kind of reception I received there, and the kind of forms I had to fill put me back a little. I decided to give ING a try again. One has to understand that you can currently use your ATM card in other bank ATM’s upto 6 times a month free. But with ING’s Orange Savings Account and a minimum balance of Rs.10000, you can use their card at will at all possible ATMs for free unlimited number of times. Reason enough to try out ING again.

Now here comes the surprise. I walk into the branch. I stand next to counter 1 where there was some customer being attended to. Within ten seconds, the official asks me what I need and when I said Savings account, in less than a minute I am offered a seat, and a form to fill up. And if you thought I had to fill up thousands of details, you are wrong. I signed at relevant locations, gave him one photo, put in my nominee’s name and my mother’s name and bingo – its done.



The next thing I know is I am seated with the manager Ms.Shweta, who introduced herself and after some talk, I am given a welcome kit – yes then and there all in a total of less than five minutes. Can you believe what all the kit had? You won’t if I tell you – it had the debit card, the cheque book, the ATM Pin, the internet username and Pin, instructions on all types of account charges, mobile banking Pin, customer ID and account number details, and a visiting card of the manager for further queries! :) I was just DUMBSTRUCK at a loss for words. I could not believe that in ten minutes, I am walking out of the bank as an account holder with nothing more required than the details already provided.



One word - “Awesome!”. In the past ten years, never did I receive this kind of service from Citibank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, SBI, Bank of Baroda, ICICI, Canara Bank – none. Well done ING. Your customer service requires a blog post. I am more than pleased to invite others to meet you.

And as we all know managers make employees, not the other way. Ms.Shweta is proactive, informal, and inculcates a sense of belonging into all the bank employees, who do things in a right way in a very involved fashion. This is what is called zero-effort marketing. ING Vysya Bank, Koramangala is definitely an example of a well managed bank branch.

I will stick with ING as long as I can, just due to this one experience with many more to come. If you want me to describe ING Koramangala in one word – PROFESSIONALISM. Check it out yourself. And with the experience I have had at ING, there is no doubt that they will not realize their mission statement specified at the top of this post! :)

You can contact Shweta here: