My story on this International Women’s Day

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Firstly wish everyone  a Happy Women’s Day !!.

This day is celebrated worldwide to mark women’s achievements. But why do we need to celebrate this day ? It’s because women in many countries are still treated as second grade citizens and are not treated on par with men.

Women hold up half the sky – Mao Zedong

There’s a lot of discrimination and prejudice against women. Many men are bred with a mindset that women are not supposed to do certain things, and so many women even today can’t have a career, as their role is thought to be of a homemaker.  In the developed countries women have fought for their rights since years and hence they now have equality in many aspects including careers. But in many under developed countries there’s still gender prejudice.

I too faced many challenges and struggles as a woman in India inspite of being highly educated. India is largely a patriarchal society with most men not believing in women’s abilities. I remember when I passed out of college years back and applied for a job with a company, they preferred hiring my male friend over me, even though I had better grades and had a good personality (in many ways ) than my male friend.  I lost opportunities as men didn’t want to hire women or didn’t believe in women’s ability. My male friends from college all found good jobs (one of whom even had copied entire xam paper from me) but I didn’t find good jobs. At that time I didn’t understand that there was  discrimination in the mind of the hiring manager,  and  so I kept trying and getting many degrees , as I thought I was not hired due to lack of education.

Only years later I realized how hiring takes place in India. There’s a lot of bias towards candidates from a particular gender, caste,age and all other things(even in MNC’s). Most hiring managers are lazy  (some corrupt)and would rather hire someone they know and hence their friends will get jobs (that’s why there are far too many incompetent people working in Indian organisations including MNC’s). Other than campus placements most other jobs are filled by references and recommendations. Most women who have found jobs are the ones who are related or come through someone’s reference.  (I have years of research on this)

Here’s one link to an article on discrimination on women in bollywood in 2014.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/11/04/india-bollywood-women-idINKBN0IO12820141104

This case went to supreme court in India  and even till date some men have not accepted the gender bias. Most other cases go unnoticed and who can question a hiring manager (as they are all good at giving excuses if at all caught, which rarely happens)

Even today women from India who have no male support- struggle, although it’s become easier compared to a decade back for women to be in a career. Many times there’s news in the media about how companies are willing to hire women after career break  and give more and equal opportunities to women , but most news is just that- news. Reality is different and the only women who probably get hired are related to the hiring managers. At interviews in India, no male candidate is ever asked about his marital status, but a woman is always asked about her marital status and a lot of assumptions are made to reject her.  I know this from personal experience as well as having talked to a lot of people, especially women who’ve struggled.

On the basis  of my education,talent  and ability I should have been getting better work opportunities and should have been at a higher post.  But I never gave up and kept on trying and doing different things. I just hope people stop stereotyping on the basis of gender, and look for talent and ability of  a  person, and I hope more and more women get better work opportunities ,commensurate and  on par with men. (I want to challenge every Director /Manager working in Indian MNC on why they think they deserve those jobs ) 

This international womens’ days let’s just together voice our concern and be heard. Best wishes to all women to get out and realize their dreams.   

About the Author  : Suejata is an internationally acclaimed Author, Coach ,Consultant, Solo World Traveller, having varied work and life experiences. She has a  masters degree in marketing from London , has developed CRM softwares in the past, worked in customer service of  Norwich Union Insurance, worked as a Research Manager and  has many other  experiences. She’s the only solo woman traveller from India to have travelled to more than 30 countries ,and also runs a travel and lifestyle site. For Marketing/Branding needs get in touch with her.

 

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Feel free to get in touch with her  on suejatalondon@gmail.com or follow her on linkedin,

https://www.linkedin.com/in/suejatalondon

or Like her FB page Suejatas-Lifestyle

Also check out

www.facebook.com/penguinmarketingsolutions

 

Also contact her for research and mystery shopper experience if you want to know the truth and improve your products and services.

Check out

www.facebook.com/penguinmarketingsolutions

Her books are found on

Shopcart 

or on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Plan-Your-Travels-Abroad-ebook/dp/B00A776LPE

 

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This entry was posted on March 8, 2015, in Home Abroad.

3 Reasons-Customer Service Skills Are Essential For Customer Facing Staff

Customer-Service

 

The thought of writing this post came to my mind due to my recent experiences with people working in companies handling accounts who aren’t trained in these skills. I was surprised to know that even a company like Google in India, does not train it’s customer facing staff in handling customers. I recently dealt with Google Adwords (India Campaign handler) and I was assigned a dedicated campaign manager to handle my Adwords account and was happy to know that he would help me with managing my account. I was actually surprised to know that the account planner was only trained in the technical skills but not in customer service skills,as he didn’t handle the call properly. He didn’t listen to the customer and was a bit arrogant initially and only mellowed when I reminded him of the customer service ,that he was supposed to provide me. There was also an issue with their free coupon which was again not sorted out professionally.Ironically they have a customer satisfaction survey readily mailed to the customer, but the employees(in India atleast) aren’t trained in handling customers.

This is just one example, there are many companies in India and I’m talking about all professional companies  like Flipkart ,Tata-Docomo,Vodafone,Jetairways and many more who have untrained staff.(If you represent any of these companies , this is precisely why you should treat your customers properly o.w they’ll tell the whole world ) 

When we talk about customer service, generally everyone visualizes the customer service department of an organisation . Many people think that this skill is required only by people dealing in customer service and complaints department. What most people fail to realize is that this skill is not only important and required by the service staff but by all those who deal with customers directly ,whether that be Campaign managers, Account planners/managers, Business Developers, Consultants and others.

So here are the 3 reasons why customer service skills are essential for customer facing staff :

1) These skills helps you to handle customer queries and complaints in a more polite and professional way.

2)They help you to listen to customers and resolve issues amicably.

3)They help you to keep a cool head even if the customer is wrong, and enables you to handle irate customers .

Even if you are a company with millions of customers, still losing a customer due to lack of these skills or politeness is harmful to your reputation.

About the Author  : Suejata is an internationally acclaimed Author, Coach ,Consultant having varied work experiences. She has a marketing degree from London , has developed CRM softwares in the past, worked in customer service of  Norwich Union Insurance, and also worked in customer research. She helps streamline your customer service, so do get in touch with her on suejatalondon@gmail.com or follow her on linkedin.  

Like her FB page Suejatas-Lifestyle

Also contact her for research and mystery shopper experience if you want to know the truth and improve your products and services.

Check out

 www.facebook.com/penguinmarketingsolutions

Her videos  are found on

Softskills

Her books are found on

Shopcart 

or on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Plan-Your-Travels-Abroad-ebook/dp/B00A776LPE

 

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2015, in Home Abroad.

10 Business Etiquette Rules You Didn’t Know You Need to Master

When you think of the word etiquette, you might be imagining a Miss Manners book from the 1950s. Proper business etiquette, however, is about much more than using the right salad fork. Etiquette might seem old fashioned, but it’s also an essential business tool. If you’re ignoring proper business etiquette, you’re doing so at your own peril. With more employers hiring based on company culture fit and communication skills, you can’t really afford to display ill manners. Whether you’re trying to nab a great job or finally nail that promotion, your manners matter much more than you might think.

Here are 10 business etiquette rules you might not have ever considered which can help you climb higher on your career ladder without stepping on any toes:

1. Introduce yourself with your full name. When first meeting someone, whether in a boardroom or a networking event, always introduce yourself with your full name. No matter the situation, the name of the game is to be as memorable as possible. If you only use your first name, your new contact might later struggle to remember which Kevin or Rachel you were. This is another reason why having business cards to hand are always a good idea, no matter the circumstance. Unless you’re Madonna, always include your last name in introductions.

2. Uncross your legs. Crossing your legs can be distracting, and even just a little bit too sexy. More importantly, however, is the health concerns. Crossing your legs can be very bad for your circulation.

3. Limit your “thanks yous.” It’s great to be grateful, but you don’t want to be overly thankful. Saying too many thank yous in a single conversation can actually work in reverse to your meaning, diluting the impact of your initial thanks. It can also work to make you come off as needy and unsure of yourself.

4. Keep your lunch in the kitchen. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at work and decide you don’t even have 20 minutes to eat lunch. Instead, you end up eating lunch hunched over your desk looking at spreadsheets. Not only is this a sad state of affairs for you, it’s also not great for your coworkers. Most of your coworkers don’t want to hear you crunching lettuce or smell your reheated leftovers. Take the time out of your day to eat lunch in the kitchen or common areas, even if it means taking only a short lunch. Your coworkers, and your stomach, will thank you.

5. Always pick up the tab if you did the inviting. If you invited clients or coworkers out to dinner, don’t look for contributions when the bill comes. If you were the host of the evening, proper etiquette dictates it’s your turn to pay the bill.

6. Keep personal items off the table. Today, we’re all very attached to our cell phones…maybe a little too attached. Many of us will put our cell phone right beside us when dining, like an uninvited dinner guest. If you choose to do this, know your smartphone is probably not the only uninvited guest. In fact, cell phones are great for sharing more than pictures and status updates, they’re also great for sharing bacteria.

7. Don’t ask an overwhelming amount of questions in meetings. When you go to a meeting, it’s always good to come with a few questions in tow. The keyword here is “a few.” You don’t want to overwhelm the meeting host or overtake the meeting agenda by asking a barrage of 20 questions. Choose your most important questions and wait until the end of the meeting to ask. If you leave with more questions, you can always ask later over email instead of wasting your coworkers’ time.

8. Don’t just walk into someone’s office. “Hey Bob, you busy?” The answer is probably yes, but perhaps Bob is too uncomfortable to immediately shoo you out. By walking unannounced into someone’s office, you assume you have the right to interrupt another’s work. Instead of just shambling in whenever you please, take a few minutes to call or email and set up a time to talk.

9. Reply to all on emails when it’s necessary. The “reply all” function can be dangerous. But if you forget to use it when needed, you’re creating a lot of extra, unnecessary work for others. Now, people won’t stay in the loop, and time is wasted.

10. Remove people from email threads who don’t need to be there. Conversely, there’s nothing more annoying than getting stuck on an email thread when you’re not needed. You come back from lunch and suddenly your inbox is bursting, except none of the emails are relevant to your work at all. Before starting an email chain, make sure everyone involved needs to be kept in the loop on all work. If someone on the chain might not appreciate a barrage of emails, leave them off and only send updates when necessary. Proper business etiquette can help you move up the ladder by endearing you to your bosses and coworkers.

Keeping an eye on proper manners can do more for your career than you might think. What do you think? What are some simple business etiquette rules you live by? Share in the comments!

About Ilya Pozin: Serial entrepreneur, writer and investor.
 

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2015, in Home Abroad.