Monday, July 16, 2007

Hospitality and Money

There are a few recent incidents which got me thinking. Hospitality ... a la South Asia. And, this prompted me to write on this subject.

Different societies and different cultures have different outlooks to guests. These could vary from the American way (do they really have to come??), to the South Asian way, of Atithi Devo Bhava (Guest be God) ...

What I feel, this cultural difference shows. Very clearly visible in the hospitality and hospitality related businesses (travel, tourism, aviation, customer service ...).

The overriding impression I get in the Occident (I think the word is still valid, Pax Americana and Thomas Friedman notwithstanding) that the hospitality sector is not into it for serving the customer. Rather, they are in it with both eyeballs on your Wallet.

While nobody is in it for charity, because of this cultural difference, the differences in behaviour become quite glaring, and the warmth you would find in a hotel, or an airline in India, or Sri Lanka (I am yet to travel to Pakistan, but from what I heard, they are far warmer), to my mind, remains unmatched.

And I would think this would have implications for the BPO sector. Barring the narrow mindset of "losing American/British jobs to the Indians", I think culturally, the Indian BPO industry is far better placed than their counterparts in other parts of the world to handle outsourced, customer-facing processes, especially for processes which are with handling irate customers.

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