labels: foods / beverages, industry - general
Wowing the customers — the Aavin way news
Venkatachari Jagannathan
27 August 2004


Chennai: It is actually a government managed milk dairy but functions like a pizza joint in wowing the customers.

The Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers' Federation, popularly known by its brand Aavin, today offers replacement of its milk sachets without asking any questions upon a customer complaint.

Assures deputy manager (quality control) R Ravindranath under whom the complaint cell functions, "Our policy is that an individual customer should not feel cheated while buying our product."

As far as possible, within two hours of receiving a complaint we will replace the milk packet without asking any questions. "Only after giving the new milk sachet our person will try to elicit further information about the complaint," Ravindranath adds.

But Aavin was not always like this. Its new attitude could be attributed mainly to empowerment of a customer to set right the things, that is, chairman and managing director B K Prasad.

Prior to assuming the Aavin's mantle in June 2002, the forty-eight year old Prasad was the secretary, prohibition and excise department, Tamil Nadu. Living in Chennai and as an Aavin consumer he had experienced the typical government organisation's apathetic attitude towards its customers.

"Whenever I go on a long tour, refund on milk card for the unused days used to take inordinate time. The milk at times used smell foul," he remarks.

Once at the helm he didn't want Aavin to continue with the old ways and lose more share to the multitude of milk brands (around 20) that had started invading its strong hold -Chennai.

The result is the setting up of complaint cell with two numbers, one of which is a toll free number to attend to customer complaints. Prasad himself would make mock complaints to see whether the systems work as expected.

Similarly, a cursory look at the milk sachet would show the wealth of customer- friendly information that is printed on it, like the price for retail and for the monthly card subscribers, date of packing, nutritional value and the two customer complaint numbers.

To wow its automatic vending booth customers and to dispose off surplus milk Aavin offered half a litre milk free on purchase of every half a litre at its automatic vending machine booths for a short period recently.

Such wowing and wooing of the customers resulted in positive results. From 6.54 lakh lpd in 2002-03 sales went up to 6.96 lakh litres per day (lpd) the next year. This fiscal Aavin is loggng around 7.53 lakh lpd per day.

The target is to sell around 7.70 lakh lpd -6.13 lakh lpd of sachet milk and 0.95 lakh lpd — this fiscal in Chennai.

Related article:

also see : Reinventing Aavin

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Wowing the customers — the Aavin way