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[Current Affairs] Economy - LPG Customer Empowering Initiatives as part of Project Lakshya

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Dr Veerappa Moily Launches LPG Customer Empowering Initiatives as part of Project Lakshya 

Dr M Veerappa Moily, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, launched on January 11, 2013, new IT/web enabled initiatives to make distribution of domestic LPG more customer friendly and enhance transparency.  Speaking on the occasion, he said, currently, the three OMCs together home-deliver over 30 lakh cylinders everyday across the length and breadth of the country, including far-flung areas like Leh and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, making it a mammoth and challenging marketing exercise. The Government of India has launched new initiatives, Project “Lakshya”, in the LPG business focusing on greater customer empowerment, better subsidy administration, enhanced transparency in the distribution chain; along with a slew of IT-based customer service initiatives. With the launch of “Transparency portal”, the Minister said, customers have already been empowered to know their consumption and enabled civil society activists to look through and flag anomalies in the distribution of LPG cylinders. This effort has started bearing fruit.

Dr Moily added, “Using technology,  we are today further empowering LPG customers through new IT initiatives.”

Rating of distributors based on delivery performance

  • Customer rating of distributors has already been launched earlier.
  • Now each distributor is being automatically rated from 5 stars to no star (***** to no star) on a graded scale using transaction data. The distributor who supplies 85% of cylinders booked in less than two days is rated 5 stars and the distributor who supplies 85% cylinders beyond 10 days is rated no star, and others are rated in between according to their delivery pattern.
  • Customers can now view the delivery pattern of their distributor and compare it with other distributors in their area.
  • OMC Sales officers have been asked to focus on lower star rated distributors and improve their performance. The performance appraisal will take into account the performance of their distributors.
  • Distributors will also be motivated to improve delivery times, when they see themselves compared to their peers. In just last few weeks there has been an increase in distributors that are rated as 5/4 star compared to a month ago.
  • This rating will enable the LPG customer to select his distributorship once portability is available.
  • When most of the distributors resort to fast and prompt deliveries, companies will be able to further optimize their resources.

Mobile applications

  • Around half the LPG customers have given their mobile numbers to OMCs and they are becoming more and more tech-savvy.
  • Mobile applications provide easy access to information and access to services and are being launched on Jan 11 by all the three OMCs.
  • A mobile application has been developed which can be downloaded by customers on their android based phones to perform several web functions from their phones.
  • Refill booking, booking for second cylinder, complaints, seeing history of supplies, hotplate repair, surrendering connections, rating distributors will become available in mobile also.
  • Mobile connectivity to customers also provides a communication channel for OMCs to educate customers on the safety, new initiatives and schemes etc.

Pilot on Web enabled distributor portability
  • To provide customer greater choice to select his distributor and to bring competition amongst distributors, portability is being launched as a pilot in Chandigarh from Jan 11. It will be expanded to 25 more districts in 2013-14.
  • This will motivate distributors to provide better service to customers.
  • The request for portability can be made electronically on the web portal and will be completed without manual intervention.
  • To start with, it will be within each OMC and will graduate to across companies as well.
  • Customers can now switch from one distributor to a better star rated distributor within the cluster of distributors.
  • Portability will bring in competition in the markets and thereby it will improve customer service.

Apply On-line for new LPG connection
  • OMCs have provided the facility for booking of new connections through their respective portals for some time now. This is a powerful feature designed to enable convenience for new prospective customers.
  • Customers with their email IDs can register for a new domestic LPG connection through the Web by entering requisite details in the KYC format.  
  • The prospective customers will get a confirmatory mail of having successfully registered without having to visit the distributorship.  He automatically gets wait listed and an email is sent to him.
  • He then visits the distributorship once to submit the requisite documents (POI and POA) and avail the connection. 
  • This greatly benefits the customers as he has to visit the showroom only once to get the new connection.
Dr Moily  expressed confidence, that these initiatives will enhance customer service in the country.

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