When the Suranas welcome you to their home with a cup of chai, remember – You are not just a mere guest. You are a ‘temporary customer.’
Don’t be dazed if you are given a feedback form to evaluate what you were served on parameters like level of satisfaction with the hospitality or quality of food.
You’re not the only one. Every judge, celebrity or head of the state who has ever visited this household has undergone this standard process of feedback. And needless to say, they have testified to the exceptional quality of hospitality in the Chennai home.
Before you get confused, let us tell you that this quirky household is India’s first and perhaps the only family home to get an ISO 9000 certificate, reports the Times of India.
Every person has a role to play with a designation in addition to just being family members. And so, the grandfather is also the ‘household head’, grandma is the ‘household representative’, the mother is the ‘management representative’, and the children and their father are ‘permanent customers’.
What is this ISO 9000 certification?
ISO 9000 is defined as a set of international standards on quality management and quality assurance developed to help companies or organisations of any size, maintain an efficient system.
How did the Suranas come up with this idea of certifying their home?
The Suranas are a family full of lawyers. From grandfather PS Surana to grandmother Leelavathi, to the father, Vinod and his wife Rashmi, every adult in this house is a lawyer.
In 2004, when the family members were looking at getting their own law firm ‘Surana & Surana’ an ISO 9000 certification, they came up with the idea of getting their home certified too.
Speaking to the Times of India, Vinod says how easy adopting the whole ISO process was for their family since everybody is a stickler for a timely schedule.
“My father is one of those firm believers in a place for everything and everything in its place. We grew up like that. My mother had a tight schedule because she is a lawyer. She timed her household chores to AIR programmes. She timed her household chores to AIR programmes; for instance, ironing for the first half hour of a programme, breakfast prep by the end of it. So this whole ISO process has been quite easy for our family,” he says.
And so it should come as no surprise that every item even in the storeroom of this house is labelled and stock checking is carried out periodically every three months. No shopping is encouraged from stores which are not ‘vendor approved,’ because yes, vendors are rated too.
Apart from that everyday family rituals are also well-planned like the food is served as per schedule, the daily menu also changes and follows a cyclical pattern to ensure no repetition. There is also a clause for alteration in the menu, ‘as per customer demand.’
If you are a guest, you are lucky because you get a food preference too.
Housekeeping runs like clockwork, right down to the minutes set aside each day for Rashmi to sign greeting cards. “I need to handwrite 9,000 cards a year, and I cannot get it done on time if I don’t have a routine,” Rashmi told TOI.
And that is not all. This well-knit, rule-following ‘ISO crew’ (as they refer to themselves) also have an audit check every six months.
“An inspection every six months can be nerve-wracking. Everyone is interviewed… the staff, the management, even the children are interviewed separately to check for quality control,” says Rashmi.
And if you think following this schedule is crazy, wait until you hear of how the family plans their holidays.
Maintaining quality control on holidays, they follow a system of quality packing and itinerary management. But since holidays are a time for relaxation and the ISO crew is, after all, a family just like yours or mine that looks forward to unwinding, rules take a backseat, once they have arrived at a different destination.
Vinod defends this slackening of rules with a mischievous glint saying, “After all, there’s an exclusion clause in the ISO fine print which companies can exercise.”
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)