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Yoga@ Call Center – The Customer Plight October 18, 2010

Posted by aglakadam in aglakadam, International Issues, Management, National Issues, Social Casue.
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If Peter Drucker & Jack Welch would read these stories they would surely revisit their understanding about the worth of a customer, at least in India. There was a time when a lot of PSU’s and government run companies in India were strongly criticized for lack of service consciousness. This lack of service attitude ( the service apethy) was invented, revealed & amply advertised by the privately owned companies, post globalization. But over a period of time now it seems the so called huge size companies are not able to manage their growth and are compromising with their customer consciousness… Here is sharing two real life experiences I encountered myself ….

Story 1 :

Company : Dell

Product : Laptop

I responded to a lucrative newspaper advertisement from Dell and rang up the call center. It took two attempts to get the call picked and then subsequently get it transferred to the right desk. Goes without saying one has to repeat one’s introduction and state purpose of call at least twice or thrice before getting connected. After going through all this telephonic yoga and exercise, the call center executive on the other side says he does not have all the information and as such he shall call me back with all the inputs.

When no one called back in the next 48 hours, I wrote to as many email id’s as possible as I could discover, innovate on @dell domain ( after performing an intensive research on the dell website). To all my emails I got only two auto responder replies, both not from India. I then searched for Dell users on Twitter & fortunately hooked on to someone who was a bit responsive. He forwarded my query to one Mr. Rajiv Verma who took 7 days & multiple follow-ups to partially revert on basic queries raised by me post initial quote. In the meanwhile I got a feeling as if I was trying to do something wrong & illegal hence I had to struggle so much to purchase a Dell laptop. Was I trying to purchase something undeserved! The humiliation and anger surpassed my tolerable limits and I decided to stop my ordeal buying a Dell Laptop. I communicated the same to Dell officials via email. Here is the reply which I get from them :

Dear Mr. Varwandkar,

I have been looking over the email exchanges between you and Rajeev. I noticed that ……..

…….. Again, I will provide feedback to the agent, as this should have been explained to you in a timely manner. We also should not have taken so long to respond to your email on the 10th.

We regret that we are losing a customer; however, we very much appreciate your feedback.

Thank you, Amy (full text of this quote available on request)

The most surprising element is that they realized they are loosing a client, but there was no attempt to retain a loosing customer! Who said customer retention is the key in today’s fierce market place? If companies like the scale of Dell have so pathetic customer response, who will have reasons to believe on the theories of Management prevailing round the management schools across the Globe?

Story 2 :

Company : Idea Cellular Limited

Product : Post Paid connection.

I am a user of Idea cellular phone number since almost 8 years, goes without the saying that the number was purchased 8 years back! I have four connections in the corporate category, all in the name of a private limited company.

Barring of services for invalid reasons or for errors at their end or just for fun (pun!) has been the order with Idea. Off late I have got used to introducing myself to Idea Call center executives every time I have some unfortunate reason to call them & get some rude treatement. To add to the misery is that the call center trauma is not free, they proceed with your call only once you accept that your call will be a chargeable call and no more a toll free call!

What happened recently with me was really innovative on behalf of Idea, it was an Out of The Box Idea which changed the happiness quotient in my life. One fine morning a call is received from an unidentified person, who states that he is calling from Idea franchisee and he needs my identity proof. The arrogant caller exceeded his limits when he said that he is standing near a particular police station and I am supposed to submit an Identification proof within 15 minutes! I refused and asked him to come to my office to collect whatever document required.

After a few days all of a sudden my idea number gets barred not only from making outgoing calls but also from receiving incoming calls. The reason stated is that this number has been identified as no identity. I am asked to fill up a fresh Application Form (CAF), submit two fresh photographs and sign over all the new application formalities once again as if I am purchasing a new connection. On top of it the Idea officials insist that I should sign blank forms and not filled up forms!

After various follow-ups and persuasions an insider informs me that the Idea officials have lost the original application form and I am now being harassed to get the new documents! When I contacted the Idea grievance redressal cell in day time on the phone numbers as mentioned on the website, no one picked up the phone. I tried reaching the appellate authority where a soft sounding but harsh worded person picked the called and replied mechanically to my queries. He went ahead to charge me for not fulfilling the formalities and using the idea Post Paid connection for years together!

While I am still going through this ordeal as of date, I thought this a great idea to write down my ideas on diminishing customer consciousness amongst huge corporate in India. I am not the only one who has suffered , I am sure there would be thousands and lacks of such victims. I strongly demand future managers to be empathetic to customer plight, delight will automatically follow through!

Ajit Varwandkar
Managing Director
FS Management (I) Pvt. Ltd.

Email : info@fsindia.in
Date : 18.10.2010

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