Catalyst

Warming the cockles of your heart

Sravanthi Challapalli | Updated on August 21, 2014 Published on August 21, 2014

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This week, we acknowledge various instances of good customer service



A month ago, this column discussed how customers would relay and discuss a bad experience more vigorously than a positive one. Believing that one should give credit where it’s due, this time I am going to write about several instances of prompt and efficient customer service, some of it beyond expectation. Who knows, it might enthuse marketers and work for the greater good!

Unbelievable as it sounds, a telecom company actually helped Hyderabad-based S Sekhar halve the amount he paid every month for his mobile phone connection. Sekhar switched from a BlackBerry to a Google Nexus 5.

The customer service executive analysed his usage and suggested the right packages. “Now, the bill is almost constant every month, plus or minus ₹100,” says Sekhar who’s paying ₹1,200 as against ₹2,500 earlier. Who wouldn’t want customer service like that? (However, the same company refused to even discuss packages and approximate costs with me when I enquired about an Internet connection, stonewalling me with a bland “it depends on your usage”.)

Chennai-based K Anantharaman talks of how his wife was surprised to find a cooking gas cylinder being delivered at the stroke of 9 a.m. as she had requested the previous day, even as she was preparing to remind the agency. “We couldn’t believe it, especially as they take ages to be delivered,” he exults.

Vidhya S Srinivasan of the same city was amazed to be offered a standby refrigerator by the retailer she bought it from when hers went kaput and the brand’s service system did not respond satisfactorily. “The retailer works on poor margins, so that was a customer delight moment,” she says.

Ever had to return defective goods more than once and wondered what kind of reaction that would evoke? Bangalore-based Srividya Ganapathy talks of how her e-tailer replaced a CD of Mary Poppins that would not play. The replacement refused to work too, and she sent it back. “They took it back without cribbing,” says Srividya appreciatively.

Vidhya also talks of how her mango-mad family encountered a waiter from their regular haunt, a large restaurant at a mall, at a traffic signal. “Madam, Sunday is the last day for the summer special aam ras so please visit before that,” he said. “Imagine how many people must be going there, but he remembered us and our preferences,” says a delighted Vidhya. That’s personalised service for you! A point that C Anupama brings up when she says, “Of late, service across the board has been so bad that when someone just does their job properly it’s a big deal. But for good service and consumer satisfaction the age-old shops/sellers/retailers are masters. You know, the vessel shops, the small grocery shops, the vegetable vendors ...”

Recently, I bought anti-virus software for my computer and told the salesman at the store I’d be right back if installation posed problems. He smiled uncomfortably, mumbled there wouldn’t be any and hastened to add that I was, of course, welcome to come back for assistance (but not a refund).

Well, guess what? I did have problems installing it. I could not decipher the product activation code and the thought of going back all the way to the store I bought it in was enervating. So I emailed the company’s customer service desk with no hope whatsoever of hearing from them. And heard from them within a few hours, not a mean event because it was the weekend, and my problem was solved soon after. What positive experiences do you have to share? Let us know! Write to us at >[email protected]

Vitamin C is a weekly dose of consumer empowerment

Published on August 21, 2014
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