Friday, March 19, 2010

Customer Care Again

Continuing on the customer care note, got an interesting call.
I had got my car serviced from Hyundai a few days ago. So the customer care called to know my feedback. It was a sweet voice of a lady.
This is how it went (Original was in Hindi, translated to English for my global audience!! - Ya there is not even local audience as of now but I like to think Long term!!!)

CC: Good Morning Sir. I am calling from ABC Hyundai. Am I talking to Mr. Shadaab.

Me: This could be me. But may be they bungled up with cell numbers.

Me: No. You have got the wrong number.

CC: Oh. You own a Santro?

Me: Yes.

CC: You got it serviced it on 13th.

Me: Yes. But my name is Sidharth

CC: Oh! Sir, I would like to ask you how was the experience.

Me:Not even a sorry!!!

Me: Ya, it was OK.

CC: Were you satisfied with the washing of the car.

Me: Yes I was.

CC: And Overall experience?

Me: Ya good!

CC: Out of 10, how many marks would you like to give us.

Me: umm... 8

CC: Why have you cut 2 marks???

Me: WTF.. what a question!!!! Well..because you call me and don't know my name. And because somebody changed the channel in the customer lounge when Sachin was batting that day!!!

Me: You had promised that some stains on the seat cover will go off. But they didn't. But that's Ok. You didn't charge me for it.

CC: So why cut the marks?

Me: Because you Overpromised and Underdelivered!!

CC: whaat??

Me: Nothing. you promised something and could not do it

CC: But we didn't charge for it.

Me: Ya Ok.

CC: Sir, 9 and 10 marks are for excellent. and below that Very Good..

Me: what the hell!!!!

Me: OK. 9 marks.. Fine now????????

CC: Thank you sir!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Heights of Customer Involvement

I became a fan of the national telecom company of India. Their transparent systems are of the order such that they ought to be included in the Customer Relationship Management(CRM) case studies of management schools.
Customer involvement is one of the popular jargon in marketing and this company takes it from theory to practice. what happened yesterday is proof of that.

Broadband at my home was erratic for 10 days and for past couple of days it had completely conked off. But it was not followed by any bull shit like calling customer care and lodging complaint, then following it up with the same cranky customer care whose sole purpose in life is to increase Blood Pressure of people. May be customer care centers have secret tie-ups with hospitals. Seriously, either IT companies should design better systems for these people or the companies whom they represent should share more information and empower them (words directly from a CRM case study)

Anyways, coming back to our customer focused company, a call was made to the lineman who had installed the land line at the house. The favor balance had been made heavy at the time of installation with the proverbial chai-nashta. So he suggested to get the modem checked. And hence started the journey which opened my eyes to what extents companies go to please their customers. I went directly to the room where all the action was. Huge racks of telecom equipment with cards and wires occupied most of the room. Along side sat the officials who greeted me warmly as the line man himself was there. I was offered a seat along with another customer who was also facing broadband issues. As one of the official remarked "It seems to be our Broadband day today". Gradually they started the diligent process of checking out the fault step by step. Everything was done in a transparent way in my presence so that I could understand how tough it was. And tough it was. Specially identifying the correct wire from amongst a thousand wires. It was literally finding a needle in a haystack. But the well trained officials did it. Important lesson learned - Nothing is impossible though it may take a long time to do it.
After around one hour, the modem was confirmed to be in working order. But by this time, I had mingled with the people there thoroughly - customer involvement!!
I was made part of the team and like a nurse I handed the expert doctors all the tools they needed.
"Pechkass(screwdriver)", one said. "Here Sir". "Gun (some tool)". "Right Away". In fact, after around one and a half hours I was telling them where the tools were after they forgot where they had left them. Some of the more aggrieved customers who came - not surprisingly with broadband problems (it was broadband day after all) thought that I was an employee there and discussed their problems. I heard them patiently and referred them to the concerned person. At one point of time I almost picked up an incoming call on their extension.
I had chai with them and chatted about different office politics specially in PSUs. VRS or Voluntary Retirement Scheme was being introduced in the company and was a hot topic of discussion. I too, gave my honest comments about how it would be in the benefit of the company. How the high average age had affected the PSU to slow down, how dogged with old practices (except the Marketing and Customer Support Department ofcourse) and resistance to change was affecting the flexibility. How losing the old war horses will help improve the efficiency and will open to new, fresh ideas which were desperately needed in the face of changing technology everyday.
But unfortunately, my ideas were not taken very well. May be it was the age of the employees or may because they thought that VRS was a poor scheme. Soon, I excused myself as I had to leave for work. But the good 2 hours spent there really opened my eyes.
Sadly, the broadband is still not working!! I am wondering if my comments on VRS has to do anything with that?

P.S: It has started working although very slowly now. So I am able to publish this post!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Main aur Meri Tanhai

Aksar yeh Baatein karti hain....

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Moral Conflicts

The biggest challenge, I have faced on job is to deal with people - people who are not very literate, have low IQ, come from low income backgrounds and many times earn on daily basis.
So what are the challenges?

1. First and foremost is to know whether a person is actually idiot or just acting idiot to gain attention or sympathy. There are some who ask about each and everything all the time. Though they have been doing the same thing for a fairly long time. But they have the habit of just asking. It may also happen in case if the person has made some mistake. He knows he has so he acts idiotic to show he doesn't know. This brings up the correlated second challenge.

2. To know when someone is lying. How do you know if a person is telling the truth or not when he asks for a leeway on the pretext of some death in family or a court case or he being stuck in a traffic jam. Experience - some own and some of the others, tells that for every genuine case there are 10 fakers who have killed all their living relatives at some point or the other. Taking a morally correct path and accept the excuse every time may lead to you being labeled as "Soft" and may affect work in some cases. Sticking to "rules" may be considered rude and may not be acceptable to conscious. so how do you maintain the balance??

3. Then comes the 3rd case - When someone commits a mistake. Any mistake in my present line of work should be and are generally taken up seriously as it can take a real disastrous turn - take the case of recent fire in Jaipur. So strict action is sometimes taken against non-employee workers and drivers committing mistakes. The strict action, many times according to "rules", sometimes result in their loss of wages for the day. And hence comes the moral dilemma. Mistakes can be made by anyone but it can be a difference between life and death considering the sensitive work. So to punish and affect his earnings so that learns never to repeat it or let him go this time?

A special case of the above moral conflict comes when the person realizing his mistake, comes, pleads to you and some times even try and touch your feet. Mind you the person begging forgiveness is 10, 20, 30 years elder to you. what to do at this time? Even if you want, it is very tough to follow rules.
You know that the guy is doing it deliberately - to influence you, to soften you up but the oddity of the situation leaves you confused.

There are no easy answers and may be it is experience which gives the answers.

Related MMT Comic

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Main aur Meri Tanhai...

Aksar yeh baatein karti hain....

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Twitter in Colleges

So now twitter has entered classrooms too. Some tech savvy teachers are using twitter in class rooms for better interaction with students. In a large class, there are many students who have doubts but are shy of raising there hands in fear of public ridicule. "What will others think of me?", "What if the question is a stupid one?" "After the class they are going to call me names". These are some questions which lead to doubts and hence a hesitation in asking questions. It happened with me and I am sure with everyone at some point of time in their lives.

Twitter has come to the rescue now!! A trending topic can now be created (using "#"), and it can be put up on the OHP where the questions can be put up in form of tweets with the particular hash tag. So the shy students can put up questions without having to raise their hands.

I LOL'd thinking how much more miserable lives of our profs could have been if twitter and this pedagogy been around during our times at college. The imaginative and innovative graffiti and ideas due to which desks had to be repainted after every semester in engineering could have been permanently imprinted on the twitter servers and for everyone to see and enjoy. Twitter would have benefited by using it for trend analysis and targeted marketing. Historians could have recorded the data and years after now could have written papers on how the thinking in colleges have evolved/degraded over the years.

During MBA, we used to give a feedback for each teacher at the end of every trimester. Had twitter been around, the prof could have got a Live feedback there and then!! What fun it would have been. The best thing in any case would have been organizing mass cuts would have been child's play.

Yes, twitter in Indian colleges will be a disaster. In any case, one should be working on getting more confident in college rather than using twitter to contribute your thoughts which may or may not be stupid.

Related MMT

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Main aur Meri Tanhai

Aksar yeh Baatein karte hain....

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