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!!


aativas said...

Hmm.. it is the same everywhere..

Customer Care Again « 360 degrees said...

[...] 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 [...]

Neera Grover said...

:) really looks like a doctor patient clinic setup...who goes to the office to get it fixed.....aren't we supposed to call in and log a complaint?