Burgeoning lifestyles have paved the way for multiple interactions with brands and companies, often exposing cases of crass customer care. Ignoring service deficiency isn’t the answer. Demand your rights!
Pune’s very own`Amrutulyas’ for that hot cup of well-brewed chai and Udipi restaurants for the asli filter coffee were known as the gold standard, till the advent of the modern coffee shops.
While they exist, it is the Café Coffee Day (CCD)and Starbucks kind of outlets that have caught the imagination of the city youngsters.
Quite recently, I visited a CCD outlet on Law College Road for an meeting. We ordered for filter coffee as it was new on their menu.
However, it was far too milky and hardly had any flavour of `filter coffee.’ So, we asked the man at the counter to give more of the coffee powder to strengthen it. He crassly retorted, ‘paisa dena padega’ (you will have to give more money). We were shocked at this crude reply.
Spending Rs.100 per cup on this utterly tasteless coffee was bad enough – and on top of it, you have to deal with this brazen retort. With a grumpy face, he brought some liquid and poured it in our cups. It seemed more like a chocolate than coffee. Anyway, we gulped it down while the three men behind the counter scorned.
I was shocked that a brand like CCD could be so callous about selecting its staff. I tweeted to CCD customer care on this experience. They asked me for my contact number on DM (Direct Message) and called me a day later.
After hearing me out for a good 5 minutes or so, the customer care guy shockingly tells me, `I don’t know what exactly happened that day…’
So, we get these fancy brands, charging us heavily for a badly made coffee, get bad customer treatment and then the customer service staff wants to belittle your complaint in order to save their skin (read, job).
Are we expected to pay through our noses to patronise these brands and be treated like this?
Two summers back, I decided to buy a water cooler from the well-known brand, Vijay Sales. The sales executive highly recommended a particular brand so I bought it. However, it just wouldn’t work despite the 35 litres of water that went into it.
When I called up they said to wait for a couple of days but it still proved useless. I visited the shop and asked for return of money. The man at the counter said, it is their policy only to exchange for which he can give me a credit note but there is no way that I can get the money back.
I asked him to show the rule under which the law says that money cannot be returned to me. He rudely maintained his version. I told him I shall challenge that and he would have to eat his own words.
So, using social media is the best bet. You can do a lot of useful things other than mere comments on politics which is getting worse by the day. So by putting @vijaysales in the loop, I began tweeting about this unfair customer service and asked if any legal expert can tell me on Twitter the way to go.
Someone tweeted that I send them a legal notice by issuing a letter (no need of a lawyer) and thus several tweets began getting exchanged. At 10 pm, I received a phone call from the sales manager of Vijay Sales, Mumbai office. He apologised for the inconvenience caused to me and assured me of cash back.
I received it in a week’s time in my bank account. At least here, the customer care service ended on a pleasant note.
Once, my daughter had booked Wings Cab for a Pune airport drop for 4 a m. The cab never came and the driver’s number that was sent by sms, was not being answered. The inconvenience caused was unimaginable and I was furious. Then, the Wings Cab was in its prime in Pune, unlike today, where it is in the dumps.
Till noon, I was calling up the driver. When that didn’t work, I found a mobile number of the manager through google search. After repeated attempts he picked up the phone. Like our Netas, he said that he will look into the matter and call back.
Till evening he didn’t bother to call. In the meanwhile, I took to tweeting. Then finally, harassed at being harassed by a customer like me I think, he apologised and offered me a free ride the next time I want to use their services. I promptly did the next day. I could have left his free offer in disgust but decided to make him pay for it.
I never take customer injustice lying down and you also shouldn’t. It is sad that we have to fight for our rights all the time be it public utility service or services of private entities.
However, now with social media, you can put it to good effect, just by the click of the mouse. I’ve fought with shopkeepers who illegally demand 2% on your credit and debit cards, with Indigo which again showed rude customer care and a restaurant which gave deficient service.
Also, sometimes I wonder whether in the greed of earning profits, customers are being taken for granted.
One voice is too many- so just raise your voice and ensure you make these truant companies understand that the Customer Is Indeed The King!
#All views expressed in this column are the Authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,
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