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Customer care

Saturday, November 26, 2011 - 0 Comments

Thank you for calling heaven. For English press 1, For Spanish press 2, For all other languages (including Hebrew and Latin) press 3.
Please select one of the following options:
Press 1 for request, Press 2 for thanksgiving, Press 3 for complaints, Press 4 for all others

I am sorry, all our angels and saints are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us and we will answer it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line. If you would like to speak to: God, press 1; Jesus, press 2; Holy Spirit, press 3;

Laugh it out with ‘Do Customer helplines care?' or acknowledge in silence ‘The power of social cribbing' in Hindustan Times or think about it with ‘Caveat Emptor- Keeping consumers happy' published in The Hindu. But there is no escape from the deep sea of menus and choices. After all, it's your Washing machine that stopped working, it's your water purifier that badly needs a service, it's your credit card bill that has been charged for god knows what, your mobile bill that has got extra charges you never knew you will be paying!
Though there are companies like One Call India who call themselves as ‘appliance secretary' and ‘fix appointments and coordinate with service centers, pick up and drop your broken down appliances, keep track of your warranty', they also say they are ‘only a facilitator and cannot be held liable for the quality of service rendered by the service centre'. So you either face it yourself or live with it with our notorious chalega attitude.
With a number of gadgets, appliances and services around us, it's no wonder we have to keep track of so many customer care numbers and deal with them often. But the problems with customer care is that
  • You speak to different people everytime.
  •  No one takes ownership. Their duty stops with putting your complaint into the system and give you back the ideal response time.
  • They are not the ones who will be bothered about the brand value of their company and have concerns regarding negative word of mouth.
  • In most cases, they will not know who, in particular, will attend your case. The situation worsens when franchises are involved.

Ah, there comes another problem. Don't panic, gulp down a glass of water and get set to go (ok, that was little dramatic! Agreed.)
  1.  Call up the customer care and register your complaint. No, you can't skip it and needless to say press 1, 2, 1, 4, 2, <customer number>, 9 etc etc until you reach some Yoga, Anish or Ram only to be transferred to the appropriate department. Get the complaint/request number and the expected time of resolution.
  2.  Follow up when the resolution time is nearing. Ofcourse, they will understand your concern and do the needful as soon as possible…blah blah blah.
  3.  Escalate to the next level – this is slightly tricky as there is no standard hierarchy.
    • Try getting the number from customer care
    •  Check out their website. Most websites publish Nodal officers, appellate authorities contact details (Wondering if there is any regulation in place regarding publishing such details)
    •  http://www.consumergrievance.com/icrpc.org.products.htm gives a list of Recourse for various issues.
  4.  Check for their social media presence online (for customer service). Chances are your issue might get noticed. But just hope you don't get noticed the way Dhaval Valia got noticed by Vodafone J http://ibnlive.in.com/news/vodafone-threatens-to-sue-customer/156579-3.html
  5.  Get help! Consumer complaints is becoming a business. Companies like Akosha boasts of having worked with 160 brands and 50+ success stories on their website.
  6.  File it with the Consumer court. Not really sure how easy, quick and hassle free this is going to be. http://www.consumergrievance.com/index.htm provides such help (though their website sounds little intimidating with all the donts listed)

So, that's few things we can do from our side. As we keep turning every stone to get our issues heard & resolved, brands & corporates - go ahead and spend your money on those star studded flashy advertisements. Sigh!

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