Friday, May 6, 2011

We Serve

Our country and our people are known for hospitality and service. Few smart men realized how this innate quality of us Indians can be transformed into an entrepreneurial opportunity; thus the birth of service industry which we are so proud of and has been fetching us money; market growth and helping many of us to lead a decent standard of living.

The service industry started with IT and spread its horizon across medical, knowledge, biotechnology, banking, finance, law......Are we really hospitable? Are we service oriented? Indians are known to be polite, understanding and serve with care. Well, take another look Maybe the commercialization has ripped our quality of its sheen.

No one has time and the resource to channelize; at least in the after sales/service sector. Its all candy and honey when you first try to acquire a new product - be it internet service, a new car or a telephone connection. You are promised freebies, assistance at any hour of the day and other sweet-nothings. The marketing guys must be spending time in grooming their communication etiquette and learning the art of charming.

Once the money reaches their hands; thats that. You are at their mercy to get things working. "Sir, I am just sales, I dont know technical things. My customer service will get back to you". Numerous calls to the customer service, each time talking to a different person and trying to explain your problem beginning with history is sure going to wear you out. When 'they' trust their computer database history records more than the trust on fellow human beings, its more of walking on nails.Numerous follow-ups before you buy a product and not even a corpse to care after you have bought them! They behave as if they are doing you a favor and you dont have a choice but at their mercy.

Its obvious that the chunk of their funds goes in hiring famous celebrities to market their product. When it comes to customer service, it takes a U-turn. Incapable agents, poor communication, commitment less and more. Raise a complaint and they raise a ruckus! The service person attending to you is going to take it personally and try to convince you with a "Mistakes do happen". I wonder if such lax attitude is allowed when Indian service companies serve offshore clients? I have heard of stories when these executives get abused by clients at the first chance of knowing they are being attended to by Indians.

An after sales service is as important as selling a product. Its not a favor or a charity but part of business. You not only pay for the product but for services as well. Not to blame the executives but the policy of companies have to be changed. Why are these companies not giving importance to service as they give it to marketing?

There are reasons. We are not taken seriously. The "I'll adjust" attitude - they can get away. The service policy is not defined and if defined not adhered to. Mistake is not theirs alone. How about us? Give us a penny and we rob the bank!. Dont we take advantage of anything free?

Imagine having a 90 day return policy as in USA? What would we do? Each one knows the answer. Somehow its ironical that the best service industry is in India and we cater to the world when we cannot cater to our needs.


  1. Exactly! The after sales services are so bad! :( Or should I say there are no after sales services. :-/

    We do accept the free trial offer, but is that not what it's meant for? :P

  2. Very valid points!! I believe the customer centric approach is totally lacking in most of the companies though ideally that should be the main focus!! It's a harrowing experience, when dealing with customer care, most of the time!

  3. YEs i agree with you, But its becoming the same here too now , here in uk also once you pay the money its passing the buck but not at the scale as is in india.

    Reminds me of a few incidents, I have lost the touch I mean the art of being a INDIAN now. I have become too VILAYITI.. got to come back and live for some time at home to get back that trait :)

    Customer care here also has gone for a six especially with the call centres now based in india and all, but slowly and with the new rules coming up that will soon be gone as companies here will be asked to show the result and guilty will be taken to task. SO most companies are getting there customer care centres back in uk.

    Good points.. now tell me/us what happened that made you write this :)


  4. Division of labour!
    It began in Banking industry. And the excessive dependence on computer data. If the Compu says that Mr X is not your farther , well then certainly he is not! Things have become very impersonal even in sectors that should have much personal element.
    When things , including service , complaint registrations etc are outsourced we should not expect better.

    As your cartoon s Sales has no knowledge about the service activities . It is again like the specialization mania in the medical field.
    In the US the "ninety days " return law is widely misused. So in a country like us where people take the extra mileage when they notice things are free and easy that policy may not work out.

    But look carefully ,businesses who value and care for their merchandise even after its consumption have survived time.

  5. 100% right.Recently my washing machine developed a problem and I was shocked by their attitude. Poor communication, being rude is their policy it seems once they sell the goods.

  6. Aapka dristikon achchha laga aur yatharth parak bhi.

    Aapke blog ko janna bhi aanand dayak raha. Ummed karta hu bhavishay mein aur bhi achche lekh padhne ko milenge.

  7. I have faced this problem so many times. They don't care and behave like they are doing us a favour when we call them up because their product was faulty.

    They find offshore servicing to be lucrative hence they do their best there but we are only Indians so chaltha hai. :(

  8. Service is really bad in India. Once the money exchanges hands..that is it. Who cares about customers?

    It happened to me in recent trip to India. I got a phone from Vodafone and they disconnected...I paid the money but could not get it one. Waste was not a big deal but I lost 2 days and peace of mind and felt bad at my country that wants to be no.1 in world in service..

  9. Enigma,

    Yes we do accept the free trial offer because they are giving it.
    But have you not experienced issues in free trial offer?

    You either give it or dont give. Instead exhibiting freebies and then letting customers run behind it is a NO-NO

    For eg. I bought a latest LED cum 3D TV that Dhoni has been advertising. They are offering free airtel digital TV subscription for 3 months.
    But I had so much of trouble trying to set the connection right!


    Yes; it now comes as a surprise if they serve us properly :)


    You are an Indian so the statement "Customer care here also has gone for a six especially with the call centres now based in india " will not be taken in a light manner by your fellow Indians :)
    Do you mean to say service has gone for a toss because it has been outsourced to countries such as India?

    With globalization; its not compelling and necessary to have service centers in physical proximity unless there is a need for someone to visit your home. Geographical limitation is not the issue here.
    Its the attitude of the companies that I am talking about.

    When they can spend million of dollars to rope in a celebrity to sell their product; why cant they invest half the amount in training after sales and service personnel and have ample resource so that customer enjoy seamless after sales service?
    Most think their job is done once the product is sold. Thats not the right attitude. Maybe they can sell one time but to sustain you need good relationship with customers.

    I took India as example as its ironical more in India that we host some of the best service and hospitality sectors and cater to the world.

    What made me write this? Well moved to new home and having trouble in getting my broadband connection, digital TV connection shifted/setup. I have faced such issues many times and I just wrote about it now.


    True. Its amusing when the executive say "My database says so and so". What the heck! Why dont you believe what your customer is saying. Its not that your customer is jobless and hence playing a prank!
    Yeah the 90 day policy is certainly misused but not to an extent as I can probably see if it was there here in India.


    Yes you are right. The problem is they think they are doing a favor.


    shukirya. Thanks for your comments. Its encouraging.
    Keep visiting


    Yup! which is sad for us


    Exactly! Its not the money but the frustration and the anger and helplessness. I lost my temper for 1 week continuously trying to talk to a customer care.
    It leaves you angry.

  10. Very nicely written. As you know, I spent 2 months in Chennai recently. I have first hand experience of what you are saying. We rented a 2 BHK flat for Rs.60,000 per month. The air conditioner was not working. Called the caretaker/manager. He came to see me after 3 days. I explained the situation. Want to know his reply? “Other flats also have similar air conditioner problem”.

    You wrote about 90 day return policy in USA. Just FYI. You may already know this. FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has a “cooling off” rule also. When a contract is signed, there is always a “cooling off” period, e.g. 24 hours. During this period, either party can cancel the contract without giving any reason, especially for big ticket items like buying home or automobile (Buyer’s remorse).

  11. SG,

    Thanks. That was an irresponsible response from your flat's caretaker.

    Yes, I am aware of the cooling off period. But its ok for big ticket items like a home or a car. Its a pricey one with risks. But lets just talk about a pair of shoes. I once had to return a pair of stilettos I purchased from Kohls as I misread my feet size. I had the price tag removed from the shoe but they were understanding and sweet enough for an exchange.

    Such exchanges are tough here nowadays. And you get a credit receipt; to redeem it is a bigger headache

  12. Good one...just today I was discussing with my friend about this and I came across this post. We indians are partial people. We would serve people of other countries very well but hardly care for our own people.

  13. G3,

    True we are partial. We dont like ourselves :)


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