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Customer Service

May 23, 2011

There are various standards of customer service in various countries. Outsourcing is a huge part of some ends of customer servicing… and India is the place where a lot of it is shipped out to. Or least it was for a while.

But customer service isn’t just that call to the helpline or the executive at a desk… every little service oriented thing is customer service – a little fact that we don’t seem to grasp.

I’ve had problems with that end, like everyone else. I tried to be polite and sweet and nice… and it took me four days to lose my temper. And then the work got done in half an hour.

So I learned never to bother to with the first level of people who answer the calls and ask to be put onto their supervisors.

I went into a bank today to get some work done. The bank was supposed to be more ‘people-friendly’ so instead of helpdesks, there were smart cubicles. But there was no order to the way things worked… there was no queue, nor were there enough people in those cubicles.

I needed to submit some documents for a particular job. The person in charge very kindly offered to come pick it up. I got a call at 7.30 the next morning from the person stating that he was at my doorstep.

An international fast food joint has a small ‘take away’ counter. In theory, this works great. In practice, however, one needs to only pay at this counter and walk up the actual food counter to pick up food. True, it does cut down some time but in peak hours, it all remains the same.

Experiences with call centers have always been disastrous. A particular cellular network still calls me – a year after I cancelled their service – to remind me that I’ve not cleared their last bill. This, despite the fact that they had said they will not be able to cancel the connection without me clearing the bills. Of course, they also kindly add that it is okay if I do not intend to pay the amount, they just want to let me know that there is this pending bill.

And when I did call them to enquire about something, they had absolutely no answers. Because their service centers are designed such that one unit cannot transfer calls to another arm of the same company. Not an arm… a finger is more like it.

Why am I griping about it here? I wanted to vent somewhere.. and see the funniness of it.

“Customer Service” is one of the most user term in today’s world and the most disastrous experience as well.

Right from a restaurant where they do not treat you right to a store where the managers do not even know about their products to a local shoe shop vendor who looks at you and flatly tells you that you shouldn’t bother wearing heels simply because he doesn’t stock any in your size.

Oh I’ve found people who have been extremely helpful and courteous… but ironically, these people were not even aware of the million-dollar word ‘customer service’.

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