Thursday, June 05, 2008

Impromptu venting

Why does poor customer service always get on my nerves? Not just my nerves, it just gets to me totally like very few things do. I actually see RED.I have to stop myself there and then from giving a long speech on the importance of a customer and what good quality service can achieve. Sadly I never stop myself.

I am no perfectionist but I hate being served a lukewarm hot chocolate when the menu reads “Hot Chocolate”. The chap at Coffee Day served me just that –a luke warm hot chocolate and I was having one after ages. Something I wanted to savor and relish right from the first sip. I took a sip and there it began—this feeling of being cheated. I returned it with a request to serve it hot but then when it arrived the charm was lost.Aaargh !!

I opt for a large branded store which I assume would stock a variety of lingerie since the shop is so huge. When I arrive, the store is filled with numerous attendants but none in the lingerie section. I look around for help and it seems to me the staff refuses to catch my eye. Perhaps they veer away from the lingerie section. I cannot think of any other plausible reason. Finally some help arrives after 10 minutes, albeit with a reluctant blanked out look. And I eagerly tell her my size and requirements that are simple and no frills(I mean for my lingerie).She sizes me up and shows me hideous padded ones in midnight blue and shocking reds and believe it or not leopard prints. I didn’t ask for them, I tell her. She tells me that these are all they have. Damn! I see red again, hold myself in check and politely walk away. I ask for the head of customer service (if there is one), she isn’t available. I tell the staff who is looking most uncomfortable, “The service here is pathetic. You need to streamline your operations” and I say it all straight-faced with not a hint of the anger I am feeling. And before I can complete what I need to say (I do have lots to say by then), the lady starts apologizing profusely. (How does that help I wonder? I still haven’t got the bra I needed. Fruitless trip! Except that the anger has not only hit my nerves but my poor brain as well).I am left wondering who wears bras like those. I guess there must be takers since that is all they stock.

At a restaurant where the children and I are having lunch, I chose a Tandoori Roti and the girls ‘Naans” along with their side dishes. The food arrives after a good 45 minutes though we are the only patrons. No worries. I am willing to wait over an animated conversation with the kids. The food Tandoori Roti looks exactly like the Naans that the girls are eating! There I go again. I call the chap who has taken the order and ask him whether he got the order right about the Rotis. He happily and nonchalantly says, “Yes Madam, yours is the Tandoori Roti and theirs is the ‘Naan’.I ask him what the difference is...“they look the same”. To my horror he tells me ‘Madam, There is no difference between a Naan and a Tandoori Roti.The Naan is a little bigger that’s all”! Huh!!Now if anyone has ever eaten aa aan and a Tandoori Roti, they would know that there IS a difference. But he is firm. And I chew down the thick bread wondering why if the darn Naan and Tandoori Roti are the same; the restaurant has it listed separately in their menu.
When the chap arrives again to ask me if I wish to order more Rotis, I look at him with a raised eyebrow (I actually managed that) and tell him,” You were right earlier. Not only do they look the same, they taste the same-like leather’ (ha ha ha...He slinks away so sheepishly that I don’t catch a glimpse of him until we leave).

And all of this leaves me wondering. Am I demanding or expecting too much? I have been told my previous job has made me set high standards for service and that I am too sensitive to small trivia like this. But I feel like screaming that this isn’t trivial or small. It means a lot. Maybe it is to do with me. Or is it Pune? Or is that Bombay has spoilt me for other cities? Well I know as I spend more time in this city that now feels like home, the answers are bound to unravel.
Here's to a more chilled out laidback ‘Me’ and no more ‘poor service’ experiences(fingers crossed) :)