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) :)


mermaid said...

I hope you don't mind me laughing. It really was 'one of those days', wasn't it? Sometimes you can learn a lot just be being with what is going on inside of you.

Jyotsna said...

thanks mermaid--you know all of this happen didnt happen in one day...its always been happening ever since i moved here..time to check within perhaps

thanks a lot for dropping by

Known Stranger said...

I am happy something tickled you to pen your views after ages. It happens in life. next time order a roti that should taste like a leather you can be surprised to have a tandori roti. ha ha. chill.. these are part and parcel of life and not get irritated by these. If the seller wants you as a regular customer he would see to it you have customer satisfaction, If not you will find another place. The seller might be serving a major crowd who dont crib on customer care. May be he still gets his business . So what deal it matters to him right?

Jyotsna said...

V--i disagree there--the customer is king or should be king.. :) :)
and every customers feedback should matter to them.Some might nevr complain,some me.. :D

Known Stranger said...

go the place where you are treated as queen. why do you go the place where you are not a queen if you want to feel as queen. May be the place you went is for some other queen.

Quicksilver! said...

So glad to see a post after agesssssssss, Jyo!:)I completely abhor bad service myself and found myself nodding my head as i read through your post!:)
And there is a huge diff between a Tandori Roti and a Naan *a few hundred calories to be precise* ;)) and when I order a Tandoori Roti I WANT a Tandoori Roti!:))

e said...

I read this with a little trepidation since I knew what was coming in the end. From someone who has stayed and loved this city for nearly thirty years do accept my apologies. Yes, the place has changed in the last decade or so and it is unfortunate that you have had these chance encounters with all that is 'wrong' with Pune....mainly because I am so sure these franchised retail outlets are NOT inherent to my hometown, not vintage Pune.

Jyotsna said...

M--thanks for dropping by :)

Jyotsna said...

e--thanks a lot..This city is home to me and am enjoying it in many ways more than i did bombay..
I wish these were just franchised outlets.But my Tandoori roti experience was at George's on east st...and definitely not my first time there/ :)Or maybe i attracted those experiences for some reason..happens at times
but i know am going to have happy times here as well
thanks for dropping by

Pragya said...

I know exactly where you are coming from and in the mood I am in these days you had me seeing red too! Was glad to see a post after ages, Jyo! Is this the sort of experience that's been keeping you away?


Jyotsna said...

Pragya-feels very good seeing you here.I dont know why i have been away.Perhaps in a way i am totally involved in living here and assimilating all the changes that are occuring in my life right now :)

But writing this post down helped me immensely

Recusant said...

:) LOL. Atleast you wrote and got it out of your system. Customer service in India stinks...Big time!
That is because, most customer's do not care....People like you and me are a minority..believe me!
Or maybe it's something to do with being an Indian. I have seen Indian's abuse Customer service by cooking up false complaints or abusing their privileges as a family practice!
If I may add...Gentle sarcasm does not help in India. Next time try drama...might have better results! he he!
Though seriously, I hope next time you get better Hot Chocolate!

Recusant said...

You went to George's! They are more. I don't like the place at all...
Once I had ordered a sweet lime soda, which means lime cordial/juice with Soda and sugar,
but the priceless chump brought a
Sweet Lime Juice (Mausambi Juice)!
and then was trying to argue with me that I said the wrong thing! Ofcourse we were a bunch of people who countered him..but it was pointless. He was some 80 year old thing..I guess in a place like George's they are so ill paid and ill tipped they care a damn!

Asmita said...

Oh trust me - whether it is Barista or CCD, they all serve luke warm "Hot" drinks. Arrgh.. Hate it. Everytime I order, I tell them before hand that I want it EXTRA HOT. Sometimes I am lucky and actually get my drink hot. But CCD is really pits... rarely have I got my chai or coffee or hot choc "Hot".

As to Roti vs Naan, you should have just called for manager. Its really ridiculous that first they take you for granted and then act cheeky.

Good to see you writing Jyo. Please don't stop at this one. :)

Known Stranger said...

To flow with ease was written for myself :)

Ani said...

Jo.. this is what i wrote in response to your article on customer service!! what do you think about it.....
lets hear

"you know what Jo, you cannot expect cust service at the lingerie section for the life of me!! nobody will even want to provide the same and do everything possible to shyaway and avoid eye contact.. ha haha ahaha and this has been the case over the years and will be so for a few years more. Won't change, not until someone begins.. you know, Victoria's Secret has been contemplating outsourcing business processes (including customer care) to Indian BPOs!! They had evaluated the marketplace 2 years back. Not sure if they started eventually.

But it may need a few of the VS, Triumphs and the gang to get Indian youth to provide that "intimate" customer experience!

cheers, Ani

Jyotsna said...

Ani-I would love to disagree as this has been the fiest time i have experienced this kind of shoddy service in a lingerie section of a large branded outlet..and i have lived in 5 cities and buy lingerie often enough :P
and btw why on earth would they stock lingerie if they do not want to sell it .....:)