The age-old mantra that the “Customer is King” seems to have lost its sheen in the current business market with many Indian companies not emphasizing enough on Customer Service. Lack of awareness on consumer protection laws and the indifference of the companies towards losing a few customers have taken the level of customer service to a new low.
What good is Customer service if it does not serve customers?
Here are a few instances that show how big companies risk their goodwill and alienate clientele for want of better customer service. We also outline the acceptable remedial actions that can help these companies save face and bad names, rebuild trust and re-connect with their customers.
Lack of Empathy by a Telecom Service-Provider
Instances abound of new chargeable value-added services getting activated on customer’s cell-phones without his knowledge/permission. On complaining, most often, the customer has to pay the disputed bill in full believing that the reversal will happen with the next billing. However, in many cases, despite many calls and assurances the reversal never happens.
Instead of causing much frustration and distress to the customer, the customer service team can win back the customer’s trust by reversing the charge in the first instance of the complaint. Also, it needs to have a policy of taking prior permission before adding additional services on to a number. It never pays to take a customer for granted.
Lack of Commitment by a Broadband Provider
A big name in the broadband sector frequently stops the service in the name of a hardware upgrade without prior intimation to the customers. The customer comes to know only when he calls up the helpline. Moreover, the service never resumes at the promised time.
Remedial Action: The customer service should inform the customer about any service disruption well in advance so that the customer is not inconvenienced. And they should always adhere to the time limit.
No value of Customer’s time – A premier Fleet Service
A colleague was waiting for his taxi that he booked the previous night for a pick-up at 5 am for his 6:30 flight. At 5:10, when he called the radio taxi helpdesk he was informed in an unapologetic tone that his booking had been canceled due to cab shortage. The premium fleet service has twice cancelled his booking confirmation without advance notice.
The customer service should have provided an alternative conveyance after due apologies. But first, the company should avoid going overboard with their bookings. Remember the famous saying “cut your coat according to your cloth”.
Lack of Respect for Customer – An international Flier:
Again, during last year’s monsoons, a Newark-Paris-Mumbai flight was re-routed to Delhi as Mumbai airport runways were waterlogged due to a heavy downpour. At IGI Airport, the passengers were made to stay for 24 hours without hotel accommodation.
Moreover, the help desk was unmanned the entire day. Finally, an irate passenger called up a prominent news channel complaining about the apathy of the airline staff and created a ruckus where after the airline personnel came forward to pacify him.
The customer service team should have apologized emphatically for their indifferent attitude and given a reasonable discount to the fliers on their airline airfare for their next travel in order to win their confidence back. Companies focusing on meeting sales targets tend to forget that a sale, in fact, is the beginning of a company-customer relationship.
A satisfied customer ensures loyalty leading to fortifying customer relations. This relationship, in the long run, is the key to continued business success. It is about time that companies defaulting on customer service get their act together!!!