Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Is Social Media just a tick in the box?

You’ve got your new business set up. You’ve got a five-year plan. You’ve got the funding.

The space, the resources, the will to succeed. And, you’ve been smart enough to add marketing to the mix.

Not only that, you are a new age entrepreneurial venture. You’ve added social media!!!!


You’re all set to succeed. You are all set to gear up for all the numbers that will come in.

But are you set up for failure?

Are you prepared for something going wrong? To give you an example here’s what happened with a friend on #Flipkart.
Read the post here.

In short, it’s just a cancelled transaction.  But to make it long it has taken two months for #Flipkart to reverse the transaction and even now there is no sign of ANYONE in #Flipkart knowing what to do about it and doing something about it.
Last week I posted that on my blog. An overeager social media team responded. Saying they will get in touch.

After more ‘social media’ interaction a call was made to my friend. It took 24 hours for that call.
The call? Said that they would get back in touch.After that there was SILENCE.

Once again, I tweeted.
The overeager social media team promptly responded (A big WOW for getting social media right.)

But the response sadly was a lie. They insisted they had sent an email. No sign of an email even today. Wonder who the team sent it to.

My point is:

You’ve got your business set up for success.
How about for failure?

You’ve got your social media right.
How about your backend responding to the demands of social media?

You’ve got your listening services sorted.
How about actually ‘listening’ to what the customer is saying?

And to repeat what I said earlier – can the customer services officer please please speak to the customer?
Was social media just a tick in the box?  
Really #Flipkart… you’ve disappointed a whole lot of people.

As of now(8th Nov 2013) this matter has been sorted. Thanks

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flipping Out on #Flipkart!

A friend of mine is really unhappy with the way Flipkart is dealing with her pending reversal of credit card dues.

Here's the version from her -

It been an absolutely terrible interaction with flipkart for one of the orders I placed with them mid August. Worse still has been an absolute lack of customer orientation in their entire chain.

Placed an order on 18h August with a delivery time of 5-7 days and paid for it by credit card… No delivery till first week September. Call up to check  and they said it could not b delivered “ as a wrong address had been put by the vendor”…(really!!!!).. anyways asked them to cancel the order and asked for a refund, which was to take 5-7 working days . Now 8 weeks and 12 calls later, I am still chasing them for MY money for a product which could not be delivered due to THEIR mistake…

Few commons phrases they use in their customer interaction which just put me off

1.       I understand your problem  - Boss you don’t understand my problem. If you did you would be aiming to solve it, instead of giving me gyan on ‘internal policies”

2.       M’am you can talk to my supervisor – who by the way is equally ‘unauthorised” to help you

3.       We will talk to our back office operations and come back to you – really!!!

4.       We will call u in 24 hours – which in the last 8 calls, they never have

To top it all, inspite of so many escalations no individual in the system is willing to take responsibility and given you a direct access. When I asked to talk to Mr Dharma (who it seems heads their customer service), the pat reply was “ we are not authorized to let customers talk to him”… well well… this must be the new “thing” in customer service which I missed, where the Director of customer service does not talk to customers J


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Big names. Tall claims. Small vision

I recently needed a cab to take me to the airport at 5 am. Nothing new in that. Except that earlier I had a driver who lived close by. The new one does not. And it made sense to me, with the spate of new cab services now vociferously advertising their efficient services to call in for one.

I had done this before when #Merucabs were first launched. But living just a short distance away from the airport their cabs were always "unavailable at the required time".

Like all consumers, I was impressed by the "Airport Cab" claim.

Not only that, I was armed this time with 7 other contact numbers. 

Sadly, the big names in taxi services in Mumbai are united in their small myopic vision.

#Merucabs refused. #Tabcabs refused. #Olacabs refused. One of them said their cabs were all booked between 3 am and 6 am. 3 am to 6 am on a Saturday morning? Sure. I believe you! 

Next I called one of the humbler services the #CoolCab. And a concerned friend called #BookMyCab. Both of them, to my surprise agreed - at a minimal flat charge. Though higher than what a normal cab would cost me I was very willing to pay what I'd call this a convenience charge. And so there it was. A humble local service versus the flash and din of a highly advertised empty brand name was the winner.

Wonder why?

Because a vehicle is a cab when it is on hire. Else it's a car! When will fleet owners open their eyes to that? 

When I tweeted my frustration to #Merucabs I got hi-falutin replies stating 'economic viability'! Whoa! Some business school graduate was flaunting his executive MBA through Tweetdeck. When I suggested something about customer focus all I got was more jargon! 'Services based on an  algorithm'. Right said. 

Me? At 5 am in the morning my aim as a consumer is getting a safe and punctual drop to the airport. Surely an algorithm can be asked to throw up instances of cabs that have dropped their fare to the airport at 4:30 am to make their way to a short distance pick-up at 5?!!!

Is that genius? Or simply customer focus? 

I can tell #Merucabs this confidently. For refusing the short distance fare to me in Mumbai would I prefer to use your services for long distances in the all other cities I visit? No way! 

And yet, once again, the customer is at the losing end of the game as fleet taxis continue to drive away loyal business.

P.S. I availed of the #BookMyCab service. Perfect on all parameters. They've won my loyalty for keeps!
 And I can tell #Merucabs this confidently. For refusing the short distance fare to me in Mumbai would I prefer to use your services for long distances in the all other cities I visit? No way! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to lose a customer - 10 easy steps by Reliance Broadband

It's easy to get customers. There is always a demand in this country of billions.

Now it's easy to lose the customers you have too.

Reliance Broadband shows you the way.

1. Identify regular, loyal customers. Cut off their internet connection without any prior notice or intimation.
2. Play table tennis with complaint calls - send it to the technical department to keep the customer engaged for about 45 to 60 minutes with IP addresses and such. Randomly hang up the third time you forward the call.
3. Blame the customer for technical problems for their faulty laptop, modem, router and possibly mother-in-law. Make them check all these problems at least thrice before telling them there's a problem with the server and not the customer (or the mother-in-law).
4. Give them a complaint number and a false promise of setting it right in 24 hours. Do nothing.
5. When customer calls again do not divulge that there is a problem with your cables, do not give them another complaint number. Once again do nothing.
6. When customer asks to disconnect, take the disconnect order. Give them the request number but don't actually disconnect their connection.
7. Next day beg to keep connection and hang up if they are angry. Somehow, see to it that the connection is in working order without informing the customer.
8. The day after that, ensure the disconnection happens. Remember, once again, not to tell the customer.
9. When customer calls with "Internet not working" option, tell them that they don't exist in the system.
10. Don't bother checking with the customer what the problem was at any point during steps 1 to 9.

For more customers, repeat steps 1 to 10 in any order preferred!