My phone had gone dead; the TV remote wasn’t working. I couldn’t access the Internet. And two of the three wall clocks at my place had stopped ticking. In short, my urban middle-class ‘life-support’ system was down. I realized I was back in Mysore, having been away for three months. Such things could happen anywhere, to anyone who has been gone for that long. My point is about getting things that had gone wrong back in running condition, without hassles. The time and effort it takes to get things done depends on where you live - Milpitas (Calif.), Mysore or outer Mongolia.
My scene is Mysore. Prof. Raghavan, my friend at a local b-school, would like to see Mysore become a dependable place for those who demand a certain quality in life, and promptness in service. As he put it, this town, which was My-sore (point) should be turned into ‘My-sure’(thing). As of now, it is a town where one can’t be sure of getting anything done right away or without hassle. The BSNL phone at my residence was dead. It took three phone calls to officials in strategic positions to get it ringing, this, within the same working day. A creditable performance in customer service for a public sector undertaking.
My problem is with the private sector that tom-toms about its customer-friendliness . I called the show-room that had sold me the TV to send a technician to fix my remote or have it replaced. The person who attended my call gave a patient hearing, assured me he would get the company’s service centre to attend to my TV remote before the end of the day (Saturday). When I didn’t hear from anyone for some hours I called the TV show-room again, only to be connected to someone else, who was polite, but wanted me to tell him about the faulty TV remote, all over again.
Mildly irritated, I mentioned that I had been through it all with so-and-so earlier in the day. “We have no such person here”, he said. This, I thought, was a bit thick. I had called the right show-room number; and spoken to a receptive person who heard me out, took down my phone number, and even wanted to know when it would be a convenient time for me to have the TV technician home. After all this, this show-room person, the second one I spoke to, wanted me to tell him what my complaint was about. He had no word of regret for what I (a ‘valued customer’) had been put through. And then, he said in a matter-of-fact tone, “I’d pass on your complaint to the company service centre, and they would attend to it Monday”.
When I mentioned that I had been given to understand my TV remote would be fixed the same day (I wanted to watch Germany-Argentina World Cup tie) the show-room guy talked me through their standard operating procedure. Which was, the service centre could not (or wouldn't) attend to any customer complaint on the very day it was reported. Besides, my complaint was made on a Saturday. So nothing could be expected to happen till Monday. So much for the customer-friendly (after sales) service centre.