Wednesday, September 3

Customer Service - A New Creed of Horror Stories


Just saw that my blog is 7 years old. Quite a thrilling thought! Thanks to you readers. Restekpa (= respect). And lots of love to you. 

Have been wondering about customer service for a while, and really wanted to write to you about some of my latest experiences as a consumer of various products and services. It's quite an alien concept in India to care for your customers, and you are viewed more as an inconvenience than God as the famous proverb goes. 

The first one is about my Thailand trip arranged by Flight Shop Pune (Phoenix Market City). This was a new agency that I tried, a change from my regular Makemytrip, Kesari and Yatra vendors. The reason primarily was cost, and also I found the itinerary better suited for my needs. Unfortunately, expectations were not met and I ended up pretty hassled during my leisure vacation. My travel executive Swapnil, who was very diligent during the entire planning and payment process, took off on a trip days before my travel and directed all my correspondence to his supervisor - an extremely unprofessional chap called Saurabh. It was all downhill from there. 

I reached Bangkok with no clue where our host was parked, and my husband sensibly bought a SIM card due to which we could connect with our India and Thailand travel representatives. After wasting quite a good amount of time and money, we finally figured out where the host was, and we set off for our first destination - Pattaya. The driver refused to stop enroute for lunch as was promised by Saurabh, and I was fuming throughout our drive famished, munching on some biscuits and fruit that I had packed for the journey. 

We reached Ibis Pattaya and met our local host who was pretty decent. You can read about my sightseeing experience here . 

However, what was really annoying was that they prohibited me to go to Coral Island owing to safety reasons. Now that should have been informed to us earlier so that we could have planned our trip better. The refund they offered was also not fair, and I was extremely pissed with this turn of events; I hate it when my travel plans go haywire. My husband and I did manage to make the most of our trip, though, but it was considerably tedious and upsetting.  

At Bangkok, we were told that there would be a city tour and we would be shown two famous temples - the Reclining Buddha and Golden Buddha. What actually happened was that we were only taken to the Jewel store, an exact replica of the Pattaya one which did not interest us one bit, and the Golden Buddha and Garuda temple. This made absolutely no sense to us, and we saw the planned destinations anyway, albeit on our our expense. Calling a hundred times from Thailand to the tour operator was absolutely useless and we wasted a lot of time and money, along with peace of mind on conveying our displeasure to Saurabh - who could not be less interested. 

After our return to India, I tried communicating with Swapnil, but that turned out to be like breaking my head on a brick wall. Obviously, since Saurabh was his supervisor. So, I had only one option left - I reached out to their manager - Jatin Sharma. Thankfully, this chap was more sensible and customer-centric. Not only was his manner polite, but he also offered me a just resolution. My decision remains intact despite that - I would not want to use Flight Shop again to plan any of my travel needs. 

Another experience, was at Just Baked on DP Road - a cake shop that I used to love during my teenage years. The joint served fresh and tasty pastries and snacks, expensive yet worth it. If you know me, you know that I have the majorest sweet tooth in the entire universe. When I last went to JB, they served us some stale pastries and I was not surprisingly disappointed and upset. Most people generally offer a refund or another pastry to appease a dissatisfied customer. Not this obnoxious man - he actually started calling me names. I cursed him loud and clear, and have not set foot in his store since. What a disgrace, how the mighty fall. I would not be shocked to know that they are out of business given that other cake shops serve much better ware at the same price and offer good customer care as well.

I could recount so many more to you, and I am sure you have your own set of stories to share. Go ahead! Let's all join our hands in mercy and pray that consumers get better treatment. Agreed, customer is not always right, but there's got to be a more courteous way to deal with them than hurting and losing them for life. 

Until we meet next!


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