Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vodafone Mumbai... Happy to (not) help

I strongly feel at times that "Happy to not help" would suit better than the original tag for Vodafone Mumbai customer care. Btw am not against Vodafone and it's services. I had post-paid connection for an year in Delhi from Vodafone. I never faced even a minor problem wrt any servicing issue. Right from the time of taking the connection to billing to call centre ccare executives to anything. I still remember, something related to my caller tunes or some other VAS also getting solved over minutes during the early hours arnd, 02:00Hrs.

But, in Mumbai it's absolutely upside down. Some of the patterns that I observed with the Vodafone Mumbai over the past 2 months are:

1. The form that we fill and the proof documents that were submitted goes missing from the hands of Vodafone people and without any communication, the number goes disconnected as if it was your fault.

2. The executive may forget to take your signature at a place in the form and the number goes disconnected again without any communication.

3. The executives at the store goes into the Manager's room in the store and makes the customers wait at the desk for hours.

4. You need to shout at the executives in the store to get your problem resolved and if you can't do that, you can opt to wait for 2-3 hours in the store. And to come out of the store with a solution will not take less than 2 hours.

5. The customer care executives on toll free (111) number are always very sorry for what happened but they can't help out in any way. And you are suggested to visit the nearest Vodafone store for any issue.

6. And when ever the number is disconnected it is done around 6PM in the eve. The stores close at 7PM and if you are lucky enough to reach the store before 6:30PM, the manager promises you to get it reconnected in 2 hours as they know that after 2 hours the stores are closed and they need not answer any issues. If you are not able to reach the store by 6:30PM, the call centre execs are again sorry for what happened but they can't help.

7. Address verification happens but still it appears pending on the systems for months. And they hope to get it resolved in the next 7 working days to activate any other services like ISD, etc. But, those 7 working days never end up.

8. I wonder why they give the waiting numbers to customers in the store when they don't follow the order. Have you ever learned that 115 comes before 95 and someone who doesn't have a waiting number is called before people still waiting for their turn standing since past one hour and this is just because the store manager knows the person well.

9. At any point of time only 75% of people work whereas the other 25% keep roaming here and there quite often though, there are lots of customers waiting. I wonder why 2 or 3 people leave their desk and keep peeping at other desk, chit chatting with others when there are customers waiting for their turn.

10. If you speak to any executive you may wonder if that exec owns the company called Vodafone. They can't solve the problem; they don't want the problem to be escalated to their superior as it might push the exec into soup. And finally they end up saying "If you meet my superior or anyone above him/her in the company they too can't help you out."

11. The Store Manager of any store is always on leave and the person whom you are sitting with over the computer desk is the person handling the store for the day.

12. The network/systems of Vodafone (either the call centre or at the store) are slow at any point of time on any day.

13. The Nodal Officer is too busy to meet any customer for 5 minutes at any point of time on a 24hour day. I seriously don't know then how is he able to live without at least 5 minutes of free time.

14. And the stores of Vodafone speak for themselves. Every time blocked with so many customers waiting for their issues resolved.

Mr. Sujit, please try changing the tag to "Happy to not help" for your Mumbai circle.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Missing out on basics of selling??

I have been worried about my shoes for the past few days. It has already been two years that I have changed my formal shoes and they started showing some signs of cracks. Finally, after a lot of thought process whether to buy a RedTape to use for 1 year or BATA for 5 months because of the Mumbai weather I decided to go with RedTape or Lee Cooper.

And I started my search for shoes with Lifestyle store at the Oberoi Mall in Goregaon. It has been offering 30-50% discounts on various brands in the price range of Rs.1000/- to Rs.5000/-. The sales executives invited us with a very caring attitude, and carried themselves in a way they should with the customers. Everything was fine in terms of quality of the shoes, brands available. But, there was some feeling from inside that stopped me from buying it from the store though it has huge discounts on the brand I need. It was a feeling that came from inside that I am not buying a new pair of shoes. The shoes were arranged in a systematic way on the hi-quality racks sort of things. But the way they looked is almost like they are 2nd hand shoes with dirt on some shoes, unpolished or looking old, etc.

Then, I moved on to Central store in the same mall. Found the same quality, brand shoes with the same discounts that were offered at the Lifestyle store. Though the sales executives are relatively less on the way they carried out, it did. It meant OK for me as they too are busy with so many customers in the store. But this time it's the size of my feet made me miss on buying a pair.

Next was the Mochi at Infinity Mall in Andheri. I entered the store where 2 executives were sitting along with in charge or manager at one corner. Some 3-4 executives standing at several points with no sense of feeling. They are almost equal to statues unless until, some customer asked them about the price or discount. It has been offering 50% discounts on several shoes and though the sales executive’s behaviour doesn't matter towards my buying behaviour, it was once again the way shoes looked and the way they are arranged. They were with dirt, looking old and need to search the whole table to find the full pair. One shoe lies at one end and the other shoe of the same pair lies somewhere which is to be searched for.

Next was the Metro shoes at Pheonix Mall in Lower Parel. There aren't any offers available on the brands that I wanted over here but still tried to look into them once. The sales executive invited the same way as in Lifestyle with taking my size asking about the type of shoes, range I am looking at and finally started showing different brands. Finally though it doesn't have any discount I settled on RedTape for Rs.2000/.

Though, I got the same pair and brands at LifeStyle or Mochi at 1200 bucks, I preferred to go with Metro for 2000 bucks. There are two reasons for these sorts of decisions that may take place with any customers.

1. SALE with a huge discount doesn't mean that customers buy anything despite the packaging or other features. It's one of the basic funda's I was saying about which a street side shoe seller follows everyday in the morning that biggies like LifeStyle and Mochi missed upon. Everyday morning before arranging the shoes for sale, he makes sure that each pair is shining which was opposite to that at the 2 stores.

2. SALE with a huge discount doesn't mean that customers will make themselves comfortable with the shoes in the store. Products like shoes are still different though it is sold in a Mall from the Apparels. Customer needs to get a sense of buying a product and this comes only when he/she at comfort which comes when someone accompanies them in showing/making them try the products like shoes. You may go to an Apparel store in a Mall and select some pairs and try it for yourself. But, in terms of shoes do you go, select some shoes which are arranged in a scrambled manner, search for pair, try them and ask someone to pack it. It's an absolute "NO" in realistic terms. This is the other funda which a street side shoe shop person follows and missed at Mochi.

SALE may not make a sale unless until you get your basic fundas right...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Breaking the clutter I: Kotak Credit Card

In today’s world, with so many products and services being launched every minute it has become hard for many companies to try and break the clutter. A very few campaigns break the clutter these days and here is one of those campaigns - Kotak Credit Card.

The pics show the way Kotak has reached the customers through the middle-upper class restaurants in Mumbai. You cannot get a better time rather than lunch or dinner, when people are in a relaxed mood. And you can't get a better time to push the message into customer's mind. This isn't a new thought but the way it reached the thoughts of customer is a bit new. The message making it correlated with dining/lunch - card offering discounts on dining at restaurants, card offering free coupons for lunch/dining.