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Customer is the kill!

Increased competition, soaring costs, receding margins, buyer’s market and you would think it’s a perfect set up for the Customer is the King philosophy. Yet most brands today do no more than lip service when it comes to service. They have flashy mission statements that reek of customer service. However their actions are like an alcoholic in a rehab.

8 Service lessons I learnt as a Customer…

1. Make the customer feel welcome

I walk into the branch of India’s so called leading Bank to submit my KYC documents. I was greeted by a completely empty branch with just one lost soul who promptly informed me that the entire branch staff has gone for a team meeting. And when I ask him about the KYC documents I need to submit, he says he has just joined and has no clue.

Wow. Why did they leave you here? The security guard could have told me that.

2. Processes should not become a hindrance

My husband calls the Xanon Printer Call Centre for a service complaint and the Call Centre agent asks him for the Printer type. When my husband gives the details..

Sorry sir I cannot help you as this printer is not in my list

What the hell does that mean? It’s a Xanon Printer and I don’t care what your list says. Put me to your Technical team.

Sorry sir, in order to put you through the technical team, I need to punch in the Printer number and my system will not accept your number as the printer is not in my List.

One doesn’t need to read Dilbert jokes anymore, service calls are more hilarious.

3. Don’t expect your Customer to know your business

After waiting for 30 days and no revert on my service request, I call the Call Center

You have to submit an Account Activation Form

What? But I already submitted some forms

No, you submitted the KYC Application Form, you did not submit the Account Activation Form

Oh damn me. They taught me this through my school and college. Why didn’t I remember it?

4. Data entry errors are a service dampener

Mam please give your date of birth


Sorry mam your date of birth is incorrect.

What do you mean? I am giving you the correct DOB. I gave you my identity proof which has my DOB.

Sorry mam I cannot help you as I cannot authenticate your account.

Lovely, so how many attempts do I get to guess what you put in your freaking system?

5. Provide personalized service through a Dedicated RM

I tell the Call Center agent to send someone over for the form. The Call Center agent quickly refuses

You do not have a dedicated RM tagged to you

So tag a name

It will take 5 working days

Sure I have waited for 2 months, I can wait for 5 days

After a week I received a sms with my RM details and when I call her

Mam your account has been closed

Are you kidding me? I came to your branch so I can activate a dormant account not close it

I tell her that I want to end this mess and transfer all my shares to another bank account. She very hurriedly and almost excitedly said “Ok mam” before hanging up.

Wow now that’s what I call a Relationship

6. Show empathy for your customer

Just before my surgery, when the nurse is attaching IV to me

Doctor “Were you on an IV before this operation”


Doctor to Nurse “This is already half, this is not her IV”

Nurse “This is her IV doctor, I am sure”

Doctor goes out and comes back screaming “Arre yeh to Sujata ka hai”

And he quickly slips me the anesthesia and my last thoughts were What if you operate me for Sujata’s illness

7. Don’t use mindless scripted responses

I write a long email with all my grievances in a sequence to the customer center and they revert saying I need to submit my KYC documents again as they lost a lot of documents in the 26/7 Mumbai rains. Have you gone out of your mind. That was 7 years ago, I submitted my KYC documents 6 months back. No revert after that.

8. Promise only what you can deliver

A day before my trip to France..

Sorry mam we have to bump you off this flight due to some technical difficulties. And the new flight now has a 5 hour stopover instead of the 2 hrs you had earlier.

What how can you do that? What will I do for 5 hrs at the airport.

Mam we can give you a First Class Lounge pass.

I reluctantly agree. When we reach the Mumbai Airport they hand us a First Class Lounge pass for Mumbai Airport.

What do I do with this? I need it for the stopover in Abu Dhabi.

Mam we don’t have authority to give you for that airport.

So which fool was given the authority on the phone?

Service Representatives in my opinion should have a genuine empathy for the customer and empowerment to solve problems. But somehow we have empowered processes and only sympathy for the customer.