Monday, May 03, 2010

Customer service ha ha ha

The ads depict bank executives who care so much for you that they bring out a laddoo for you, Coz it's your birthday.

Well, if they spent a little less on laddoos and on advertisements, they just might be able to provide what customers really want - like working ATMs.

This afternoon 3 out of 4 ATMs in a large branch in Vashi were not working. The 4th was disbursing cash in dribbles (40 notes).

One or more of these machines is usually not working - every other time you go there.

The executive sitting under the 'complaints' desk is non-responsive. I fill out a receipt book kind of form (carbon copied) - and she non-chalantly mentions that "We don't maintain the ATMs, some other company does it..."

Ah, kitna karti hai company 'khayaal aapka'.

Ultimately, the gent in the 'wealth management' section was kind enough to agree there is a problem. Not just with ICICI but all ATMs in the Thane-Vashi belt. And he will definitely tell the Branch Manager to look into it.

Well, another shining example of customer service is the Reliance Big Flix store. Three days ago - it was functioning as usual, inside Reliance Webworld. Today, all shelves are empty.

Apparently customers were informed by sms that the store will be shutting down. Why? Because the entire Webworld is shutting down, in a month.


But couldn't the boy at the counter tell customers who were visiting the shop to pick up or return DVDs (yes, they have home delivery but some of us are just old fashioned).

At the very least, could someone have put up a print out announcing the same?

No, sir.

And while I am at it, let me rant a bit about Kishore Biyani's Food Bazaar chain of stores. I know it's a little desi, but I've always had a soft spot for this store. Despite the arrival of HyperCity I would still drop in at times - but not any more.

First of all, there is a new rule under which ladies purses must be zipped and sealed into a transparent plastic bag. Before you enter the store.

I find it cheap and silly - agreed shoplifting may be a problem, but how much can one shoplift in a purse that too in a store atta, dal and phal-subzi? What was the magnitude of the problem - can someone from Future Group kindly share?

To me, it is a sign that all izz not well at Food Bazaar - and possibly most other modern retailers. That's when you look for where to cut corners, save a little here and there - at the expense of the brand. And loyalty of the customer.

Apart from the purse issue, there are others. Many niche brands which Food Bazaar once stocked - which I liked to buy - are no longer there. I bet some consultant did a study recommending the 'long tail' of products which sell slowly and therefore are less profitable, can be axed.

Well then what is the difference between a supermarket and a kirane ka dukaan? Sure, the price conscious customers who want to save Rs 73 on a bill of Rs 1100, and get a plastic mug free - they will still come.

But if someone else like Reliance Fresh offers them Rs 83 off on the same basket of goods, they would happily go there.

All you get is a price war that no one can win. People like me go back to our local slightly exotic foods rakhne wala kirana(takes far less time at the cash register!)

And oh, there are three Food Bazaars within a 1 km radius of my home - all of which are mostly empty. Why not close two of them and have one, smooth-as-silk managed store?

Well, bolne se dil halka hota hai. So bol diya. Ab halke kadmon se ja rahi hoon... park mein sair karne.

Jai Maharashtra, Jai Hind.


  1. Nice one.. but do they care???? i fought with vodafone several days back for a long time about issues related to differences in prices for same scheme in postpaid and prepaid. Still no response.. But you please keep it up.

  2. So true. Nicely said. Loved the bit about the "consultant" :).

  3. Ha Ha...I think you have forgot Vodafone who i heard has started charging for customer care calls..

  4. Very well said Rashmi. But the issue is that this issue of poor customer service is just not getting solved. You missed out the one company which tops in poor customer service: AIRTEL.

  5. Rashmi,
    I had the same problem with Big Bazaar at Bby Central and Phoenix- every woman is a potential shoplifter - the security guard happily informed me while insisting my little sling be zipped. The others hushed her up but now you know how Future group treats customers. Another thing - if you paid cash and sometimes even on a CC , they coolly round it off . If you bill is 10.20, 10.50 or 10.90, you will pay Rs. 11. Considering their volume of business, this rounding off must be running into some fancy sums. Godrej natures basket does it too. if giving change is problem why do they have to pocket it? Atleast they can have a signboard saying all the extra rounding off money will go to say an Ashadan. Shilpa

  6. baat nikali hai to fir dur talak jayegi ;)

    See my tweet & response tweet from @ICICI_care

    I thought they might be little shameful & will do something but I'm still waiting for the PIN to reset & them to reply ;)

  7. recently went to an electronic store in gurgaon. the product i wanted was out of stock, so i asked a shop assistant where will i get it, he just walks on by saying call the number on the board. when i asked to see the manager, he gets someone and says talk to him without waiting to see what my complaint was! the guy tells me that it is not their job to ask around where the product is available. last year, in melbourne, i went to officeworks to buy a printer. it was out of stock at the outlet, within 5 minutes they had rung up the branches close to where i was staying, booked the item for me, printed a street map and a list of all the branches and other electronic stores that i could visit. 5 minutes. comparisons are odious, but i have had the gurgaon experience in most stores, from auto repair to restaurants. at reliance stores, i was asked to leave my pc at the locker and i even offered to have them check the bag at the exit and randomly throughout the store.

  8. Very recently I also ranted about customer service in India. It is non-existent and pretty wasteful for organizations to spend on it because very few care about it among us. We care about cost and at best quality but never customer service that comes with any product or service. So as you said, if a competitor provides cheaper, we'd happily jump to it.
    This is common knowledge for a businessman right from the dhobi to the biggest banks. If SBI releases a loan scheme, people rush to it to stand in lines, BSNLs poor service is one of the benchmarks in itself but they know their price beats everything.
    So till we buy bad service, I am pretty assured that there would be sellers of bad service.

    Interestingly on the ICICI commercial that you've posted, I always wondered if the employees of ICICI see it. I visited an ICICI bank branch and these commercials play in a loop in the banks. However just under that LCD TV playing that commercial sat an ICICI employee who answered to my complaint that this is not my problem, its the department in Mumbai that lost your documents.

  9. Seeing people mostly ranting here about lack of customer service, let me say something positive about Airtel where a couple of times I have been quite surprised by their response.
    Once my broadband/landline stopped working, so I lodged a complaint using their website. Next morning I got a call in office that it was fixed. They had spoken to my friend who was at home, but said that they'll confirm from me again. In the evening I got the confirmation call. The speed of their response was amazing.
    Another time there was some problem with their billing system and I used to get cellphone bills practically on the last date. Repeated complaints didnt help, so I shot off a mail to the nodal officer. Within a couple of days I got a response (and attached were bills of the previous two months).

    Hope that they continue to remain responsive and improve their service.

  10. ICICI and Airtel are classic examples of what THEY THINK they are and WHAT WE FIND THEY ARE..

  11. Dear Rashmi,

    We are the customer service team at ICICI Bank. We appreciate your feedback, and will take action to rectify the ATM issue at the earliest. In case you should have any queries, you can email us at We'll be glad to hear from you.

    ICICI Bank Customer Service Team.

  12. ^and thus a voice has been heard,

  13. ICICI takes the cake in India for being a hopeless organisation in terms of customer service.

    IN fact, I am supposedly a 'premium' or whatever customer entitled to special banking previleges and personalised services at the Desk [one of thier new ads also shows this]... the reality is far from it... on phone, my card number will take ages before it can be connected to a human voice.

    Again, the desk service is also very shoddy at their Sce'Bd branch.

    Comparing this to Citi, where I have only a credit card:
    a) Human voice- very soon and easy to reach - no 100 numbers to press;
    b) Speed for getting back on open items- amazing... I have seen them send me replacement cards in 48 hours flat.

    I wish my Company would moving our accounts to banks like CITI - I am too pissed to walk into a ICICI 'railway station' crowded branch!

    Finally, before I sign [main bhi dil halka kar loon :) ]
    why don't thier loans dept know that I am not looking for loans - every few days, I used to get calls from them, until I started telling them that I was 'unemployed' and really needed a loan - calls stopped!!
    Funny thing is, the loans folks never checked my basic account standing from the Bank itself [thank God]!

  14. Hi Rohit,

    We understand that our official had contacted you and assisted you regarding PIN. We will revert to you on your e-mail ID.

    ICICI Bank Customer Care

  15. Hi Aps,
    We are the customer service team at ICICI Bank. Please write to us with your contact details and loan account number at (Subject line: UID 417866). We'll contact you and work to address your issue.
    ICICI Customer Service Team.

  16. so, ICICI bank follows this blog! great, what about vodafone chaps? they have promised to send me a duplicate bill in lieu of the one they did not send 2 months ago! still waiting! can't the little pug find my home?

  17. I invite you to join us; become a member, and get involved with your HR colleagues. Your investment in membership will be well worth the knowledge you will gain and the professional network you will develop.

  18. Hi GenericIPguy,

    We are sorry to hear about your experience and would like to take this opportunity to provide you our better services. We have made a note of your various concerns as mentioned here. If you can email us with your contact number at (Subject line: UID 424667), we'll be glad to have someone contact you immediately and address all your issues.

    ICICI Bank Customer Service Team.

  19. Once I worked for some customer care services, and what you're showing here, I have to admit sometimes its so true!!

  20. So true ..... Customer is like a shit to them.... its like a "bakra" .. kaato and make your business....

    All telecoms are super lousy...and Icici tops all the charts... u ask for new passwords.. Man they beat government bureaucracy :D .. long lines.. shady infra ...
    Any problem and they will refer you to some helpline... and that helpline is God send... whom are they hiring these days... those people dont understand the problem.. and redirect you to so many numbers so that either you give up or you give up :D
    Sometime back I applied for a credit card in Deustche... they said they can't give it to me because I dont have a credit record.. LOL man.... too good.. :D

    And I feel really ashamed whenever I go abroad... you are so well treated there.. and hats off to our so called customer oriented companies.... my foot

  21. Hi Aditya,

    We are the customer service team at ICICI Bank and regret the inconvenience faced by you. Is there any service issue we can help you with now? You can email us about it with your contact details at and mention the subject line as “UID 475465“. We'll be glad to contact you and help you resolve any issue you might have.

    ICICI Bank Customer Service Team.


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