I would like to take through my experience of after sales services with different companies from different segments.
Optimum utilization of Smartphone is not only for calling but also experiencing many features, unfortunately with poor battery life, usage is restricted for just couple of hours against as extended hours promised by companies. To overcome this constraint, I decided to move from recent trend of convergence to have two device one for voice and other for data.
Decided to take up data services provided by one of a leading telecom service provider, whose brand ambassador is a Bollywood personality, not being seen in the recent TV commercials. With great enthusiasm, I started accessing data using SIM through a 3G dongle. However, it was inconvenient to browse internet through tablet connected via a 3G dongle especially during local transport, so I went ahead and replaced tablet with a smartphone. Assuming that it would be plug and play but vola as soon as I inserted data SIM card in slot of the handset, I was unable to browse even though it was showing strong network.
Took the help of call centre, after taking through multiple layers of IVR got the right options to get disconnected abruptly. Since, I was determined to get it rectified at any cost, in my second attempt, I got through the customer service executive wherein I took him through the entire story again, he made me to hold for some time and got back saying that this SIM card can only be used through 3G dongle and can't be used to access data using smartphone. That is really frustrating to hear after a going through a lengthy IVR process.
Next day first thing in the morning reached the outlet from where I had hired services in order to disconnect it. I was irritated and dejected with it, and started my conversation to the point saying since the SIM cared cannot be used in smartphone to access data want to discontinue service. He took my handset and did some settings but the result was the same, checked my payment details and came to know there was payment pending. Asked to make payment and check after 45 minutes. Yes, I could now browse using my smartphone with data SIM.
In the hindsight, realised if I have not told customer service executive that I was using SIM in the dongle he would have admitted that he cannot be of any help to me, instead I helped him to avoid me. My experience taught me that to deal with after service sales team we need to equip ourselves with some basic knowledge of technology instead of blaming it on poor after sales service.
Soon after this incident, I was now wondering should I go for a tablet or not? Since tablets were available ranging from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 45000, how much should I invest? How will it be utilized? Newspapers advertisements were even making me tempted with schemes having easy payment options? Discussed with tech savvy friends to arrive at a decision. And then on my wife's birthday, decided to gift her a tab and so went out to couple of shops but could not take a decision. Still the question was lingering in my mind, is it worth shelling out the money? While, I was returning back decided to stop at one more shop and then I took a plunge and bought it.
My wife is not gadget enthusiast but I managed to convince her to use it by showing convenience of accessing Facebook, ecommerce site, apps for entertainment and education for my kid. Now comes trouble, while searching for apps we got our first setback, this tablet does not support Google Play Store and it cannot be installed as this vendor has something similar, we could not experience apps which was part of Google. We started to live with the limitation of the apps and then one day after 7 months of purchase, the battery conked off.
Since the company's service centre was opposite my office, I decided to walk-in and get the problem sorted. When I reached there, I was told to wait for my turn. After some time, I realised I was being royally ignored, i decided to approach the guys at the counter again. As if executive was expecting me to give up and go, unfortunately for him I was in no mood to give up till my they address my requirements. He reluctantly informed that as a process I need to get a complain number from call centre.
Now comes my second hurdle, call centre number was coming continuously engaged so i decided to send a mail from smartphone so that I give myself an option whichever mode gives me complain number first (till date I have not got response for the mail). When informed the executive unable to get through service centre as it is continuously engaged and to see if he can do something offline. I get the response "it will take time to get connected you won't get it easily". After supreme efforts, got connected to call centre number, luckily IVR options were minimum and got to right options. After 13 minutes of waiting call centre executive listens, sorry hears me out and informs me that it is not possible to give complain number as system is down. Was determined not to lose cool so approached another executive (lady not very attractive) she takes up case asked to come after an hour by that time diagnose would be done, she requested me to try and get the complaint number in meantime, which will help me in tracking the case easily.
After an hour went with great hope that error in the tab would be rectified same day, but unfortunately was asked to check on Monday (next week) as Saturday and Sunday the service center is closed. In meantime, before going to the service centre did managed to get the complaint number. Monday morning before going to office went straight to service centre again with wrong expectations of getting my problem rectified, but answer was not only far off my expectation but also shocking that I would get the tab after 10 days as part as has to come from Noida.
Again why blame the vendor's after sale service, if the service centre was not next to my office, I would have got the complaint number before going to service centre. Instead of expecting there would atomised system in the service centre of an IT company and moreover why should one expect that things would be done as per our expectation. Meanwhile yesterday got a call that my tab is ready and to collect it, but won't be surprised if they say battery is not covered under warranty or since I don't have invoice, hence will be charged. Product serial number is all they would need to track details of tab.
We always blamed monopoly of PSUs for poor service and answer to that was privatisation. Privatisation started and they set up division to service the customer, but the people who are part of service are part of the same breed, takes up this assignment like any other work and not sensitive that this part requires a different mind-set and approach.
No doubt things have changed, it would be right to put "things are changing" and there are few instances of good servicing rather than few instances of bad service. This would continue till Top management doesn't take after sales service as part of strategy for repeat business. Instead of focussing only on top and bottom numbers at any cost. They need to invest on grooming their workforce by imbibing service first attitude and giving them right compensation.
By Ravindranath Nair,
GM - Sales and Marketing
CyberMedia (I) Ltd.
(The views expressed in this article are the personal observations of the author and not that of The DQ Week and it's range of publications)