Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lack of professionalism in support services

India's economy is booming. India is on a fast growth trajectory. We hear many such slogans these days describing the booming Indian economy. But the last few days have shown that even though we have the best of products available in India the service level commitments of these companies is absolutely atrocious. Let me give you a few examples

I had a kenstar washing machine and the spin on it stopped working so I called up the service center and was promptly given a complaint number. I did not have a technician come to my house for 48 hours and only after numerous telephone calls and a lot of frustration. He then told me that he had to take the washing machine to his workshop to repair it and it would be gone for a further week that's when I decided to buy a new washing machine since the machine was anyway getting spoilt every 8 months or so.

So I went and bought a new washing machine. The machine was delivered promptly and efficiently. I then called up LG to set up a installation and demonstration and I was promised that someone would be here in 24 hours. Its been 72 hours now and all I have got is a call from the technician telling me that unless they get 2 or 3 installations in my area they are not going to come to my place. He then went on to tell me that since I had already waited for 2 whole days I should wait for another 2 days before they come. If this is the standard of service it looks like all that the company is bothered about is to sell the consumer the product and not care about after sales support. I have gone on to install the washing machine myself having got fed up waiting for them to come.

Another instance of their pathetic service was when I bought an LCD TV. I had the TV sit in a box for two days till I escalated it to their area manager and only then was the technician sent to do the installation. Unfortunately in this case I could not do the installation myself as I needed it to be wall mounted so that my DTH connection could be plugged into the TV.

I have a broadband connection from Hathway. There are times when this connection just goes off and even if you call up the call center they have no idea when it is going to come back up even though the problem is at their end. The answer that they give is that what is your problem it is not working for anyone in your area. It will come when the problem is fixed but we dont know when it will be fixed. They have no sense of ETA's and care of the difficulties that the customer may be going through.

Companies should understand that to retain a loyal customer base selling a good product is not enough - they also need to ensure that the customer is happy using the product. They should give realistic estimates of when they can service a request. If companies do not take service level agreements seriously then they are only losing customers that they managed to get with their good product.

Professional servicing is a new concept in India and there are few companies with whom I have had good experiences such as Tata Sky and Eureka Forbes. But this needs to percolate to all the other companies.

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