Monthly Archives: October 2011

Happy Diwali Alistair Cook

Cricket is probably unofficially the sport that brings my country, India, together irrespective of caste, creed, color, religion etc. The first quarter of the year saw Dhoni’s Men in Blue lift the ultimate prize in world cricket, the World Cup. This sparked off a series of celebrations on the roads which ran late into the night and made a billion+ people really proud! The Indian team had last won this prize way back in 1983! However, the last two months or so Dhoni and his men were probably not on the favorite list of Indian cricket lovers due to the Indian team’s visit to England where India got displaced from a the top spot and suffered a whitewash in the one-day series. But the favor was returned today as a Diwali gift to the English team in the form of the fifth consecutive defeat in the one-days series at Eden Gardens, Calcutta. Oh yes… The mediocre batting effort by the English middle order did help today! Smile

For all the critics out there, India’s Captain Cool has proved again why his team deserves to hold the top spot and how the team can bounce back from a bad patch!

Happy Diwali!!


Customer Service and its nuances

Walk into any big shop/store and look around for about a few minutes and you will have a sales rep walk by you and check if he/she could help you with something. In a departmental store or boutique or even an electronics, you would probably be interested in something specific or could just be looking around… Or even loitering around Smile

But when you are actually interested in something a bit bigger which couldn’t fit into a carry-bag or the boot of your car, you would generally want to hear what the sales rep has to say before you decide, embark on an online research journey, read up on product reviews, assessed your options weighing them against brand/pricing and blah blah blah….

Now when you are actually at the store, a good sales rep is generally very courteous and can rant off the product features even in his/her sleep. What does happen is that when you are doing a market survey, you tend to visit multiple product stores and note the quotations. When it is a big purchase, sometimes the sales rep take your contact details and get back to you to try and close the sale if they figure out that you are impressed by the product that they are selling. What the sales rep sometimes forgets is that the decision to buy or sell is completely a customer’s prerogative. Pitching for the product was the best thing that he/she could do, and if they did a good job on that and followed up regarding the purchase, then it’s a job well done!! Definitely if the sale was done, then you achieved a “+” against your monthly quota and got closer to that elusive incentive package that most sales reps chase! Showing dejection or frustration at the customer not buying the product is a big faux pas that should be avoided at all costs!

I was on the receiving end of such faux pas a few days back in various manifestations! As long as I didn’t respond with the magic sentence “I don’t think I will be making the purchase as I am evaluating other options. Thanks for following-up.”, I received multiple follow-up calls spaced over 2-3 days.

Here are the various responses I got:

Sales Rep: <Hangs up>

Sales Rep: “But you said you were interested. Why are you not buying it?”

Sales Rep: Fine <Hangs up>

Yes, I was interested but I didn’t commit to buy!

Some of these responses didn’t really affect my choice because I have used what the company had to offer in the past and was very satisfied with the service and the quality of the product. (read: returning customer)

The problem arises when you are a new customer. I don’t have first-hand experience of the company’s product and all I know about it is hearsay, what I read about it in the product reviews and maybe some additional facts from existing customers that I had interacted with. In such a scenario, where I got any of the responses above in contrast to a company offering a similar value proposition but with a much better customer service response…… I would end up picking the latter. Such small things which may seem petty in retrospect but when done with a substantially large volume of customers can end up in negative perception which may or may not be truly reflective of the company’s customer service quality! And unfortunately such experiences do spread by word-of-mouth pretty fast!!

A negative experience leaves an indelible mark in the customer’s mind which is deeper than the effect of a hundred positive experiences!