Why Manage Better?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How Poor Service Ruins Brands – eZone (Pantaloon Retail) and LG in India

eZone claims to be a leading retailer of electronic and white goods in India.  I though so too.  The customer service I have received is consistently poor and prompted me to think how brands are ruined by poor service.  

As a practice I don’t write on a specific experience on my blog – I do not want to be accused of generalizing a specific.  But, I am making an exception.

What is customer service?  I recently conducted a series of workshops and simulations for a services organization and explored this question with the participants using real customer stories.  Over 200 participants (in groups of about 20-25) came to similar conclusions:

  1.  Timely and sincere apology can save the day
  2. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver
  3. Keep the customer informed and DON’T lie
  4.  The only customer you have is the one you are serving right NOW.

eZone failed on every account in my case.  In fact it has been so hopeless that I am forced to include it as an example that I hope no other retailer emulates.  It may not help anyone if I get into specifics – but in summary, we bought several items from the retailer before the Indian festival of lights, Diwali.  All items were promised to be delivered in ten days or so.  While other items were finally delivered (with some delay and lots of follow-up) a washing machine is yet to be delivered after over 45 days!!! 

In this time I have spent more time following up and losing my patience than eZone has bothered to spend on trying to deliver.  I pity the lack of creativity in making up stories – I was given same story twice.  Obviously they forgot what lie they told the previous time.  During this period I have asked for complaint process – there was none.  I have written on their website – no reply yet.  They have made it impossible difficult for a customer to complain.  Smart thinking.

While I still await the washing machine, I thank eZone and LG Electronics for giving me a wonderful story of how poor service can ruin brands.  Big brands.  I am a quality professional and conduct a lot of training sessions – I am always looking for a good story to tell.  Thank you eZone and LG India.

Update (Last week Dec) - Well eZone salvaged some reputation.  I sent this post to the CEO and he surely got the wheels moving. Washing machine was delivered, apology from store manager, money refunded, and a complementary gift (reluctantly accepted).  

I guess speaking up helped.  Lesson - don't tolerate poor service. Speak UP.  Chances are service provider is actually keen to listen.  We just don't shout often and loud enough.


Prisni said...

On a relate note -
One often reaches a dead end with "Customer Service". I've found that most interactions lead me to believe that I, as a customer,I'm getting closer and closer to servicing a customer service system as opposed having a system that serves customers.
Most conversations end up with " But Madam, the system won't allow me to view/ change this for you".!!!

Unknown said...

how to get in contact with the ceo of ezone