Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is customer the King? Yes it seems so!

While the aim of obtaining a gas cylinder in our own name is still unrealised, we had our household goods in place very easily. The dealers called us later to check if everything was OK and wanted to ascertain that we were happy with their service. Another person called again to ask whether the delivery boys had demanded money for making the 'free' delivery. We said no! While they did not openly ask for money, they stood around with expectation mirrored on their faces and we did give them some 'chai pani' tip. I suppose they earned it as the job was done with a smile!

On the day the goods were delivered, service guys also called to inform us that they had received a service order and then came home to give us a demo on how to operate the equipments. They were competent and knew their job and the machines. Again no demand for money! However the washing machine guy did try to sell us a service contract for 5 years at a discount. I declined as I wanted to see how the warranty worked!

There is a story as to why I felt like a king! The 'Whirlpool' company delivered the refrigerator earlier than they had promised! The delivery crew had to unpack it on the staircase landing as the main door of our apartment is narrow! Anyway as they started rolling in the fridge I noticed a dent, right on the front door of the fridge. I said 'stop' and called the dealer rep to inform him about it and asked him what he proposed to do about it. He said he would call me back immediately after talking to the Whirlpool depot.

Interesting that while the sales guy was trying to sort out the problem the delivery guy tried to shift the blame on us suggesting that it might have happened while they unpacked it on the staircase landing. This upset me a bit as it was their job to be deliver the unit without damage. I am not sure about the small print regarding damages in transit. I believe the delivery guys were on contract!

The rep called back promptly and promised that the fridge would be replaced and requested me to accept the piece as it is and pay for it in full and not hold back about Rs.5000 I had proposed till it was replaced. This was my ploy to make sure that they kept their promise. He spoke of some technical problems for not accepting my proposal and gave his personal guarantee that it would be replaced! I agreed. I was actually expecting him to try and convince me to accept it as is or may be offer me a discount! He did not!

While I accepted the assurance of the rep, I wanted the Whirlpool manager to call me and confirm that this was really going to be replaced the next day. The depot manager did call me soon after and gave me his personal assurance that it would be done. He even said we could start using the fridge in the meantime.

I was actually testing the system as well as the people. I am happy to say that the promise was kept and the fridge replaced as promised. I was specially impressed with the way the depot manager of Whirlpool spoke to me and followed up. There was no bored arrogance that I would have encountered in the (?) old times.
There was a delay in replacing the fridge, mainly due to technical reasons! The delivery people called me on Saturday morning to tell me that it would be delivered around 4 pm. We waited the whole evening and finally called the depot manager about the non-delivery. He was surprised as the delivery order was already made and promised to investigate and tell me why it was not delivered. He called back to inform that his men could not contact me on my phone and hence returned with out delivering. (The battery of my cell phone was dead but was recharged by 4pm!) The delivery man also told the manager that the house locked! I really cannot fathom the reason why the driver had to tell a fib as no one came near the house. May be he just went home after he failed to contact me. The flaw here was that the men had no clear address and they do not use a map to locate an address. They keep calling for directions and they are very casual about the time of delivery. Anytime during the day is a bit too much of a wait. Anyway the fridge was delivered the next day. '
It felt good to get this type of service without a person of influence putting in a word on our behalf to see that goods were delivered, installed and serviced. I remember the days when I had to wait for a TV for over a month, even that was an out of turn delivery, and the guys acted as if they doing me a great favour.
I also feel a bit sheepish when I think of the damage that I fussed about. It was a small dent, about 6mm in diameter and would not have affected the working of the machine. But I am glad that I tested the system and proved to myself how things have changed for the better for an average customer, here in India.
The dent!

5 comments:

Gayathri said...

I love the picture of the dent! But a dent is a dent is a dent - so asking for a replacement is absolutely justified!

srinidhi said...

Actually it is Dimple! Now I am feeling real stupid to have made all that fuss! But it proves that competition is really necessary for the common good of a customer!

BSIK Murthy said...

My Dear Nidhi

Thank God, your experience at Bengaluru has been comparatively good.

Kittu

Hari Gopalan said...

Nidhi:

There is no dent in the picture all you wanted was a new refrigerator. Glad to know you're settling well in India and thanks for an unbiased report.

Rikhi Raj Sachdev said...

Dear Srinidhi


unbelievable. India service has improved.


best regards
Rikhi