Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Fussbudget

At the Induction Day speech of my first job, the company's vice president introduced us to a new (to me) concept - Customer Delight. He defined it as a step above the usual Customer Satisfaction.
Rather than a satisfied customer, a delighted customer brings in more business - naturally.
But sadly, even customer satisfaction seems to be pretty hard to find these days!! Customer need not be the king, but they aren't dirt either. What follows is a list of incidents where not even the S of the satisfaction was reached.

Incident 1:
A popular textile showroom in Usman Road (we shall call it Pothys) . I was shopping with a friend, on a crowded day. She had just picked up some pants and was waiting in queue with about thirty other people for the use of three fitting rooms. I in turn was waiting for her some distance away and saw a sales lady next to me, standing idle. I smiled at her (I did!) and said "What a crowd! Maybe you can suggest adding some more fitting rooms to manage this" in what I thought was a friendly voice.
She shot an irritated look at me and spat out, "Aaan, the manager will be sitting downstairs. Go down and tell him. Hmph!". So saying she turned her head away and I felt that she stopped short of slapping!
Maybe she was already in a bad mood and thought of me as a nosy parker - even then did I deserve that reply?
This ensured that the portals of Pothys weren't spoiled by this nosy parker again.

Incident 2:
A popular photo studio in Nungambakkam (this we shall call Konica). Let me just say that no other shop had succeeded in making me as mad as this dear one! After the experience, in a fit of 'Hopping Mad'ness, true to the digital age I sent out a complaint EMail. Whatever I hoped for as a reply, it certainly wasn't this! I did not email you for the sales brochure, my lads!
[insert another indignant 'Well' here]

Incident 3:
A popular cruise ship (you know I'm going to say the name anyway) called the Super Star Virgo. It was my first cruise and I was all excited about it until we were actually on the ship. Well, trip details will come later but for now lets gossip.
There was a water slide which was accessed by a flight of stairs. I did not notice that we are not allowed to wear any chains and climbed all of the steps (which seemed about fifty) and prepared to slide down. The slide in-charge told me bluntly 'Stop. Can't go'.
I was confused and asked him why.
He pointed to my chain and said insolently 'Remove'.
'Oh am I not allowed to wear it? I'm sorry but its ok I'll take care'.
He shook his head and told me, 'Remove' in a harder tone.
I said, 'OK can you keep it for me? I'll come back and get it from you', so eager was I to slide down.
'No No. Go back down or put it in pocket', he said to me at a time I was wearing a swim suit (do they come with pockets?).
'Please? I don't have any pockets. Do you really want me to go all the way down there? Listen I'll take full responsibility for the chain, do let me go."
"Look. I give you one chance. You go back or get out".
That did it.
I was afterall a 'guest' (as the ship's brochures proudly called us) and common etiquette demands that you shouldn't be rude to your guests - even those who did not read the water slide rules.
Of course I complained to his supervisor and I imagined a beautiful scene would follow where His Insolency came and said "I apologise for being rude" and I sweetly told him, "Oh but I should've read the rules too. Let bygones be just that.".
Well, reality hit where no sweet scenes happened. Just one fuming 'guest' and a load of BS speaking supervisor were left.
The water slide looked too exciting that I forgot my pride and went and had a slide after I made sure that the same guy wasn't on duty. And I did remove my chain this time.

Just so that you, my reader, aren't left with a bad taste at the end of this post, I shall now recount an incident which was completely in contrast to the ones above.

Incident 4:
'The dot says its hot" - does this sound familiar? Its the promise of Pizza Hut at Singapore that they'll give a free pizza if the delivered pizza isn't hot. One pizza of ours wasn't hot and the dot did say so.
So, the next time I ordered a pizza, I told the girl that my last order wasn't hot and I had the box to prove so can I please have a free pizza too?
She forwarded me to her manager who told me that the rule is that if we get a non-hot pizza we were expected to immediately alert Pizza Hut of the fact. Telling them after a month and a half as in our case wasn't accepted.
That made sense, I said, but how can they expect me to alert them immediately when nowhere in the brochure or the box does it say so?
After some more talk back and forth of the same vein, she said that this one time they can bend the rules. And also that our free pizza was on our way along with the regular order.
I love you Pizza Hut!
Now there's an example of what the dude was talking about. Customer Delight? I should think so!!