State of service quality in India

So, I lost my wallet for the first time in possibly 20 years that I have been carrying one. Since I lost it in a crowded place and realised it was gone 2 mins after I had checked on it, I was quite sure that it was gone gone, and not fallen under the car seat etc.. I called the 2 Credit Card companies and the 5 “ATM” Banks within the next 45 minutes and cancelled all my cards.

Some of the banks had an option for “Lost Card ?”, taking me to a human voice directly. Rest of them played games with me before taking me to the helpful voice. One of them insisted I make a new “TPIN”. Anyways, I got all 7 cards cancelled in the 45 mins – not bad.

The Amex lady offered me help in getting other cards cancelled – “while you cancel some, I shall help you in cancelling the others”. I actually took her help in cancelling one ATM card. I of course re-checked that later to ensure she was not just pulling a fast one on me – the card had indeed been cancelled – amazing ! Kudos !

I got the new Citi ATM card on Day 3 after my call (I had called them on a Saturday) – the first off the block – well done. Amex Day 4. RBS Day 5. HDFC, IndusInd Credit Day 7. Also, got a call from IDBI RM on Day 7 that he has my card and can I send some one to pick it up…along with an authorisation letter ? Not complaining – Day 7 and all my cards are back into my wallet (almost – IDBI came the next day).

A VERY REFRESHING AND THANKFUL EXPERIENCE. This is what competition can do for a sector. Banking is one of the most competitive sectors (40 foreign banks, 30 domestic private banks, 27 PSU banks, 196 regional rural banks), and banks are fighting to retain the custom of the Indian customer. I have 24 ATMs in a 500m radius of my Chembur home – believe it or not !

Now, just have to replace my PAN Card and Driving Licence – shudder…should have some competition there as well, what say ?

Moving on…my wife and I also threw our IFB Auto Front-loading washing machine this week…waiting for 23 days to get it repaired. The IFB people have sub-let their service to some crook of a local company, which is systematically destroying the brand equity of a global behemoth…byte by byte (they are moving fast). These people lie that they have sent a Repair man, tell that the “part” is on the way and push back when chased a lot. The IFB call centre are sympathetic. But looks like feedback is not going up to the decision-makers. Sounds familiar and reminiscent of pre-1990 days ? (Phone, Gas, Fridge repair ?). We have been happy with post-sales service quality for our fridge from guess who ? Yes, Samsung…and hence, we bought a washing machine of Samsung so that we can have some one deliver on service. Dunno who will give the Product R&D guys at IFB this feedback ?

There is space for more enterprising companies to step in as service centres for such consumer durable giants. Follow SLA, say the truth and deliver – not too tough, correct ?

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