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Apr 29

This Issue is  Resolved

Another tale of woeful customer service, this time from Femina , a brand of the Times group (yeah its the same one as Indiatimes , we know you are no longer surprised at the low level of customer service). So here is the long and short of it:

We have a Femina subscription at home, this week the Femina issue is supposed to have a free tube of Lakme Sunscreen. But it wasn’t there in our copy, mom had received it without actually seeing whether the magazine had the free sunscreen or not. Anyway, when I noticed the offer I was shocked to hear from my mom that the magazine’s seal was broken and the sunscreen was already stolen when we received it.

It is not as if we cant afford sunscreen, mom uses a better/equivalent brand already. But the fact is that Lakme probably spent lakhs of shareholder money (I am a shareholder in Unilever and Trent) to promote their new sunscreen. And their target customers never receive the free gift, probably the magazine couriers will be applying the cream (probably another target audience).

Also, most appalling thing in all of this is the attitude of Femina and its so called customer care team. Despite repeated emails I haven’t been able to solicit a single reply from anyone in their organisation (except a cc from their main office which asked the Delhi office to respond). In an earlier incident despite paying for the magazine our copies weren’t coming, even then multiple emails went unanswered after 1 initial reply, this time also the same is looking like the trend. Their customer care system has no tracking and tracing, so its their wish whether they want to answer any email or not.

Poor customers are now pasting their sorrow caused by Femina all over the internet as one consumer complaint page will show. I will be sending this link to their customer care team and any corporate emails I know of, at-least Indiatimes took notice when blogs wrote about their shoddy service, lets see if Femina really cares !

Update

After emailing them again with a copy of this link, got a call from them yesterday, they said that they will send me the gift ASAP. Lets see if that happens, will keep you guys posted. Hopefully their customer care team will be more responsive in the future and adhere to the standards they are supposed to.

ee if Femina really cares !

Update- 2

Got the gift now, also received another call from Femina confirming if i had got it. This issue is resolved.


Apr 02

We share with you the case of one of our readers, Atul, he is being sent from pillar to post by HP India’s service center team at their Kirti Nagar service center (New Delhi) for getting his laptop repaired. Here is his ordeal in his own words :

After getting irritated from HP due to their services I could not help but make people more aware before buying notebooks. The following mail which was sent to HP services manager has been exactly reproduced here to admonish you all against HP. The mail would give you a fair idea about the grievances faced by the customers

Sir,

I submitted my notebook “HP dv 1743″ with “Serial No. : XXXXX” and “Case Id : XXXXXX” approximately a month back. Since then I have observed a very irresponsible behaviour of HP Service Centre (Kirti Nagar). All the people whom I happen to talk to, gave me completely different status of my laptop. Initially optical drive was to be changed which was done after 7-8 days. Then I got 2 different views. According to one, there was a problem with my motherboard “only”, and according to other there was a problem with my bluetooth “only”. Since then I have heard four times that they have received wrong part and it would take them an another week for receiving the right part, which has till now never happened and I anticipate that it is never going to happen.
I have already spent close to Rs. 300 on my phone bills for calling HP and for your kind information except for once I never received any communication from your side regarding the status of my notebook.

I request you to kindly compare your services with your competitors like “DELL” which takes not more than half an hour to even replace the parts like motherboard or anything. I know that you would never be able to emulate them but at least you can fix an upper limit like 7 days or something before which the problem would be rectified. And if you can’t do that, it’s better you shut your service stations and outsource the services.

Will someone from the HP India team please take notice ? If you know someone in HP India , bring this case to their notice.


Dec 31

I had ordered this Walkman from Sony to be delivered by 24th December and chosen Overnight Standard. How long should packages sent via overnight standard take within continental US ?

1 day , 2 days, 3 days , 4 days ? or even more ?

Fed-Ex literally made their overnight service a BIG JOKE with my latest package. Continental US Delivery took so much time that my Christmas was essentially ruined. Just see the status messages :

Dec 26, 2008  

4:25 PM At local Fed-Ex facility  PORTLAND, OR 

4:10 PM Delivery exception    PORTLAND, OR Delay beyond our control 

7:17 AM On Fed-Ex vehicle for delivery    PORTLAND, OR 

6:59 AM At local Fed-Ex facility    PORTLAND, OR 

Dec 24, 2008
12:01 AM At local Fed-Ex facility    PORTLAND, OR 

Dec 23, 2008
10:59 PM At dest sort facility    PORTLAND, OR 

7:47 PM Departed Fed-Ex location    MEMPHIS, TN 

7:14 AM In transit   MEMPHIS, TN 

2:15 AM Arrived at Fed-Ex location   MEMPHIS, TN 

12:43 AM In transit    CHICAGO, IL 

Dec 22, 2008
7:08 PM Left Fed-Ex origin facility   HILLSIDE, IL 

6:14 PM Picked up    HILLSIDE, IL 

6:07 AM Package data transmitted to Fed-Ex  

What the hell does delay beyond our control mean ? Calling them you got to hear only mumble and more mumble, no explanation, no nothing. Fed-ex is totally unprofessional and don’t honour my business and don’t deserve it. I would also request anyone out there who respects and honours the Christmas spirit to not give Fed-ex their business.

The company ruined my Christmas, please ruin it for them ! Please do not use this unprofessional company for any of your packages. They should realise bad customer service = no more customers. Even USPS is much better than this company.

Got it finally of December 27th 2008 thankfully.


Oct 23

If you have ever read online blogs including this one, you would realise bloggers often use their websites and blogs as a medium to vent their frustrations against firms who dole out shabby or unacceptable customer service to them. And gone are the days when the reviews went un-noticed. The fact that most people search google before buying a product or service from a company makes these reviews pretty darn important.

On this blog only, we have written about poor customer service multiple times. Infact i call this blog a consumer plus technology blog as i enjoy writing about consumer matters as much as other technology matter. Sometimes these reviews work out like in the case of TNT Couriers or Indiatimes, sometimes they dont like Sony India (who are yet to reply to me regarding the issue). But the fact is that companies who genuinely care about customers or those who genuinely care about their reputation do solve matters which are posted publicly online.

Also worth noting is an article in the Business Standard dated 3-Oct-2008, the headline reads “Bloggers trashing your company? Online reputation managers are here ” , i have quoted some text from the article :

Most companies refused to divulge what they called “trade secrets”, but Communicate 2 Managing Director Vivek Bhargava said the first thing is to identify the source and if possible to pull the site down with the creator’s permission. If not, these companies create more content to confuse the search engine, so that the crazy blog doesn’t come up on the first page.

Its a very saddening quote, companies whose aim is to dilute genuine feedback are cropping up. They make pages to confuse search engines so that feedback cant be found about the company. I would love to know which companies employ such organisations. What i found hilarious was that they try to pull down sites. I mean if someone contacts me to pull down an article i wrote i would probably post the email transcripts here. Also if a company does infact solve the issue after i report it, i write a proper thank you post for them.


Sep 28

A few months ago i had posted about how Sony India was refusing to honour its warranty clause on a memory stick and how one of their employees Ms. __ (the company officials know her name as i had written it in my email to them) had behaved rudely. When i let her know that her tone was not appreciated she refused to help me and honour my request.

Anyway i wrote a strong letter to their online dept. (4-5 letters actually), and pretty soon a Sony India employee called me and told me to take his name at the service centre and my memory stick shall be replaced. It was amazing to see the affect of his name on the service centre people. Suddenly the service centre people who didn’t have means to test Memory Stick Pro devices now had a card reader which could test them. Funny the same employee who had told me this had a memory stick pro with himself. Anyway they reluctantly accepted my memory stick and warned me about a long wait time. Suddenly instead of shooing me like a beggar, the guy there was chatting with me.

Last Tuesday i got a call from them informing me that my memory stick was now available, woohooooooooooo to that !

But that joy was shortlived. On going to their Lajpat Nagar service centre i was shocked to see the replacement was of a memory stick duo and not the model i had given. The service centre receptionist rudely told me that the model i gave is not  made anymore (which is a blatant lie). He also asked me to purchase an adaptor myself, if Sony gives a pro adaptor with new duo memory sticks why didnt it give me an adaptor with my replacement for a pro memory stick, perhaps they want me to spend more money. What was more shocking though was the fact that i was told the only way to seek redressal is via emails, there is no feedback form or telephone system. In short the service centre is invincible. There is absolutely no way to write feedback at Sony India’s main service centre in the capital of India (thats what i was told). Even dhakkan companies who import Chinese stuff have feedback mechanisms at service centres.

I have written another email to them, but it seems like a dead end. It seems that their concern for the customers is only till you have the money to buy the product. The minute you buy their product, they dont care less. I saw so many Vaios today at the service centre that it sort of validated my decision to buy a DELL.

On a better note, i will be writing about Dell’s Next Day onsite Warranty service which is AWESOME ! Sony could learn a thing or two.


Jul 19

Another tale of bad customer service, this time from supposedly the best and most expensive brand in the consumer durables market. But Sony India just lost all the respect i had for them.

Hopefully someone can forward this to a Sony India personnel. Thanks, i as a consumer am appealing to your guys reading this.

So it all started when i purchased a Digital Camera (Cybershot) from an authorised Sony dealer alongwith a Memory Stick. The dealer told me that the memory stick has a 5 year warranty , i asked him to mention this on the bill so that they don’t refuse. A warranty card was inside the Digital Camera package but there was none in/with the memory stick.

Anyway the memory stick turned out to be junk, losing files like crazy. I goto Sony service center in New Delhi and the guys there tell me that i need a warranty card, i tell them the dealer didnt give me a warranty card. So they give me Sony India’s corporate office (Mathura Road) number which i call and ask to speak to customer care , i am redirected to their call center (i think) , i tell the lady my ordeal and she says that there should be no problem and transfers me to a senior at their Mathura Road office. She talks to service center guys who say they need a warranty card, hands the phone to me.  Now i am talking to Ms. ________ (name hidden for privacy) , she is the rudest person that can talk to a customer. Literally shouts at me that warranty card is not a paper sticking to the memory stick (WTH !) , i tell her to mind her tone, she replies : my tone is not complicated and then says “now that you say it , your stick will not be serviced without a warranty card” , anyway my blood is boiling at this point of time so i say ok and slam my flip phone.

Anyway 2-3 things, my only fault was trusting the dealer and Sony as a company, please look into the following points:

1. Why is your staff at office not trained to talk politely to customers ?

2. How is it a customer’s fault that the dealer didn’t hand the warranty card ? Its for precisely this reason i asked him to mention the warranty in the bill, i am a genuine customer, with a genuine bill bought a genuine product from your authorized dealer.

3. I have a proof of purchase, i have the product but still Sony India refused to solve my problem.

Update:

I received a reply from their Northern Region customer care head, i have sent my invoice to them, i will keep everyone updated, hopefully Sony India will live up to its great name.

Earlier occasions where bad service was highlighted and was successful in company’s response: