I wish to write about two instances of customer service or the lack of it.
One where I am, as a customer, disgusted and the other where, I am delighted and rooting for the supplier of the service.
The first story.
Times of India, has a Pune subedition called Pune Times. This is a daily that accompanies the main paper. Pune Times contains a whole lot of stuff of interest to perhaps the page three types and the yuppie crowd. There was a time when children used to like it for the comic strips but that has stopped a long time ago, as they have been recycling the same old stuff over and over again.
If there is one thing about the Pune Times that is of value to me, and to many of my friends, it is the daily crossword puzzle. Neither I nor my friends are spring chicken and our eye sights are not very sharp. The puzzle simply is of too small a font size and the space to fill in, too little to make the solving of the puzzle a joyful experience.
I have written to the Pune Times by email about their recycling the comic strips and the poor get up of the crossword puzzle and they have neither taken corrective action, nor responded to my mails.
If you think that this perhaps is a local aberration and Times of India as a newspaper will behave in a more professional manner, wait till you read another experience that I had with them.
The Economic Times, recently advertised their publication, The Best Of ET 2007. As advised by them on the body of the advertisement, I went to their website from which I could have bought the book online. The website did not oblige. I wrote a complaint about it to the person whose contact details were given in their website’s automated response, about this aberration and till date, I have neither heard from the book sellers nor from Economic Times.
Will I root for the Times Group, where customer service matters?
I also read Business Standard every day. The first time I had a problem with missing crossword puzzles, I wrote to them and within twelve hours I got a response, explaining their problem, giving me an assurance that they would solve the problem within the next few weeks and requesting me to bear with the inconvenience caused till then. They solved the problem to my full satisfaction within the committed time. They too, went to a small font size for the crossword puzzle, in the process of redesigning their paper and I wrote to them again advising them about this problem and how senior citizens like me found it difficult to solve the puzzles. I got a reply back from them, and immediate corrective action was taken too.
Business Standard too advertised their publication India 2008 and I had the same problem with their portal not proceeding further after confirmation of the order. I sent an email to them about the problem, and within six hours, I got a response from their IT people regarding the problem and that it had been fixed and requesting me to try the portal again. I did, this time successfully and received the book within 48 hours too!
Two competing newspapers/groups. The first one, a long established one with a great name. The other, a new one fighting for its place in the sun. Is it because it is fighting for its place in the sun that it provides such customer service, albeit to one cranky individual customer? I believe that it is not. I sincerely believe that it is a matter of a culture that the latter is building in its business model. While the former is sustained by its history and does not care for its readers, the latter is building a strong service oriented culture.
What do you think?