The National Geographic Society.

customer service

I have been a member of the society for I don’t know how long and I enjoy reading their monthly magazine and sharing it with others too.

Since a couple of years however NGS has handed over the distribution and subscription processes to some organisation in Mumbai India and I have had all kinds of problems with the latter.

Here is the latest exchange of mails between me and their local agent. Both mails were exchanged today. My first mail was in reply to a mail dated January 3, 2013 advising me that the matter was being forwarded to the concern department (sic) and that I could expect a response soon. (I have interpreted the concern department as one that is concerned about customer complaints and not the concerned department.)

From Me: “Today, it is the 24th January and I am sure that the concern department is
still working on the matter that is now more than three months old.

I hope that you and everyone concerned with customer satisfaction in your
organisation is very happy with the progress being made, though it may of
course be of no interest to you if your customer is satisfied.

Or am I wrong?

I would like to receive a concrete solution to my problem instead of your
routine almost automated response like your first two paragraphs in the
letter dated the 3rd of January after which you have been totally silent.

Is there a method by which I can escalate this upward in your organisation
if at your level you are unable to solve the problem?”

The response: “Dear Sir,

Greetings from ACK Media!

With reference to your mail,  we have forwarded your complaint to our concern department and will revert you soon with your subscription details.

For any further queries please feel free to contact us on our helpline numbers 022 – 40497435 / 36 between 9 am to 7.00 pm, Monday to Saturday.

Assuring you of our best services at all times.

Best regards,
Aahan Khan. ”

As suggested by them, I rang up the number given and spoke to one charming lady called Puja who kept telling me that Mr. Aahan Khan has left for the day despite my informing her that Mr. Khan had been forwarding my complaints to the concern department for the past three months and that I would like to speak to the concerned department. She finally requested me to call again tomorrow as I suspect that it was getting to be her going home time too.

This matter pertains to the renewal of my sbuscription, but my interaction with Mr. Khan throughout last year was on non receipt of issues due to their choosing a totally inept courier company to deliver the magazines and my experience with Mr. Khan even then was that he would pass the buck to the concern department and revert. He never did and I had to keep at him by mail and phone calls.

When my subscription problem started, I had contacted the NGS in the USA and they simply washed their hands off the entire matter by asking me to contact the Indian arm of their operations.

I wonder if my blogging about this poor customer service will result in some action from the local arm of the NGS, the ACK Media, which from all accounts seems to be a giant in its field. Or is it that its size prevents good customer service?

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16 Responses to The National Geographic Society.

  1. shackman says:

    I trust you are not holding your breath while awaiting a solution to your problem. Somehow I don’t think blue is your color.

  2. Danyelle Franciosa says:

    Every company should be very hectic when it come to the customer service because it is truly important and I always believe that it is indeed good for the customers.
    Danyelle Franciosa recently posted..Allkind Joinery Brisbane – Upholding a Proud Tradition

  3. Grannymar says:

    In my neck of the woods, people take their unanswered complaints to the local radio, it very often works.
    Grannymar recently posted..Thursday Special ~ Hospital regulations

  4. Lots of luck. It sounds like a great chance to practice patience and a sense of humor.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..More “Not Agin ‘Em All”

  5. Maxi says:

    You are caught up in a consumer’s nightmare. Is there a public forum for your complaint, like a reporter or a radio host?
    Blessings ~ Maxi
    Maxi recently posted..Upgrade Develops With Age

  6. tammy j says:

    i spent 20 minutes on the phone the other day with a company to check on an order. i never once was able to speak to a human being. it kept prompting me back to the “main menu.”
    and they keep talking about . . . ‘there are no jobs.’
    i wish they could hire a warm body every now and then who could actually help you. like monk says so well ~ “a chance to practice my patience and a sense of humor” but confessing they’d flown out the window after the third . . . ‘return to the main menu!’
    tammy j recently posted..the wren house

    • Rummuser says:

      I recently went through the same experience with a bank on a matter of misuse of my credit card. I eventually simply went into one of their branches and collared a human being to sort it out and it was done.

  7. Cathy in NZ says:

    Even though you could visit a bricks and mortar bank to sort out the problem, I would assume it isn’t going to be as easy with a distribution company for a magazine…

    Sometimes I too despair of the phone system when you go through all the options presented with numbers to push and nothing seems to answer what you need…once or twice I have just selected a number and hope the person can transfer me.

    For one gov’t dept I use regularly I signed up for the voice recognition and it has certainly cut down the “questions that I’m really me” but the disembodied voice annoys me – sounds like a woman bored and condescending that I have had the cheek to phone up!

    Good luck sorting out problems 🙂
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..Front of house

    • Rummuser says:

      It will all sort out eventually I am sure. In the meanwhile, I just intend having some fun with my communications with them in India as well as in the USA.

  8. sriniovasan says:

    You are not alone,
    I have been trying to transfer my address of my NGC from the UK to India. It has been 3 months and I have been getting the same message from ACK and Mr khan…ridiculous stuff.

  9. Sounds like it’s time to go straight to their press office and ask for quotes for the article you’ll be writing about this case on your internationally read website.
    blackwatertown recently posted..Self improvement: Where teachers fear to tread…

    • Rummuser says:

      There is a dialogue now going on though the Customer Service Team and the Accounts department are yet to come to grips with the background.

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