Flipkart is an online book seller that I have been patronizing for the last ten months and have always had a very high opinion of their service and efficiency. I must have bought over thirty books from them so far. For the first time since I have been dealing with them, I received a book in a defective condition and I emailed them as well as spoke to them on the phone about the condition of the book.
I was advised by them that they will immeditely replace the book which they did and on my confirmation that I have received the replacement copy, they have arranged for the defective piece to be collected from my residence.
I am very impressed with their service but have decided not to patronize them in the future. The reason for this are two mails received from them. The first one about which I raised an objection started my annoyance with them. I wrote about the annoyance to them. I received a response from them in the same format for the mail from me to which I finally responded that I have decided not to deal with them any more. I had also used their “Contact” form on their website to convey my complaint and I received a response from one of their people to which I responded postively but after that there has been total silence from their end. I had also sent the complete thread of exchange of mails to one of their promoters who too has decided not to respond to my mail. I copy paste below the relevant mails. The last mail received is on the top and the rest lead up to it.
Dear Mr. Rudrapatna,
It will give me great pleasure to give you as much time as you want. I am available on my mobile phone xxxxxxxxxxxxx, or landline xxxxxxxxxxxxx
As far as I am concerned, there is no unpleasantness. There is simply a decision taken when I was insulted twice by Mr. Kanth.
From: Tapas Rudrapatna
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 19:18:45 +0530
To: Ramana Rajgopaul
Subject: Re: [~19947]: [Contact:Other Questions and Comments] – Poor response to mail from customer
Dear Mr. Rajgopaul Sir,
I understand that a few of the exchanges between Mr. Premkanth and Yourself have led for a certain degree of unpleasantness.
While that is indeed unfortunate, I will attempt not to interfere with the how, what, when and why. Nor am i writing to persuade your loyalty and all that it entails. What is more critical for me to understand is how individuals and organisations are perceived. As you rightly mentioned, it’s the “corrective steps” that will be my focus.
Sir, I will be highly obliged if you can spare me some time. I cannot speak for Flipkart (the organozation), but your thoughts will indeed be valuable to me as an individual.
On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 6:58 PM, Flipkart Support wrote:
firstname.lastname@example.org Posted on: 21 Feb 2010 5:30 PM
Customer contact received:
Date: 2010-02-21 17:25:18
Subject: [Other Questions and Comments] Poor response to mail from customer
Message: I had addressed a mail to you on the 13th inst as follows:
“Dear Mr. Kanth,
I am glad that you will replace the book and also appreciate your apologies.
I do however wish to take issue with you on your addressing me as Ramana. I am 67 years old and am reasonably sure that you cannot be older than my son who is 39. I am very likely older than your parents. Our culture, to which you belong, extends more respect and regard than the Western model where strangers can be addressed by their first name.
It would be a good idea to be sure that such familiarity is with permission before first names are so casually used.
Shall we say that it is an one man crusade to ensure some semblance of formality in communications?
I have sent another mail today as follows:
“Dear Mr. Kanth,
I have already mailed to you yesterday that I have received the replacement copy. You may arrange to collect the defective piece at your convenience with prior appointment as I need to be at home to hand it over to the courier.
I thank you for the prompt action taken and really appreciate the service rendered by you.
It however saddens me to advise you that you have just lost a what I would consider, ‘good ‘ customer. I shall henceforth purchase my books online from other online sellers. You might like to check your records to see what it translates in terms of turnover to your organization.
I may not be a very important customer, but you might just like to find out why even a small customer chooses to opt out of a good online seller and take corrective steps.
As a business, it is Flipkart’s privilege to do business with me or not. It is at the same time, mine too whether to do business with them or not despite their excellent service. The point however is that a good business model basing itself on a method of communication that is totally un-businesslike in the Indian context, is a sad spectacle.
Or am I being archaic and not ‘with it’?