March 13, 2010

You talkin' to me?

You hire the top star for endorsements and brand promotions, you have a brilliant marketing campaign, and a million customers already.....you cant go wrong....right? Not really....and this is why....
With the financial year coming to an end, I was short of receipts and time, so this time I decided to stop searching for my receipts and use their call centre services to get what I needed.

A couple of instances stuck on clearly in my head, and that's how they ended up in this post -

HDFC bank customer service -

I have subscribed to almost every service possible with HDFC, because their online accounts are easy to use and are well integrated with addon services like MFs and trading. So its surprising, that a bank with such a strong online presence, should really lack at the mouthpiece end.

After pressing on a number of 1s and 2s, I landed up with a female customer service executive, who was polite. She asked me what I wanted, and though I know my request for getting a folio number from my online MF account was not something they were used to, she put up a good show, of understanding what I wanted. And then without a word, or intimation, she put me on hold. After 2 minutes of me wondering whether to hang up or stay put , a guy picked up. Now I wonder if there is any hiring process or they just pick up people, because he sounded so slurred, I had to make him repeat everything. After listening to my troubles, he said "hold on" and dropped the call!!! Finally in desperation I gave up, and decided to call up the fund house instead, which leads us to:

Birla Sun Life customer service -

As soon as I called I was immediately asked to choose my language of preference, such a relief! Makes you wonder why most of the call centres prefer to put that question to you last, after they've repeated every conceivable instruction in all 3 laungages. In the 3rd pass, I was allowed to choose to talk to a human voice, which was a very pleasant lady. Quick questions, deftly asked, did not make me feel like I was trying to swindle them , in fact I didn't realise she was verifying my information, until in a very pleasant voice she said that she was satisfied with the details, and would send me my file immediately, and not only that, could I please note down the Folio number just in case?

All in all, no hassle, a tension free conversation and I was left with a feeling of all's well with the world.

To top it, I got an automated call the next day asking me to rate the customer exec on a few points and asked me to record feedback if any!

A lot of financial products and services nowadays, are not stand alone, and require customer education as well as continuous product support. Unfortunately, companies dont realise that these are their first selling points to existing customers, and getting new customers is much more expensive than retaining the existing ones. Harried customers are much more prone to switching services, causing the company acquistion costs as well as revenues. How the customer execs talk should be a reflection of what your brand stands for, and for financial services, you really need people who understand both the products as well as the customers.

Above all a willingness to bend backward and help and a continuous commitment towards improvement is what assures customers that their money and trust is safe.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

very well said. but, commitment towards improvement can only happen if the employee working for that organization is happy.


Regards -G.

Rujuta said...

That is true to some extent, but the bigger problem is that companies need to "sell" their brand to their employees as well. If the employees don't see the brand for what it is supposed to stand for, there is no way in hell, that they can convey the same to the customers.

Practical Preacher said...

Hmmm. I've been through similar instances of 'customer care'. Leaves you with high BP and a foul temper. Most of the time they are of no use to you. HDFC Bank really does need to improve its call centre operations. Try Reliance Mobile though, if you want to see what 'care' really is. Will leave you pulling your hair out and banging your head on the nearest wall.

Atul said...

ICICI Bank is the worst in this context. If you are an existing customer of ICICI bank, and you happen to change your Mobile phone, then only god save you. I was directed to four different people who asked me the same questions and in the end said that it will be done in next forty eight hours. Nothing happened. Then I had to write them an email threatening to withdraw all my funds from their account and things started to move ahead.

Atul said...

ICICI Bank is the worst in this context. If you are an existing customer of ICICI bank, and you happen to change your Mobile phone, then only god save you. I was directed to four different people who asked me the same questions and in the end said that it will be done in next forty eight hours. Nothing happened. Then I had to write them an email threatening to withdraw all my funds from their account and things started to move ahead.