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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Got poor service? Spread the word

Bhavya Dore, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 18, 2013
First Published: 01:36 IST(18/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:37 IST(18/2/2013)

When a pizza outlet made an offer that allowed consumers to get one pizza free with another if they placed their order online, Neha Bhandari, 24, gave it a shot. The order didn’t reach her, and so she phoned them. When they said they had got the order and would deliver it, she waited. When the bill finally came, she was charged for both, contrary to what the offer had promised.

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Bhandari, an MBA student at the Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research in Matunga posted this complaint on a new website initiated by one of her college professors, for citizens to air their grievances about products, brands, services.

“A lot of others who were unhappy with the service, also commented, then it became a Facebook complaint and the company ended up apologising,” said Bhandari, a first year MBA student. “Small things can make a change.”

This is what their professor Kaustubh Dhargalkar, likes to refer to as “generating a critical mass”.

As the institute’s associate dean of innovation, this is one of the initiatives for “crystallising a social network around consumer pain points”. The institute's students have been involved with the site since it was set up.

“Today’s pain points are tomorrow’s opportunities,” said Dhargalkar, whose idea was in the works for a couple of years.

“Getting people to complain about different things is a repository for future innovations. We can’t promise consumer redressal but by getting people to talk about issues, companies will start to notice and small improvements can happen.”

The portal doesn’t promise remedies or redressal, rather it provides a platform for focusing on issues that people face in their daily lives and generating a discussion around it, with the potential hope for improvement.

For instance, Kaushik Sukumar, 25, another first year MBA student posted a niggling grievance rather than a concrete problem, when he pointed out that the length of the charging cord for most cell phones isn’t long enough. "These are small things in our daily life which we tend to overlook,” said Sukumar.

More than 3,000 users have registered and posted more than 9,000 complaints already on the portal.


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