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A bus conductor’s lessons on customer service

india Updated: Mar 22, 2009 21:02 IST
A bus conductor’s lessons on customer service

I do not know if you have taken Vayu Vajra, the shuttle that takes you to the city from Bangalore’s new airport. I tried it a couple of times and was pleasantly surprised by the service.

Whenever the bus stopped for a passenger, the conductor insisted on picking up the baggage for the passenger after he or she got down. The conductor even hailed an auto-rickshaw for a passenger and helped transport the baggage from the bus to the rickshaw. On another occasion, on finding that a passenger had forgotten to bring cash, the conductor saw to it that
the bus stopped in front of an ATM to help the passenger withdraw some cash quickly.

The conductor is unlikely to have read any book on customer care or given instructions on every situation he faces, but has probably been told to be courteous and helpful. I am just saying this to make a point: customer service is all about attitude.

If you look at the grievance redress policies and procedural manuals of insurers (the regulator has recently compiled them), they all look very impressive. With the right attitude, they would have been as good as they seem and there would not be so many complaints against insurers before the consumer courts, ombudsmen or the regulator.

In fact, most ombudsmen complain about how the insurers’ attitude is a hindrance to the timely disposal of complaints filed before them. The banking sector is no better: their attitude to consumers is reflected in the way they treat their
customers and flout even the regulator’s directives meant to protect the interests of consumers.

The less said the better about manufacturers, many of whom even refuse to acknowledge defects in their products, let alone provide refunds or replacements.

When will we see an attitudinal change among providers of goods and services?

(Pushpa Girimaji Senior journalist, consumer affairs specialist)