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Customary complaints

india Updated: Aug 16, 2006 06:14 IST

The news that some of the best companies in the world are apparently clueless about what customers want should make us feel one with the world. In India, enough angst has been recorded about the frustration in having to call helplines of any company. Now a survey in the US  has unleashed several insights, much of it unprintable in this family newspaper. The bottomline: the results reflected Indian sentiments perfectly.

Customers hate mechanised voices at the other end. They hate being answered by persons who have no idea about the issue at hand and detest a recorded voice guiding them. They don’t just want to be heard; they want their problems addressed — which customer-care executives rarely do, as it is almost always some other department that has to be informed. We hate being put on hold and hate the ‘on-hold’ time being sold for advertisement capsules. No one will disagree that the most treacherous part is a a voice offering the latest schemes in a falsetto when all you want is to register a complain. The upshot in all this is that even though marketing guru Philip Kotler may have carpet-bombed the world with his nuggets of wisdom, companies have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to satisfying customers with sheer common sense.

Clearly, we’re not too far behind the rest of the world when it comes to customer care. But wait, what department function was it that organisations outsource to India?