Friday, January 25, 2008

Marketing and Service Linkage....

In theory one reads a lot about how post-sales service is a critical component of customer retention and building a reputation in the marketplace. but in practice we have to look really hard to find instances wherein companies exhibit such behavior towards their customers.

In his latest post Seth Godin writes about his experince with a service provider who ended up not finishing the job propoerly, which spoiled an overall good experince.In India we face such situations day in and day out . The problem with our distribution and retail networks is that they have been designed to handle one way traffic, focusing on making a sale, and they are not willing to even consider a situation wherein the company might also have to take back goods or help consumers out in situations like the one in which my friend was stuck a few days back. He had lost his mobile phone and wanted to get the number blocked and a duplicate SIM card issued. The service provider is one the biggest in the country with a very good market presence whom I would not like to name.

My friend had to run around the city to get the things done, a trip to the nearest police station, then visiting 5-6 of the vendors, who only gave him some numbers to contact , where obviously there was no one to respond to his queries. The executives at the vendor and franchisees were least interested in helping as it had nothing to do with additional revenue coming or selling a new SIM card which would helped them in their targets .

The experince would have been totally different had the person visited the outlets to purchase a new connection, he would have been pampered and treated like a king, but the same person is disowned when he has a problem. The problem is both at the level of attitude as well as systemic, with the kind of growth we are witnessing in the mobile services no one is bothered about a old customer with a problem with so many new customers wanting connections... and I doubt if there would be any set procedures on how to handle such a situation.

But in the process the customers who go thru the expeirnce end up carrying a very negative impression about the company and would probably wait till number portability starts in India...



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