So, I bought myself a Honda Accord this week. It cost me 25 lacs (50k US$)
Now, being a Indian consumer for decades and someone who buys an after mint for 25 paise (5 cents), to breakfast at Airports for Rs 300 ( 5$) to a car once every few years, I have realized that:
- The price tag of the goods and services in relation to the service you will get doesn't matter AT ALL in India.
I mean my paan walla who sells me 4 paans for 40 bucks every weekend (1$) is far the sweetest, most pleasant and effective salesman than the suited and tie totting educated graduate who sold me my Honda Accord!
- Consider Honda and their agent Arya Honda in Mumbai.
I booked my Honda Accord car a month back and delayed delivery because i was travelling. On Wednesday when I got my car, :
- Lets talk Etiquette.
Ever so often, my wife orders DVD's (movies) from Shemaroo Video library (Napeansea Road). Most of the recommendations are good but I usually dislike/reject/ just say 'comon - what the hell is this' and ask my wife to return some DVD's.
When she does call Shemaroo ( and this is typically when I throw a tantrum at 9 pm on Saturday night - the busiest in the movie rental business), the servicing guy at Shemaroo immediately sends a couple of more DVD's home and happily cancels what he had sent us. He is courteous on the call, very concerned with feedback of the movies he sends us and best of all - he calls my wife in ADVANCE on Friday for pre bookings suggestions and updates on latest DVD's.
Each DVD rental costs Rs 75 (1.50 US$)
- When I escalated my Honda car case (to the showroom manager of Arya Honda) - he had the AUDACITY AND GALL to tell me that if I was not happy to WAIT for the music system to arrive, he would REFUND my Music Audio System money!!!
I mean, I BOUGHT THE CAR just for a complete experience of car entertainment - so why would I buy a car without the music???
Would my Paanwala sell me a paan without the LEAF??!!!
- How Companies and its Representatives respond:
I had an observation of the way Crosswords (CW) was going downhill and posted that on therodinhoods.com. Within a couple of days, the brand manager of CW had written to me apologizing and also pleading me to come to CW to allow him to EXPLAIN how he and the management were planning an upgrade of the stores etc. My purchase from CW was probably Rs 2000 (40 US$) on the day when I had made that comment.
In the case of Honda - i wrote 11 MAILS - to ALL CONTACTS on the Company website, PR agency, AND ALSO reached out to 13 management and brand position folks in HONDA SIEL via my LinkenIn contacts..... but...yup - you guessed it - RECEIVED NO REPLY.
I sent a REMINDER yesterday - to get a terse 'we will get back to you'... 2 liner.
All this to someone who had spent 25 lacs on their product just 48 hours back!!!!
The point I am making is that the Indian Customer is taken for granted by the biggest brands in the world - probably because we are too many of us; we are enamoured by 'foren' brands and we just take what is given to us....
Well, I certainly AM NOT one of them.
Honda Arya - I will NEVER buy a Car from you ever again and hope that all your new customers read this.
HONDA INDIA - want a tip? Hire my paan wala to run your operations - he will probably do a better job than the cronies you employ!!
UPDATE - 24th Feb 2012:
hahahahahah - this was bound to happen!
For SPECIFIC REASONS on why INDIAN CONSUMERS are made suckers, please read - Why Service at India Retail is SO BAD
A post on customer delight by me
Have seen many cars(big or small) buying carand going to their known car accessories dealer and getting all extra fittings done.
They get same imported goods at lesser price and also serviced in case of fault.
I am facing the same kind of issue with Metro shoes. Though I would say that the pair of floaters that I bought is worth 50K USD its like 30USD. But the treatment is very latent and blunt.
I have already had the product replaced once before and then I have the same problem with the product.
I guess its a brand defect. But then, as I said I agree to the fact, that Indian consumers are taken for granted by one and all the brands, small or big.
The main reason is for this that we have the tendency to compromise with the situation and say " yeh sab toh hotey rehta hai , Or Chalta hai " . And the other thing is that Indian Consumer is not literate about his own rights on the purchases.
But I think its high time, that we get literate and raise our voice against the service that we get from small or big brands.
I guess Indian customers are always taken for a ride. But is this because of 'foren' brands. End of the day the person serving you, his boss and the whole damn team is Indian.... The problem here is we already paid them the money! So they just dont care
I too had a super bad experience with Hathway. Upgraded to a 2 Mbps plan on 1st and till 28th I had 256 kbps speed, i had several mails and calls going futile. I visited their Office on the 1st of next month and they offered me an adjustments for my pain with a promise to credit my account. Its 3 months and I am still following up with those #$@%$#
Any ideas how to make changes to the System?
I feel sorry for Alok he is really sole fried with Arya Honda, I am observing here in US for last 4 months the way these people offer services, and my experiance is good.
Its also painfull to see that all the HONDA, AUDI, JEEP, SUVs COST really less here, the same accord Is avilable here for may be 28000$US AND we pay 25lac in India,Jeep Cheeroke is for 17000$US which may cost 42lac in India, forget about service.
The difference between the US and India is simple - Emphasis on the Customer. The Customer is King in the US and in India, he is treated as a Minion.
The costs are exhorbitant primarily because of the duties that are imposed on such cars. CKDs and SKDs are taxed differently and part/full-Indian manufacturing is taxed lower. Its also protectionism. If the duty bar is lowered, it would annihilate Maruti, Mahindra, and other such entities
Alok - this seems par for the course - we recently had a case of BMW owner trying to get BMW management to listen but the response was pathetic.
Pretty much all Indian companies treat customer service as a cost - not realizing that actually word of mouth is the only way anything sells for a long time, and strong word of mouth can only be created by great customer service.
Check this out!
Spoke to the store once again on this one. It was an issue of following the policies which state that we can exchange within one month vs valuing our Book rewards members.
I do agree that , ideally as it was a manufacturing defect we could have got the product replaced irrespective of the date of purchase. This could have been done post checking.
However this was a case of different people thinking differently.
You are a valuable customer to us. The inconvenience caused to you is regretted. I am getting a replacement DVD for this movie. Should be able to send this across by Wednesday.
I still would wish to meet you up at the store and seek your views on improving the kemps corner store even further.
From: Alok Kejriwal [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, August 01, 2011 4:05 PM
To: Sivaraman Balakrishnan
Subject: Re: Crossword Bookstores
Th reason why the stores are going DOWNHILL:
about 2 months ago, I bought a BUNCH of DVD's
Slowly i began opening them and playing them.
yesterday when I played 'enter the dragon' of bruce lee - it didnt work.
sent my man to replace it - the cashier says 'sorry, its 2 months old'
i explained to him that I am a 12+ year old member and that i cant just play every dvd to test if its working - but he refused
Siva - get your people to VALUE OLD MEMBERS - THEY ARE YOUR REAL ASSETS
Shoppers stop is totally a different organization I would agree. Once my wife bought a belt for me as valentine day gift (She was kind enough to tear the tag so that price is not visible along with making the belt unreturnable). Somehow I didnt liked it and kept it as it is for more than 6 months. Had a realisation that I should try for replacement of that belt. We took it to the store and asked for a replacement 6 months later. Realising that we are 10 yr old customers from that very store, the front desk guy called the store manager on phone. I was surprised to hear that store manager asked just one ques - Is the belt in salable condition (although their policy is to replace within 15 days of purchase). On hearing 'Yes', he immediately directed him to replace the belt without asking any other question.
Not to mention, I was highly impressed.
I took a jazz in August 2011 from Noida dealer. My new car had manufacturing defects which Honda Siel India said are workmanship errors. I have visited the service center more than 20 times till now but still their dealers and a qualified team from Honda Siel is not able to solve the problem. Team from Honda Siel tried 4-5 attempts to solve the problem but failed.
Rather the poor rectification processes led to more problems in the car.