Why Customer Care Should Be Simple and Straightforward. If You Believe In Your Point, Say It With Conviction.

Why customer care needs to kept simple and friendly, without beating around the bush. If you feel and know you are right, put your argument forward with conviction. We had a difficult customer in this year's mango season. After he heavy discussion with us on many questions, he bought his first mangoes from us. He had some issue which he wrote to us and we got a couple of days late to respond as I had to take my exams and was away. Meanwhile, a pre-scheduled MailChimp email reached him and irked him further. He went ballistic after that on our blog, FB page, twitter etc threatening to blog all around about we being cheaters. After I was back from my exams, we pacified him with simple and straightforward agreements and became friends again. Want to share our email exchanges here, if it helps. Only one person, that is myself, handled all emails, FB, Twitter and our telephone helpline.

If you like, check out the Journey of the Devgad Mango!

EMAIL Exchanges... (hiding the customer's name)
AFTER PLACING THE ORDER... (cash-against-pickup)

From: DevgadMango

 Dear XYZ,
Thanks for your order for Devgad Mangoes. Your Order Number is 9840 and your order is as follows.

From: XYZ
Thanks for confirmation - before I pay for same - I would like to see difference between A1, 1, 2, 3 and 4 as it is very expensive for current market rate and just to ensure that I am getting best from the lot!

From: DevgadMango
Dear XYZ,
All out mangoes will be the best in taste, there will be no difference in the taste. The grading is done only on weight. Detailed description on our blog at this link. http://devgadmango.com/blog/grading-secrets/

From: XYZ

Thanks for your email and prompt response - that grading secret is too close to make out other than price difference which escalates immediately after particular grade ..... Hope they are competitively priced ..... And it will be great to check them out personally when they arrive here in Pune.

The Devgad Landscape

From: DevgadMango

Yes, we agree a difference of 25 grams in not much, and that's the weight while we pack it. The weight may go down or remain unchanged as the fruit ripens. However, weight is only measurable and comparable attribute. However, if we increase the difference of weight between two neighbouring grades, the size difference within the same grade becomes noticeable and people feel cheated if they see a smaller mango in their lot. Since size is subjective for grading, we do it by weight. The pricing is done on the basis of rarity and demand. Since there is a greater demand for large mangoes and large mangoes are comparatively rare, they are priced higher. You'd typically get a large mango on a tree if it is on a separate branch or a separate twig, with no or just one-two mangoes close by. You'd also get large mangoes on trees that are exceptionally well maintained and superbly taken care of, which obviously is rare.
We have orders across all grades, so you can get to see all grades. However, if you want to buy from the other grades, kindly let us know before. Since we will send mangoes only against orders, we might not have extra mangoes in hand. Nevertheless, you can also order for next week once you've enjoyed this lot.

This is how the original DevgadMango looks like


From: XYZ
Now that sounds bit more convincing and even better is your efforts to satisfy our queries - I would definitely give it a try and will take this lot - If possible please mark it against my name and hope you will(or u r quality check team) personally inspect same .... I am very vocal about my likes and dislikes and if you have good stuff - I will assure you lot of repeat business from my network also - Thanks once again!!!

From: DevgadMango

Surely, we assure you that. Look forward to meet you at Pune when you come to pick up.

From: XYZ
When do I pick these - Have they arrived in city(Pune)?

From: DevgadMango
Vehicle will leave tonight! Will email an update when the vehicle leaves. You can collect it after tomorrow afternoon!

From: XYZ
Thanks - will wait for your next info - Hope to collect it tomo (it's my B'day!) ;-)

From: DevgadMango
Oh Wow! That would be a great way to celebrate! Cheers, wish you a very happy birthday in advance!



Five days later... Paanch din baad...

From: XYZ
Feedback for A1 - Box received....
First to start with - They were tasty as expected and price paid - didnt had any issue for genuine as they did seem good initially...
But there is bit of disappointment as well...
1) A1 Quality was not A1 all through 3-4 of them were above 300 grams rest all between 250 and 275
2) One of 3-4 large ones was spoilt - Not eatable ones ....
3) Didnt had fragrance as expected .....
4) Price is too high for market price of same stuff .....

Not sure if I will order again as I dont think it should be so expensive - it is definitely not A1 quality for all as quoted and charged .... if it from same tree / yard - they should have been packed in same manner ....

Hope this helps ...
No response from DevgadMango for two days as DevgadMango was away and a pre-scheduled email was dispatched. XYZ received that and wrote angrily...

From: XYZ
You have sort of cheated on first order .... Hope to hear back on what you would like to do for covering losses of my first order - I am going to post blog against you in a day or two - if I dont hear back - but you have to be fair when you charge triple of current market rate!!!

DevgadMango comes back after two days and attends to XYZ on priority.

From: DevgadMango
Dear XYZ,
Sorry, was tucked off to study for my exams starting tomorrow. Just logged to check out on updates and saw ur mail.

First, thanks for your feedback.

Now on the factual points,
1) A1 Quality was not A1 all through 3-4 of them were above 300 grams rest all between 250 and 275

I had shared the page on the Grading process for our fruits. Linked here http://devgadmango.com/blog/grading-secrets. We have explained that the grading is done at the time of packing the fruits off for ripening. As this is a live fruit, with chemical reactions in process inside, the weight does reduce or may not reduce depending on the weather, humidity, temperature. And this process does go on at a different pace for each fruit. Linking an academic thesis by a student (unknown to us) on mangoes. http://etd.uasd.edu/ft/th9776.pdf It explains that there exists a variation within fruits of the same clone of the same orchard. (Clone part explained later). Same propogates down to the fruits while ripening. Mango, and within mango, Alphonso is a complicated fruit. Even research at agri universities is inadequate on it. So it will not be advisable to micro measure the weight of the fruits after they have ripened, it will further become complicated.

2) One of 3-4 large ones was spoilt - Not eatable ones ....
We have already told everyone in our communication and I did tell that to you when you asked while taking the mangoes that if the fruits go bad, we will replace. Just let us know. On email, you say one fruit went bad, while in the post on our blog you say two. We'd appreciate a photo, which I am sure you'd have clicked or an explanation on what exactly you found bad. We are working on a coding system for our fruits, which will help us track back mangoes to their source. As mango is a complicated fruit, there is no research yet on why exactly do the fruits go bad.

3) Didnt had fragrance as expected .....
As that's a subjective aspect, can't explain much on it. It could be similar to going to watch a film with expectation of more songs or more skin show or more comedy, and not finding to expectation.

4) Price is too high for market price of same stuff ..... and the reference on our blog to people in Market Yard and some sweetshop.

Linking an academic research here. http://www.docin.com/p-331738613.html. It's an Indian research, available on a Chinese site. Please wait for it to load, is in English. It's also available on Indian sites for a subscription.
It explains the variation in volatile compounds of Alphonso mango. Have a read through the description of the Devgad clone, which is shown to have the highest composition of these compounds, which makes it unique in taste and colours. It explains the rationale behind why Devgad variety is pricey. Beyond the three clones mentioned herein, there are five more clones of Alphonso mango, depending on which area it is grown. Clone is basically a variety. It's called a clone, because Alphonso is grown by grafts. You would not get an Alphonso mango tree if you plant the seed of an Alphonso fruit.
All the clone have different productivity and anything that is rarer, is pricier if it is in demand. Devgad clone trees have the lowest productivity coupled with its uniqueness. So its price remains high, since it is most in demand.

When you say same stuff in the market, it's difficult to comprehend what you are comparing it with. There is a great mixing happening in the market. Let us know if you can differentiate and detect between different clones of the Alphonso fruit if they are presented mixed to you. You'd observe that any Alphonso in the market is sold as Devgad (or Ratnagiri at times). No one will tell you this is a Karnatak hapus, even if it is. Different clones are rampantly mixed and then sold as Devgad. As they are available at cheaper prices, (their productivity being high and demand low), they are also sold at cheaper prices and as Devgad. Please let us know if you have devised any system to detect this mixing and if you can surely vouch for any box of fruit in the market that it is not mixed.

Please note that there is no direct goods transport connectivity between Pune and Devgad. All to Vashi; this is a big market. So any Devgad variety, if at all comes to Pune, is the left over from the supply at Vashi, which comes to Pune at the fag end of its lifecycle. But if you observe in Pune, Devgad sells in any nook and corner in the city

Incidents like the ones linked below are a commonplace across the country.

Calcium Carbide is what is used (not any nitrate). When traders sell at the price that they sell, no trader can do his business profitably without using Calcium Carbide, which is banned and its use is harmful. Mango trade for them has to be time definite, to be profitable, and so early the mango ripens, early it is sold and early fruit catches the extra rupee. So Calcium Carbide has no alternative for them. Alphonso is so sensitive to weather if kept to ripen naturally. A rainy weather outside may make the fruit flat in taste. Please analyse then how come fruits of these vendors look fresh even when they are exposed to the sun, open air, pollution etc. That's because chemical treatment kills the life in it.

On being expensive.
This year, Alphonso mango production has taken a huge hit. This article explains it well

It requires the same expenses whether the tree gives 1 fruit or 1000 fruits. And farmers have to recover their cost from their produce. There is no other avenue. So if it takes Rs 1000 expenses and the tree gives only 1 fruit, it obviously has to be sold at Rs 1500 to sustain the farmer. But if it gives 1000 fruits, each fruit can then be priced at Rs 1.5 to recover the same cost. If there is very less mango in the market and lot of demand (simple law of demand and supply from Economics) then the price obviously goes up. You may find it the price ridiculous, and even find comparable products at cheaper price. But similar happens in other products. You get a denim pant for both Rs 500 and Rs 5000. Similarly, a car from one brand can be priced much higher than car from other brand, with similar features. But lot of hard work goes behind it that raises the price and that may never be seen. Same is in our case.

Now in the 25th year of the existence of our society, we started the DevgadMango.com initiative last year to get rid of cheating and set up a separate community of Devgad Alphonso Mango lovers. So far we have been very successful, with people writing in their praises. We’d love to show it to you.

We’d love to explain and demonstrate further to you if you have doubts, queries, objections or suggestions. We have started for the long run. Cheating anyone in any case would be detrimental to our long run. And we’d love to incorporate your feedback on the way.

From: XYZ
I would only say I was bit disappointed - you have your part of explanation to give and I had my experience. Lets agree the fact that we both are right at our stand .... and there are better customers than I am and same applies for original devgad mango suppliers.
Now we can go back and forth on explaining our stands with no fruitful outcome. Lets close this here and wish you very best for future.

Thanks and Regards,
(P.S. when I wrote you then we had consumed 9 of 12 when one was spoilt i.e. blackened from inside and same for one more lot of remaining 3 .... few years back I went to Devgad with my cousin who has very good friends there and got best of lot then .... just to let you know that I know fruit @ its origin very well .... and for respect / protect best - we pay premium - but then dont want to compromise on quality)

From: DevgadMango
Dear XYZ,
Sure, what you say is right. Perspectives can be different depending on what side you are on. However, I wish we don't part ways on a sour note. While I will definitely replace the bad mangoes, I would like to know your perceived value of the fruits you bought. I will try to reimburse the extra value over and above your value. I also wish we remain in touch nevertheless. When we have good production by nature's grace, we will be able to come to ur expectation of right-price and right-size. We could become humsufers again.

From: XYZ
Thanks +++++ - Appreciate your concern and offer - this has sweeten experience already - I will definitely get in touch with you for future requirement. I too believe in not parting in sour notes. Will keep you posted!

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Comment by Devgad Mango on June 27, 2012 at 12:31pm

Hi Asha, added the pics and the journey in a seperate blog post! Will update the link in this blog post once approved!

Comment by Devgad Mango on June 27, 2012 at 10:25am

Ah, ok! Will add those pics in a bit!

Comment by asha chaudhry on June 27, 2012 at 10:22am

nice! but i want to see the mangoes being plucked, heaps of them in baskets, being packed in petis etc etc etc. i wanna see how everything's done before they are sent off!!!! 


Comment by Devgad Mango on June 27, 2012 at 10:19am

Thanks Asha, added the Devgad landscape and the mango's photo! :-)

Comment by asha chaudhry on June 27, 2012 at 9:14am

devgad.... an image or two of the goodies would really add flavour to your story here....!!!

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