Customer Care or Cost-More Care?

“We are very sorry for the problem you are currently facing, we will get in touch with you and solve your problem within the next 12 to 24 hours”, is the usual response of the Customer Care of a leading telephone operator of Mumbai and Delhi. Sounds stereo type?, funny?, monotonous? hmmm…. Yes, but, looks like there is no other option is left with us other than believing and waiting for their responses.

When I recharge my pre-paid mobile with some special plan, it hardly gets activated within the stipulated 24 hours of time. Some time it never gets activated for days; as if we have not paid for the service. One has to literally fight with the customer care to get it activated. The first and foremost answer one will get is “Currently there are some system problem we are facing. We are working on it. We will get in touch with you and solve your problem as soon as possible”, without giving any time frame. But, that (getting touch with me) never happened with me in the last 3/4 years. I have never received any call from them till now 😦 In this situation, either one has to call again and again till the problem does not get solved, or forget the problem, rather accept that as it is (which most of us do).

Some time many of us have to fight literally with the customer care officer/manager to get the work done. The most irritating thing happens when they (customer care officers) start teaching us the technology and start bluffing without knowing anything. One can understand that they are hired for these kind of jobs and to speak like this. That is not their fault, they are trained to behave like that and are paid for that, instead the companies/ service providers have to be blamed and charged for their poor service records. In some cases, one will experience arrogant, ignorant and un-professional customer care agents. One has to be very careful while dealing with them and needs to spend his/her patience, energy and time to explain them and get the things done. For an instance, I had spent some 1 hour 34 minutes in one go and many more hours before that for 3 days continuously to explain a typical technical problem which I had faced. In that process I filed 3 complaints, spoke to at least 15 executives and spent some 150 rupees. In a quite similar note, one of my friends had spent 10 days to explain his problem related to call routing for a new mobile number.

Neither my problem nor my friend’s problem got solved. I lost patience and changed my recharge scheme and my friend stopped calling to that number. These are just a few instances, there are many more 😦

Facing customer care problems are neither new nor related to any particular company or organization. It happens with most of the companies and the service providers. Be it a credit card company or a telephone operator, or an insurance company or a mobile phone manufacturer; the same story repeats in some or the other form.

With the recent advancements in technology and with the rise and need of on-line transactions, one has to keep a tag on his/her on-line spendings and/or transactions, else fraud transactions will add woe to the sad stories, as it had happened with me some two years back. I had spent two months completely during Dec 2005 and Jan 2006 to get rid off the frequent threating calls from the credit card company for none of my mistake. Some one bought some thing in Europe using my credit card number, while I was in India. The transaction too was exceeded my credit limit by some Rs 75k. Without warning/informing me about the huge transaction, the bank simply approved that transaction and put heavy fine on me for exceeding the limit. My nightmare started after that; I had to fight and used to call the customer care almost 3 times a day for about 2 months. Even I had filed a police complaint to save my skin from the Hired Gundas of the credit card company. Experience with the customer care was horrible and pathetic.

With the rise in on-line national and international transactions through credit cards, it may happen that you will face the problem and pay not for your mistakes only; a simple mistake of some one else can force you to pay a huge amount. For an instance, if you do a foreign transaction on your card, and if by any mistake the merchant charges you twice or more, and returns the extra amount charged after your complain, you are still going to pay a certain amount for which you not at all responsible. This is because, even if you are successful in convincing the customer care of the merchant regarding the fault at their end, and manage to get that debited to your account, the foreign currency transaction charge that your bank charged and the difference in selling and buying of currency will be credited to your account. And, … I doubt 😦 neither you will be able to convince the bank nor the merchant and with no option left…, you will have to pay the difference amount. The customer care is hardly of any use in this situation.

Saying all this, I don’t discount the govt agencies from the customer care related problems. Be it Indian Railway or India Post, the problem is there every where. I had a bad experience with the Post Office for my NSC transfer some time back. Had to ran around many officials and many offices to get that transfered and to get my matured money back. But, the sad thing is… the transfer did not happen for 3 months until I file an RTI application with the local post office. The tone of the customer care officer or the post office officials got changed with 180 degree at the moment I fled the RTI. Till that time they were just ignoring my complaints with their usual answer “ho jayega… hum ne to bhej diya, wahan ki official respond hi nahin karte” 😦

One has to learn the art of speaking and/or writing to the customer care while dealing with the problems. If possible, keep a tab of all conversations/correspondences, like the customer care officers’ name, time of conversation and the complaint number, if any. If you are writing any emails, keep a track of all emails and produce if required. If you are sending by snail mails, then keep photocopies of all letters those you have sent. Always send through the courier or through speed/registered post and keep all receipts for your record. That makes your case stronger.

One has to learn from the mistakes, else will end up spending hours and hours for filing the same complaint again and again with different customer care officer 😦 without getting any solution.

Said all that, the question arises, whether we should call them Customer Care or Cost-More Care?

Aamjunta it is your turn now to decide 🙂

9 Responses

  1. It’s a very informative piece…enjoyed reading it…

  2. Talking about the statistic on the number of such cases that occur, it is a wild guess as to how much the company has to gain by such fraudulent transactions that happen. Say the company has 50 such customers with such complaints and the transaction has cost the customer 1000/- per person through no mistake of his/her. Thereby the company earns a cool 50K in one day, slightly exaggerated but it is possible . Thats a lot of earning. And of course if the customer is ignorant, then its a field day for the company. guess my exgaggeration may not be an exaggeration at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Great Financial Article ! Thank you for keeping up the good work. I look forward to returning to your blog, and learning more about Credit ,Debt,Cards!

  4. Great article. Many people are the victim of customer care service centers ( Cost more service center) of the so called big brand ?? companies. I had the same experience of the PHILLIPS brand. I purchased the PHILLIPS music system costing Rs. 18000. It worked properly for hardly one month. Then the problems started. It started shutting off automatically. It was in warranty period. I called the Customer service center of Phillips.They promised to send technician in two days. But the technician did not turned up for a week even after repeated reminders. He did something and the system worked. Again after one month there was some other problem in the system, the DVD drive was not working. The same story repeated again. After every 15 days or a month we had to call the Customer service center for some or other problem. Now the system is totally off and the warranty period is over and customer service center is not responding to my complaints. I wrote to Phillips company. They redirected me to the same customer service center which is a cost more center now.( charging huge amount every time.) now they are suggesting me to buy new system since the cost of repair is almost equal to the new system. What is the guarantee that the new system will work properly?

  5. Thanks Anne, Eddy, Uohaa for your comments. Eddy: you are absolutely right. There are cases, in which the credit-card company officials (customer care officers) were found to be a part of the fraud. We need be very careful while dealing with the customer care.

    To add to the above post: DO NOT give your credit card details or personal details over phone to any one, to some one’s call. Does not matter, if he/she identifies himself/herself as the customer care manager of that bank/credit card issuer.

    Thanks Rajendra for sharing your experiences with the aamjunta. There are many such cases we all are facing in our day-to-day life.

    There are some on-line complain forums where we all can file our complains and track those. For the benefit of all I’m putting those here:

    1. – Dept of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievance.
    2. – National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
    3. – Consumer online resource and Empowerment Center
    4. – Indian Consumer Complaints Forum

    Hope the above list will help some one 🙂

  6. But u didn’t explain how your foreign money transaction got solved.
    Kindly let us know .

  7. Oh… that got solved 🙂 Read my post on credit card transactions for the detail.

  8. customer care or ‘cost-more care’ center as you say of all companies are working similarly. They are just harassing and extorting money.

    I have heard that few mobile operators are even charging to call their cost-more care centers, ridiculous !!

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