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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bust the Gap in Customer Services

During a romantic date in an August summer in 2008, while relishing a chicken tandoori in a restaurant in Old Airport Dhaka, I discovered a plastic cap of a mineral water bottle inside the chicken. It tasted like….plastic, with a touch of spice and chicken around it. The date was nearly spoilt amidst fear of health concerns and wrong choice of restaurant. I had no clue how to react, I summoned the manager, the waiter responsible, described the case to them, they said ‘sorry’, I said I would complain….I know ‘that person’, I am friends with ‘this person’, a bit of ‘hombi tombi’ you know…that’s pretty much it. The only good thing was, we left without paying, and ofcourse finishing the food, which had a bit of raw plastic in it. Like all other things in the life of a Bangladeshi consumer, I took this incident sportingly. I thought there is no point complaining, as who should I complain to? In a country where I don’t even trust the law enforcers in many occasions, who on earth would protect my consumer rights and why? That was new and news to me.
I have seen many feedback forms in restaurants and service centers of telecom companies, but I have never received any feedback on my feedback, to know if they have at all taken any action to implement my suggestions. I am more of the view that they put up all these feedback forms as a mere formality only, they do not intend to take it seriously, which Bangladeshi company would ever admit that it has taken ‘one’ customer’s feedback seriously and have consequently brought about a change in the way they do business? Never, rather they would claim it to be their own success and innovation.


However, if you think times have changed and its high time that we, as consumers, speak up and make sure our rights are protected and respected, then this article is for you. Check out the website of e-consumer, wonder if something could be initiated in the Bangladeshi context. Also, its worth checking out the website of GapBusters. Among other related service, this company offers ‘Mystery Shopper’ services. I am not sure if companies in Bangladesh, those especially in the services sector, apply Mystery Shopping techniques to evaluate and improve their customer services standards. I believe interested entrepreneurs could very much come up with an idea to set up a company such as this, either you take a franchisee of GapBusters or set up something in the context of Bangladesh purely. Get your business model right and become the ‘voice of Bangladeshi consumers’. Remember Mr. Rokon-Ud-Dowla? Now the time has arrived to give it a more formal shape, from a private sector initiative. So that next time you go for a good time at Pizza Hut and KFC or at a Grameen Phone Service Center, the staff should be on their toes to serve you well, after all….we, the customers, are the king. And I am sure there are scores of people ready to become ‘mystery shoppers’ to give their formal opinion about products/services and earn some quick money in form of a part time job.

5 comments:

Jeeshan said...

Good post! I share your views. Customer should be the King and treated that way. Its unfortunate corporates in Bangladesh dont see that way-even the ones who have the capability and resources to do it. These organizations see Customer Service as secondary and live in the past.
A couple of years back i visited this Indian Street side restaurant who used the following as their philosophy. I wish all the Bangladeshi enterprises could learn from them:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises,
He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it.
He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so”
Mahatma Gandhi"
 

qtzaman said...

Customer Service - may be a word, which we Bangladeshis don't understand. Traditionally, whenever a customer walks in, he is the boss. In reality, we all have some bitter experience. What I understand, its rather lack of awareness and education, that keeps us away from providing good services. I believe, In Bangladesh, everything seems to be so easy, that you don't have to earn it. Therefore, people don't know what value should they get for their money. Also, THE service provider don't know what a Customer actually would like to have. As the Customers, we must know our rights first, what we can get as a service for the value for our money.

Shehzaad said...

@Jeeshan thanks for sharing the interesting quote. actually even if consumers are aware of their rights, they are not sure how to implement it, or claim it. A deep sense of mistrust on existing systems of support lies in the root of it.

@qtzaman I agree with you, as I said, even if we know what our rights are, we don't believe that the companies will take corrective measures or even admit it publicly that they were at fault.

Kaisar said...

nice article..thnx Mr. Shehzad for promoting a mandatory awareness among bangladeshi people.

mosiuzzaman said...

Good post indeed...