Seeing two ends of customer service - all in an hour...

Keralites would remember a recent TV Commercial made by a reputed jewellery retail chain in Kerala, depicting a "salesman training center", and the instructor teaching the tricks of the trade. As a buyer, my focus always is on the level of customer service - the attitude of the sales team. Yesterday was one day, that showed me two ends of the service spectrum, and all in an hour. And what swept me off my feet was the fact that I got the best from the place that was expected to be the worst, and the worst service was doled out by a supposedly customer friendly place.

To the good one first: This was a car dealership in Cochin, Kerala - This particular dealer is reported among the notorious ones, and also listed among the customer unfriendly ones by a reputed automobile community. We made a visit to the dealership only because this turned out to be the only dealer open on Sunday (by chance, the shop normally remains closed on Sundays). Memories afresh of a previous visit to a dealer selling the same brand, we walked into the showroom expecting no body to attend us. Completely unexpected, an executive walked to us, and was ready to explain all features of the car we were looking at. He got us the price list, brochures and all relevant details. Our request for a test drive was quickly attended to, and the Test car was ready in about 5 minutes! He let us have a long ride and gave us lots of information on the car. This service attitude swept me off my feet, and the car was finalised on the spot! (More details on this later).

The bad one: The next visit was to a very reputed electronic goods retail chain. The shop was opened only recently, with much hype. We were shopping for quite some goods - sadly, not a single salesman turns up. Forget explaining about the product, not a damn soul was interested to know if we wanted to get something. While we had plans to purchase three products, we wound up after the first selection itself. The billing was in mess, and it took over 15 minutes for us to get a bill, and the delivery process took forever. The customer was directly directed to the warehouse and it was upto the customer to go get the product. The salesman cared a damn about even being with the customer till the product went outside their gate.

In complete contrast, we walked into another showroom to continue our shopping - the sales team here was completely customer-friendly, and they ensured that we did not have to walk around places to get things done. The product was completely explained, the billing was handled by the salesman himself, and finally he got the product from their warehouse and kept it into the car's boot.

I would recommend even my enemy to avoid the first showroom, and would recommend the second to anyone who asks me for a suggestion. Kerala - for some reason - is never customer friendly. People are taken for granted, and "we don't care for anything" attitude of sales people is sure to take us down.

Names of the showroom have been deliberately omitted from the post.

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