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The statistics shown are in this  article in the Indian edition of Forbes are interesting. It speaks of the findings from the 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer prepared for American Express.  Two issues stand out:-* Indians are the most abusive customers in the world with 64 % losing their temper with customer service. The global average is supposed to be 48 %. In addition, 12 % of Indians are said to use profanities on the phone.

* India’s dissatisfaction level is only 19 %. This speaks of poor expectations or conditioning to accept whatever is given as being good.

I am not surprised to see these figures. I think these results throw up complex issues. In a huge country like ours where the market is still growing for most products and services, there is a tendency for companies to woo customers at any cost and treat them like dirt once they have signed on the dotted line. There have been schemes to net large number of customers without a thought on how to service them later. The standards are often poor and the facade of professionalism often cracks and does not stand the test of time.

The Indian customer is used to being taken for a ride but he demands value for his hard-earned money. In his frustration, if he has to vent his anger out abusing the hapless customer service representative, so be it. He rationalizes that since he has paid for the service/product, it gives him the right to shout at the service provider. The service provider, in turn, develops a thick skin and knows that being abused is part of the game. It is what he is paid for and there’s no point losing sleep over this.

I write with tongue in cheek but there’s some truth in what I say. As expectations rise, the standards of customer service in our country need to be greatly enhanced. The customer should no longer be seen as easy prey to be netted into the system at his/her own peril.

This holds good for a variety of businesses. Airlines, mobile services, credit cards and banking, you can take your pick. High ticket purchases do not seem to protect you either as India’s air travelers have found out in the recent past, what with strikes by highly paid pilots etc.

Of course, there are exceptions. there are a few companies which do provide excellent service but they are sadly outnumbered by many who don’t. As long as our population remains so huge, those providing poor customer service get away with shoddy service because sadly for every one person who walks away, there are ten wannabes who are waiting to sign up!

 

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