In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away. ~ Doug Warner
It all happened on 6th April 2015, a hot day in Bangalore, while watching the brilliantly orchestrated advertisement of Reliance Digital, I convinced myself to buy an air-conditioner (AC) from the store. My friend, Debarati and I, along with my wife, went to the Reliance Digital store, located in Phoenix Market City Mall in Bangalore.
The sales team did a great job to convince us to buy 2 AC units, promising free deliver and installation. They also forced us to buy addition services, although we resisted the temptation and now I am convinced it was a good decision. The sale was prompt and we left the store after spending INR 76,000 on two top range Samsung AC units.
The delivery was promptly done the next day, 7th April 2015 and the team dumped the AC unit in our (Deb and mine) houses. This is where the ordeal began.
The installation team, called me and confirmed the installation at 10 AM on 8th April 2015, but no one turned up. I called the Service Center (SC) number given to me (08067266233) and I was assured tat another engineer would come in two hours. No one turned up or even called. I kept waiting. I called the number again and was given another time slot – this time 7 PM. I had planned a dinner which I had to cancel. However no one came.
Next day, 9th April, 2015, this comic game continued but with more panache. The engineer called me and promised to be at my place at 10 AM but in vain. I tried to reach him and he did not respond to me. I called the SC team and they gave me their Team Leader, Saleem’s number, who promised that the engineer will come at 1 PM. I waited, confined in my house, not able to go anywhere, expecting engineer to come. No one came and I called Saleem, who did not respond to me. I called multiple times, but in vain. Finally he decided to pick my phone at 4 PM and gave me another engineer’s number who promised to visit by 6 PM. I waited but once again, a fake promise. I called him and he said he is on his way and will be at my place by 7 PM. He never came. I called to learn that he is 1 km away from my house and will be here in another 30 minutes. He never came and switched off his cell phone. Saleem stopped answering my calls too, although many times I got call waiting when I called.
On 10th April 2015, this game began again. No one came but I kept getting one time slot after another. This was the third day n a row that I am confined in my house, awaiting the elusive engineer to come and o the installation. The temperature, in Bangalore and in my head, kept rising, but no one cared.
After spending my whole day with them, I decided to use Twitter to reach out to Reliance Digital (@RelianceDigital), thinking, this would solve the issue for me. I was happy that the team responded to me on 11th April 2015, assuming me of an action. Manish, called me from Head Office (as I was told) and he assured me of action. But once again, nothing happened. Manish and team stopped responding to my tweets, thinking this would help them avoid me.
Lesson – Ignore social at your own peril. Brands may chose to ignore the customers, but the damage will continue to happen.
I sent out a note to their customer service grienvance cell at Digital.Website@ril.com who sent a note to me that action will be taken in 4 hrs. No one reached out to me. I escalated the case to email@example.com and got a ‘template’ response that the team will look into the matter and respond. Finally, I got another call from Deepak, who heard my tale of sorrow and empathized me with me. He promised me an action, but you know what happened. No one called me.
12th April 2015 – One more day was over and my weekend, just like my week, was getting wasted – sitting at home and calling innumerable numbers and speaking to innumerable people had become the routine of the day. In the mean time, my tweets started getting traction and my network joined hands to help me get this sorted. 35 retweets and many likes got Reliance Digital team rattled, although the incompetent team did not revert to me. Manish called me and expressed his unhappiness and promised me again to resolve it. I knew, he and the other team members are as impotent as their process.
— Khalid Raza (@khalidraza9) April 12, 2015
I reached out to Brian Bade, CEO of Reliance Digital and copied him on an email, which I marked to firstname.lastname@example.org. And then the team swung into action, seeing the backlash on Twitter and a mail being marked to their CEO. Vinitha, Manager Customer Service, finally managed to get a team to my place got the AC installed, after keeping me hanging for almost a week! The entire experience was a torture!
No one apologized to me for all this ordeal or did anything to make me come back to the brand.
Summary: In the process of all this, Reliance Digital lost me and many who felt my frustration as their customer. And this is not going to stop. All of you, who are reading this, will also learn how painful the experience if being a Reliance Digital customer has been for me. Will Samsung do anything to make amends here and ask Reliance Digital what they can do to mollify and make my experience better (and also for many more other customers)? Will Reliance Digital and Brian Bade do anything to appease this unpleasant experience. I will wait and watch.
As requested above, I would urge you to share your story(s) below. I will be sharing this blog with Brian Bade, CEO of Reliance Retail. I will keep you all posted of what action Reliance Digital takes after reading this. Or will they continue to ignore?