Customer Service and Brand Loyalty

We’ve always had much better customer service here in India as compared to that of the west. One of the reason being — companies in India are able to hire more customer service representatives for a lower salary. These reps are being abused for the amount of work they do.

However, in the times of corona Customer Service has become the most important aspect for any brand. I have been an advocate of great customer service leading to brand loyalty. However, it’s times like these that people will distinctly remember who provided better customer service during tough times.

I’ve seen tweets from a lot of renters where their landlords pardoned their rent. It’s been an absolute delight to go through such tweets. It shows how during these tough times only humanity can help us sustain. And goodwill goes a long way. However, on the other hand, I have also seen tweets from some renters where they were forced to move as they couldn’t make the payment.

Similarly, empathy from brands are immediately highlighted these days. I’m sure people who receive these goodwills from brands are going to stay loyal to them for a long long time.

I, too, had an horrible experience with Cleartrip.com, which is a OTA platform in India. I’ve only been booking tickets from Cleartrip.com since 2012 and I liked their clear UI and great UX. I had booked a trip to Goa with my friends at the end of March. I wanted to celebrate my birthday. The country went on lockdown just before that and we had to cancel the trip.

For almost 7 days I tried to cancel the ticket from their portal but couldn’t. Later I tried calling their customer service number for 7 days but couldn’t connect. Dropped a tweet and no response. While it was a small amount I had to forgo, I will never forget this experience. I am never booking tickets from Cleartrip. All those years of loyalty means nothing.

I understand that these platforms have been going through tough times with increasing support queries and low staff. However, not getting back to a customer for 15 straight days is just horrible and I feel neglected. I feel one of those girlfriends they show in pathetic Hollywood movies who have been done badly by some jerk. The only option she has a clean break. And I have been watching too many Hollywood movies.

Having worked in Customer Service for two and half years. I know that obsessing with customers is really a top down approach. Customer service reps will care about customers only if it’s ingrained in them from their bosses and their bosses’ bosses. Additionally, the reps should also be given the agency to make decisions to right. If they don’t have the agency, they can’t do it right even if the upper management claims that the brand is customer obsessed. It means nothing if they haven’t empowered their reps.

Please share your stories in the comments. I would love to hear about brands that one should stick to as I truly believe the brand does right for the customers because everyone in the company is aligned to the same goal.