My & a few other folks’ experiences have made me stop & reflect on the state of customer service. I read all these articles exhorting the virtue of great customer service, how the customer is king & how it is no more about service but about delight. Theoretically, it all seems spot-on but practically, it seems we are light years away. I sat down & contemplated on the sequence of events that took place the last week.
I called Easy Cabs, using N’s phone, at 8:45 am to book a cab. The executive attending the call took down the details & said that the earliest the cab would be available would be in half an hour, i.e., 9:15 am. I agreed & the booking was made. I received the SMS with the driver details at 9 am. My booking id was B022501678. The car assigned was 7223 with chauffeur # 991014****.
When the cab did not arrive till 9:18 am, N made the first call to the driver. The driver said he was at a flyover (a little distant one) & that he would take 10 minutes to reach. When the driver did not arrive till 9:29 am, N made the second call to him. He said he was standing at the ‘signal’ & that he would take another 10 minutes to reach. He also gave the excuse that he received the SMS late.
N then called the Easy Cabs call centre (at 9:30 am) to complain about this delay. The executive kept him on hold, spoke to the driver & said he would reach in 5 minutes. When the driver did not reach till 9:40 am, N called him again. He now said he was at the ‘signal’ (again) & that he would take 10 minutes to reach. N asked him why he had lied earlier then; he disconnected the phone.
At 9:44 am, N got an SMS saying my cab had reached the pickup point, while it had not. N called the customer care at 9:45 am. An executive called Priyanka attended. When N asked her why the cab had not turned up till then, she started arguing that it had & it was standing in front of the building. The arguing went on for a minute where she continued to insist the cab had reached. N asked her to confirm with the driver. She kept us on hold & spoke to the driver. On returning online, she said the driver would reach in 5 minutes. N asked her how they could send an SMS if the cab had not reached & how could she argue that the cab had reached. She kept repeating that the driver would reach in 5 minutes & then she disconnected the call.
N redialled the customer care & Priyanka attended the call again. He asked her why she had disconnected. She had no answer & kept saying the cab will reach in 5 minutes, & that it got delayed due to traffic. N asked to connect to her manager. She hesitated & then finally relented & connected us to the complaint department. N spoke to Amit from the complaint department who kept repeating the same things & when N asked for the complaint no., he said the mobile # ‘should’ be the complaint #.
N called the driver at 9:56 am, who said he was reaching in ‘just one minute’. N called the customer care again & realised he was not getting the IVR options to speak about an existing booking. Was his no. blocked? He received a SECOND SMS at 9:58 am stating the cab had reached the pickup point. N redialled the customer care; fortunately he got all the IVR options. N asked the customer care executive to put him through to the complaint department.
After keeping him on hold for a few seconds, the executive said that all the complaint officers were busy with other customers & that N would receive a call from them in ‘2-3 minutes’. By this time, we had left. While N was speaking to the customer care executive, he was getting calls from the driver in the background. This was at 10-10:01 am. N did not receive a call from the complaint department within ‘2-3 minutes’.
At 10:20 am, N got a call from Easy Cabs where the executive started accusing him of being unavailable since 9 am. He said he had been coordinating from 9 am to 10 am, & finally the cab had to go away because N did not show up. N took the driver on conference call, & asked him to tell the exact time when he reached the pickup point. The driver said it was at 10 am. The executive then apologised & hung up.
N wrote to Easy Cabs on their Facebook page & their Twitter handle, giving our booking id. At both the places, in their response, they asked us to narrate what had happened. N then wrote to the CEO of Easy Cabs & got a call, seeking 24 hours to respond to his complaint. We still await the end of these ’24 hours’.
It made me think about what differentiates a radio cab from an ordinary taxi? Efficiency & professionalism, in my humble opinion. But last week, Easy Cabs proved it was both inefficient & unprofessional. There was inefficiency, unprofessionalism & procedural lapses at so many fronts that we did not know what to really complain about. The driver took the booking for granted & arrived at his own sweet will. The customer care executive blatantly lied, did not believe us & argued about the cab status. She also disconnected the phone while we were still talking. The complaint department executive did the same. The system sent SMSes when the cab had not reached. The coordinator who returned our call either had no idea of what was going on or had adopted the strategy of ‘offense is the best defence’. Escalation seemed to have no effect. And we are still waiting for somebody to respond & tell us what corrective action they have taken.
In the past too, we have had unpleasant experiences with Easy Cabs but have let it go. This incident, however, surpassed all previous unpleasantness. We tried the consumer complaint forum where we realised it is full of complaints about Easy Cabs. So, clearly, they are a mess and they have no qualms about it. We, the customer, take everything lying down. ‘United broke my guitar’ created waves and forced the airline to bow down. But, in India, all is ‘Chalta hai!’ or ‘it’s okay!’ I sit back again and ask ‘why?’…