Saturday, July 21, 2012


Random Experiences

An Effective Grievance Redressal Mechanism or Efficient Complaint Handling and Customer Service Management System comprises five aspects:

1. It must be easy for you to lodge the complaint. This can be either on phone or SMS or by email or on the website. (In today’s world of the internet, online grievance management mechanism is a must and the days of writing letters, submitting written applications and using snail-mail are a thing of the past)

2. Your grievance must be acknowledged in a prompt manner. This is best done by a prompt call or SMS or an email giving you a reference token number to enable you to monitor the progress of redressal of your grievance / complaint.

3. You must be kept informed and updated regarding the status of your complaint and it must be easy for you to monitor the progress of the grievance redressal process.

4. Your grievance must be resolved to your entire satisfaction in a time bound manner. A sincere and transparent attempt must be made by the customer care department to achieve “customer delight” by a mutually agreeable reconciliation of the complaint and insidious attempts to browbeat, bully, harass or confuse the customer must be avoided.

5. Your feedback and suggestions must be sought. As a part of continual improvement a good customer care department always asks for post grievance redressal feedback and suggestions, acts on the comments of the customer and keeps the customer informed. Rather than just ring up the customer, it is better to obtain feedback by email or in a prescribed format. This enables the customer to give comprehensive feedback and ensures that the feedback is properly recorded for future action.

Let me share some of my experiences of Grievance Management Systems I have encountered.


The best Customer Service I have encountered so far – they meet all the five requirements above.

2. RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland)

Though personal interaction at the bank branch has scope for improvement, the online customer care is prompt and efficient. Lodging a complaint is quite tedious, but once you manage to do that, things move quite swiftly and efficiently, you are kept informed at each stage and they ask you to confirm satisfactory resolution and solicit feedback.

3. ICICI Bank

It is easy to submit an online complaint and the same is promptly acknowledged. Thereafter you are hounded by a variety of customer care executives and relationship managers on phone and they send you emails too – but unfortunately that is where it all ends.
Most of these customer care executives and relationships managers are quite clueless and only indulge in sweet-talk but no effort is made to resolve your grievance or complaint.
It may sound astounding but some of these customer service executives and relationship managers even have the temerity to talk about investments rather than solve your complaint.
I am sorry to say that in the few occasions that I have raised a grievance I have not received a satisfactory resolution.
Also they have pruned down their online complaint options so now you cannot comprehensively and clearly enter your grievance online on the website.
Since the online or telephonic customer service is quite ineffective, for getting my complaints resolved, I had to personally visit a branch of ICICI Bank.

4. Reliance Communications

Today I received an SMS message on my Reliance Mobile Number: “Your Subscription to Reliance Voice Chat Service has been renewed at Rs. 30 for 30 days”
I was bewildered since I had never subscribed to any such voice chat service nor had I ever voice-chatted.
I rang up reliance customer care who stated that as per their records I am being charged every month for voice chat service for the past three months though he agreed that I had never used the service.
When I remonstrated that I had never subscribed to any such voice chat service he said that it may have happened automatically. He said that he would unsubscribe me immediately but could not refund the previous monthly subscriptions already charged since a “third party” was involved. 
When I insisted on a refund, the reliance Customer Care Executive spoke quite rudely in a “couldn’t care less” type of tone and said that these billing mistakes keep happening and nothing can be done now. He also added that it is only a question of 30 rupees a month so why am I so concerned about it. Then he disconnected.
I find this the most unethical customer service and insensitive customer relations management.
I have raised another complaint long back about erratic internet connectivity and slow speeds on Reliance Netconnect Wireless Internet Service due to fluctuating signal strength and zero signal at times. This issue has remained unresolved for many months now. The only reply I get is that this is a technical issue and they are looking into it.
Well the other cell phone providers are no better. Whereas the Reliance Communications customer service is downright rude, Airtel Customer Service is slightly polite, but then they too never resolve the issue. Maybe the monopoly they enjoy has caused them complacency as far as customer relationship management is concerned.

5. State Bank of India is the ultimate in grievance redressal management – they eliminate grievances at Stage 1 itself. They make sure that you just cannot lodge a complaint so they can have a clean slate – a zero complaint regime. If you want to lodge a complaint online, they tell you to contact your Home Branch and when you go to your Home Branch they tell you to submit the complaint online – and they send you round and round in a spin till your grievance disappears.

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