Monday, October 05, 2009

Customer Service Rant #1 - Signature Kitchens

This is what I hope will be a series of rants (?) on the whole Customer Service Experience in India or put more specifically - Why Customer Service in India sucks! It's been three odd months after my move back to India, so I'm sure there will be many posts on this topic - here is the first in the series...

Will start with the most freshest in mind:

Signature Kitchens India Pvt. Ltd:

My wife has been wanting to redo our kitchen for quite some time now - and we finally decided to bite the bullet and go ahead. Our visit to a mall, a few weeks ago, was fresh in our mind - and we remembered Signature Kitchens as an option. So my wife called them up - they said that they charge Rs.500/- as designing charges where in they would give us two design "options". Fair enough - this guy comes over, takes a few measurements and we give him our requirements (as in what all we need in the kitchen). Among other things - he hasn't heard of a Sink Garbage disposal unit, he makes a few suggestions that seem quite green (as in green behind the ears and not eco-friendly) and says that two design options will be emailed to us.

So we get two designs - which have the following glaring lacunae:
  • Dishwasher seemed missing (we found it under the sink apparently they had raised the height of the counter - in spite of us giving specific instructions on the height)
  • No space for the Indian style mini-temple
  • We had asked for a kitchen table - that was completely missing
  • The Color scheme was good - but for a different house - it completely clashed with the tiles we have (The designer at SK had conveniently changed the flooring in the design to white from orange-brown).

So my wife sends them a polite email saying that you've basically forgotten stuff- can you take care of these points. Then comes an email from their manager saying that we need to come down (their office is essentially at the other end of town - and those driving in Pune's sucky traffic have a pretty fair idea of the painful journey to go across). So we send her an email saying sure we can come down - but we want to see the proper designs first.

Then, after a week of silence - we call up again. And the reply we get is that the "Company Policy" has now changed and we cannot send designs on email! Duh! After a week of silence - after calling them up - i.e. no proactive emails from them - we're pretty cheesed off! Here is a perfect case of a customer wanting a service - the SALE is NEARLY ALREADY MADE! All you have to do is not screw up!!

Wanting to escalate - I call up the manager and basically she tells me that I can go do what I want. She refuses to even give me a number of anyone higher up to escalate. Final stinker that I send to them is reproduced below...


Your service levels are pathetic!!!!

I have not experienced such rude and incompetent service (from ). Looks like you people do not want any business.

Your designs have not met even the BASIC REQUIREMENTS stated by us. And in spite of that you have the audacity to say that we cannot escalate this up! You people (especially ) don't know the basic meaning of customer service. I hope your Bangalore and Chennai service centers have some competent people at least!

Please refund the design amount immediately. If we have to come in to get the refund - we will be taking travel charges from you.

This will be escalated and I can assure you that there will be negative publicity on this."

Three days later - get a call from an "Accounts Officer" quietly asking us how we would like to be refunded. Last update - he would be sending a guy with the money to me.

Classic case on driving business away. No way in hell am I going to recommend Signature Kitchens India to any one!

People just do not get what Customer Service is about!


Photographer Pappu!!! said...

This scenario is applicable wherever there is something called customer service. These people take the concepts from the developed countries like America but forget to take the mentality required to implement those concepts. I am preparing myself to deal with these so called cust services when I come back :)

Asish said...

Interesting... they seemed "right" from outside view point. Now I suppose that's not the case as I learn more from this blog, (me out). Interesting!!! Thanks Kiran for posting such real life experiences...

Siddhartha said...

By Sink Garbage Disposal unit, you mean something akin to the Insinkerator?
Not a good idea to get it installed in an Indian kitchen sink, as I was told about 2 years ago in Pune. They were available, albeit at around 14000 rupees, and no one would have a clue about repair in case there was any issue.

Espee said...

I'm reading this blog today and I am extremely sorry but I beg to disagree with the blog posted here.

Here is my side of the story. I bought an apartment in upscale locality in Pune and my wife was looking for a good quality kitchen for our apartment. We also visited Ishanya and visited Signature Kitchen. We had a budget of Rs10 lacs and they had five installed kitchens in their showroom.Quality was really good. This company is based in Malaysia and have their operations in many countries. I talked to their Manager -a pregnant young lady- who was very supportive and technically effecient. I asked her and she told that she had been a freelancer before. Seemed so. The way she explained all the things, I's really impressed.

We too had need of insinkerator, dishwasher, microwave, chimney and hob. This showroom had all of these things except insinkerator installed and we could actually have a realitic picture of how our kitchen would look. They charged us Rs.500/-. Provided us the designs within 5 days. They had asked for a week and I was not expecting it that early and at that cost :). They actually told us that their company policy doesn't allow them to send by email. I didn't mind since we were pretty serious about it. We got the kitchen installed within 50 days (they ask for 45 days) and my wife is extremely happy with the services and support rendered by them. We have got all the appliances as well from Signature Kitchen and I have no regrets.

Their manager has become our family friend and on discussing this topic with her, she opened up all the pieces and also showed me the entire thread of communication.

Boss... I would suggest you to visit the showroom once. Discuss the design and get things cleared in one sitting. Believe me.. this will be a good decision. There has just been a miscommunication between you people.

I'm happy and wish the same for you.

Kiran Nataraj said...

- Thanks for the feedback. I'm sure you have had a good experience - I posted the experience that we have had. It may be all about expectations - and ours were, I guess, high.