Off late, I have become overly sensitive to customer service quality. Small gestures, whether by a big company or a small outlet/individual, go a long way in making an experience a memorable one and paving way for a long term relationship. The corollary holds, too. Of course, I know, it is simple human psychology and has been known to people for ages. Makes me wonder why it is still so uncommon, especially with telecommunication service providers in India. Monopoly, did you say? I would agree.
Last week, day one of my new assignment, I caught a cold which led to a headache. Frustrated with myself for not having any medicine or food with me, I sulked on my way back from office. I had been warned about that specific area often, about the unsafe roads, arrogance autos etc. While waiting for my host to pick me up from metro station, I kept walking around aimlessly- cursing the chill wind. Suddenly, I spotted a chemist shop and realized I should buy some anti-histamine.
It was a small shop. I asked one of the assistants for 5 tablets of Cetcip and handed him a note of 100. 10 bucks- he said. No change- me! He did not even bother to check his cash register- probably he was sure- and said- No issue! Give cash tomorrow. I was surprised, in a nice way, while still fumbling through my wallet and pockets. I found a Rs. 5 note (yes, a crumpled note and not a coin) and said this is all the change that I have. He simply took that and said that’s OK!
I know it wasn’t a big amount and wouldn’t really make a difference even if I didn’t turn up the next day to pay the balance. He would probably not even remember! On the other side, it makes all the business sense- building trust with a customer, showing care when the customer is vulnerable and not in best shape. Despite that, very few places would do that. A brand chain would never do that- let someone short of a few rupees change underpay. Although, they would shamelessly give out candies or other useless things instead of change when they are short- and not include those candies in the bill.
Anyways, the transaction uplifted my spirits and the medicine improved the cold. I went back the next day to pay the pending Rs.5. The long term effect- whenever possible, I will have a preference to go to that shop for general stuff over any other comparably convenient store. And that, my friends, is business generated!