It is not easy being in the retail business. And surely not so for arrogant old economy companies who have sold in the control regime economy.

So what should you do if you get bad service? Go viral.

Yes the Indian net penetration is no patch on the US as a %age of penetration, but it is not small either. I get about 5,000 readers on my blog, my estimate is Deepak Shenoy’s capital mind should be getting 50,000…and I am not talking of the biggies like Moneylife etc. Even FB and twitter can help.

On twitter I have a few people following me – but remember the power of the retweet. If you have had a bad experience ask others with a similar bad experience to reply to your tweet…and you can retweet that, also some others who may be having a bigger number of followers may also retweet.

Do remember that for some up market products the net can be a great place if good things viral – and you know what a customer complaint can do. This is really equivalent of standing at peak business time in the middle of the shop and screaming.

The next very important thing to do is to complain to the CEO. It might be difficult to get to the ceo on FB or linkedin but getting to him on twitter is not so difficult. Also not impossible to get to the ‘response’ of the ceo. Typically if the policy is, the ceo is likely to have a different id. HOWEVER his name.surname id will be attended to by somebody very senior who once in a while tells the boss what happened. It has its impact. I know of one MD who has one executive assistant just to attend to this mail id, so complaints to this id is attended to by a mature MBA bachha..who sends an excel sheet to his boss on a weekly basis, along with the Action Taken Report.

When you write to the ceo write unemotionally and say what you want:

– refund of your money

-product replacement

-apology for bad behaviour

I know one man who called a company to report bad service. The man at the other end said ‘everybody is gone for lunch’ – it was lunch time. This guy got irritated. He said ‘May I speak to A….the ceo?’. The security guy hesitated, then transferred.

My friend thought he would transfer him to some exec assistant.

He said…’I bought…blah blah……’ and then asked..’Whom am I speaking with?”

the man politely said ‘A…..’ it was the Ceo.

My friend was far more impressed with the culture that a security guard could transfer the phone call of a small customer to one of the richest men in India.


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