Big or Bad

I have come across three distinct cases in last 30 days which make me think that being Big often translates to being Bad (Sadly though).

In “Go kiss the world” subroto Bagchi makes a valid comment – How big can you get before you get bad. There is a extremely thin line differentiating big from bad, and it is wise to take cognizance of this line, before the world starts terming you bad.

My first experience is of a electronics retail store “CROMA”. My father in law recently bought a Samsung DVD player from CROMA, Malad. He received home delivery of DVD player and waited for a day for the demo. Demo team from CROMA came on promised day not to find A/V cord inside the packed DVD player box, and went back without Demo.

After complaining to CROMA over phone, I personally went to pick up A/V cord and thought matter would resolve. Yesterday when I went to my father in laws house to check how is the experience, I was surprised to find that the piece delivered is not working properly. I checked the DVD player, and found it to have visible scratch marks, and handling abuses which are likely to happen with a used/demo piece. My belief that this was a demo piece was reinforced when I found a Casino Royale DVD inside a packed piece.

By now I was sure I have been fooled by CROMA to pay for a new piece and receive a used/demo piece. The fact that no A/V cord being found in a new consignment and a DVD inside the tray only reinforced my belief.

My tryst with bad experience didn’t end here. When I called up customer service no 022-61406363, at 18″00 hrs yesterday evening, and narrated my story, I was told that someone will call me back in 1 hr. This 1 hr. did not happen till I called up customer service again @ 11:33 hrs today.

I never thought that Tata brand would stoop to such levels and would try to play with customer faith. Not to mention my recent purchases of a Nikon D60 SLR from CROMA Phoenix Mill, and my other purchases of a PSP etc from CROMA Malad, I am beginning to seriously doubt the quality factor in all CROMA deals.

If I have to go through such a plight for claiming what is rightfully due to me, I am seriously doubting “we help you buy” positioning of CROMA.

I am happy to see CROMA emerge as a BIG retail, but please don’t cross the fine line to turn BAD. Along with growing BIG comes tremendous responsibility of being good to your customers, I think as an service organization it is your first port of call, don’t ignore it.

My second experience is of VODAFONE. A subscriber who i am loyal to for last 8 years. Without getting into detailing of ARPU which Orange/Hutch/Vodafone has got from me as a customer, I am surprised as to how callous they have been to customer sensitivities.

I have a enterprise blackberry service from VODAFONE and my belief of being 24 x 7 in touch with my job, makes me a heavy user of blackberry services. I am not receiving any bills (soft/hard) copy for last two months. Complaints after complaint have yielded no results, and anonymous attendants from call center confirm that they will send the bill today vide email.

One fine day they decide to disconnect your services, and do not acknowledge the fact that they have failed on their duty to send bill copy to me. No mention of countless problems like call drops, poor coverage etc, the service provider believes that they have grown big, and can discount such small issues of being bad to few customers. A very disturbing trend.

Last example is of the city where I live. Mumbai has all the elements to make it big. Respected corporates, professional people, and countless opportunities. All things that make it big, also make it bad. Look at the infrastructure. Roads sink, traffic hurts, housing nonexistent, quality of life – Bad.

Why a city which has grown to be big, has turned to be bad. Why we fail to detect the line which we should not cross and resist the lure of being big, but maintain being good. There are many other examples, each reinforcing my belief – why we have to choose between Big or Bad.

Are there examples which justify organizations/cities being good and Big together.