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.


  1. Mayura · July 9, 2009

    Hi Ashish,

    In the croma case you mentioned, for me, it is a typical example of a good brand turning bad because it became big. I have had some great experiences with this retail chain of stores, when they were fairly new in the market. they would go all out in the name of customer service. But similarly I have seen a transition in my experiences with this retail store, from getting bad to worse! As they grow BIG a sudden fit of complacency hits them, and before they know, they tar their image so badly! Sometimes they just dont care what image they carry,and continue with the BAD they have perfected. Its nothing but the arrogance and over confidence that is reflected of the employees of these organisations! I still have to go thru a sour experience with Vodafone, I’m slightly biased there as I have had worst experiences with it’s competition Loop and Reliance! I think nothing can beat the arrogance of the customer service people at Reliance Infocom. It’s a shame, but so true! I have finally come to a conclusion that Vodafone remains to be the most accessible network in terms of customer service!
    for Mumbai, i think each of us needs to do our bit. When I think of this city, all I can imagine is this city crying and pleading for some air to brreath itself! There is nothing more that Mumbai can give us back. It is our turn to give it back. Give it good roads, infrastructure, cleaner environment. We created opportunities for pple to come and settle here, so we cant blame the city, we made it big and we have made it bad if that’s what the end result is. It is precisely the reason why this city today is the city of dreams! I think Mumbai must have been far happier a hundred years ago with lesser congestion, pollution, traffic, bad roads.

  2. Mishi · July 9, 2009

    hi ashish
    Sorry to hear of ur “wonderful” experience with some happening brands..

    I second ur experience with Vodafone…. haven’t purchased anything so far from Croma except for my Indicom Data Card… where vodafone is concerned their customer servic sucks… they never mail the bills on time… then they start giving calls in the middle of the day ten days before the due date and with asking whether we are busy or not start ranting in the sam monologous tone…. once the bill is paid they fail to update their systems and continue to make reminder calls or send smses… I sometime wonder whether all that CRM stuff they so rave and rant about is in place even in an organisation like TATA?? and they say… Customer is the “Emperor”…. I think they still haven’t understood their customers and have a long way to go…

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