Naga Chokkanathan

CRM : Look beyond numbers

Posted on: July 20, 2012

Few days back, I got a marketing call from my mobile service provider, they suggested a new bill plan for me. It was very attractive, lot of benefits when compared to my current plan, and the price was also reasonable (Rs 1000).

So, I decided to shift to this new plan and gave them my decision. I got an SMS immediately, everything went smooth. I started enjoying all the new plan benefits, and felt happy about the right decision.

One month later, yesterday I got the bill and it was a shocker, because, it had Rs 2000 as the plan cost, instead of Rs 1000.

I am sure all of us would have faced this kind of a problem before, we would dial the call center, shout at some helpless lady there that the company has cheated us, threaten them that you will go to court and finally, (if lucky) get the refund back. This post is NOT one such story, believe me 🙂

My intention is not to share my frustrations with you or throw dirt at the mobile company (That’s why I am not even mentioning their name here). Instead, I fully understand that such service issues can happen at any company, and want to think aloud on what is the best way to handle them.

Coming back to my story, I immediately contacted their call center, informed them that they have charged me Rs 2000 instead of Rs 1000 and asked for a refund (and reason). The gentleman on the other side of the phone was very kind, apologized for the error, took just few seconds to understand the real issue, and gave me a solution almost immediately. (May be many people are facing the same problem!)

Actually, the plan to which I subscribed to, is called “Package 2000” (or something similar), which means, the fixed rent on this plan is Rs 2000 per month, and then, they enable something called a “50% discount package” on top of it. As a result, you will get Rs 1000 discount on your bill every month, bringing the effective rent to Rs 1000 only.

In my case, they never told me about this complexity, and simply sold it as a “1000 Rupees package”. Technically, it is not cheating, but they should have mentioned it clearly during the “Marketing” phase.

OKay, Marketing is done, I am ready to buy the package, at least now, someone should have told me that the plan is actually called “Package 2000” and I would have asked “Why 2000?”. They missed this step too.

Biggest mistake, they forgot to enable the “50% discount package” for me. As a result, I got a bill for Rs 2000 now, instead of Rs 1000.

The call center person could revert it back to Rs 1000 very easily, and enable my “50% discount package”. I am happy, I even gave that person a “5/5” rating as the feedback. But, the bitterness is there with me, that they didn’t handle this right.

What they could have done differently?

  1. They could have created a simple “Package 1000”, instead of a complex combination “2000 Package” + “50% discount” (Owner : Product Management / Marketing)
  2. Even otherwise, They could have told me clearly about the package, instead of selling it to me as a “Package 1000” (Means, you are hiding facts about your products to your customer, just to make a sale) (Owner : Marketing / Sales)
  3. They could have put a process in place, to ensure that “2000 Package” always goes with “50% discount” package, just to make sure no customer gets a surprise after their first bill (Owner : Delivery / Deployment / Billing)

These are the “Expected” reactions, if they want to go one level up, they can “surprise” or “delight” the customer by taking few more initiatives, but that would be too much to expect at this stage 🙂

Now, let us analyze this entire story from a Customer Relationship Management standpoint, these are the transactions, and the result:

  1. Marketing call to customer : Success
  2. Sales to customer : Success
  3. Delivery of the product (package) : Success
  4. Customer raised a complaint about Billing
  5. Customer complaint resolved in 2 minutes : Success
  6. Customer gave a “5/5” rating : Super Success

Do you see the problem? My mobile service provider will NEVER know that things went wrong in my relationship with them, they will never know that there are number of improvement suggestions they need to work on, if they just look at the statistics above. Unless and until I write a long Email detailing all these to their senior management, they will be under the impression that everything went smooth. Even after I write one such mail, there is no assurance that action will be taken against it.

This proves beyond doubt, that CRM is not just transactions, it is the overall relationship that matters. If you just look at the customer records / activities / feedback numbers, you may be missing the real picture altogether.

There is a very famous quote about statistics, let me borrow it and modify it slightly : “CRM systems and reports are just like mini-skirts, they give you good inputs, but hide the most important things!”

***

N. Chokkan …
20 07 2012

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4 Responses to "CRM : Look beyond numbers"

[…] Published in https://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/crm-look-beyond-numbers/ jQuery(document).ready(function(){ […]

For the consistent growth of any business, keeping the clientele happy and satisfied is of utmost importance. We at SIMCURA understand this perfectly, which is why we have designed our CRM software to meet your business needs.

Nice Post, though I tend to disagree with the problem you have mentioned that the management would never know the issues faced by customers.

I believe every call to customer-care will be categorized, like billing issues, tarif unclarity, etc. and how they resolved it. After introduction of a scheme if the calls increased to certain category (lets say billing issues) then the management would know something went wrong with that scheme. They would know, this might lead to loosing the customers & increasing the customer-care employees, less revenue & more expenditure, shortly a night mare.

I’m not a CRM/Marketing person, my opinion might be naive & too ideal.

I agree with you that Management should be looking into this sudden volume increase in a particular type of category. My worry is, can they link these calls to a bad sale / marketing? If that happens, I am more than happy!

As Customers, we all want these relationships to be better. There is no “CRM Person” as such 🙂 Many Thanks for sharing your thoughts

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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Organization He works for / belongs to.

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