New Great Wall of China!

In modern times, we are required to deal with many agencies both private and governmental. Some times, problems do crop up. Many times, to resolve the issues we are forced to deal with call centers or an e mail id. This can be frustrating. It is modern world’s “New Great Wall of China”. One can be very tired, frustrated and sometimes desperate, climbing it. If you are lucky, you may deal directly with a person who is actually handling this problem. But all this is not for weak hearted people.

A lady staying in Pune was drawing her government pension for last 10 years, naturally in a bank in Pune. Suddenly, somebody in the system realized that there was an error. The address in government files was from another state, Gujarat. 10 years? I think it is too long a period to not realize this error. System has made this error for 10 years now onus should be on the system to tell the lady how to correct this error. What does the system do? Simply tells her to go to Gujarat to withdraw her pension. All the large organizations, whether private or government have their own issues, some are functioning issues and some are issues where procedures are blindly followed.

Let me share with you story of  Citi bank. Jaya has been using their credit card for years. Recently when there was a directive to link Aadhar card to credit cards, we sent the documents to them. After one month, Yes! one month, she got a mail that Aadhar link cannot be done as name on Aadhar card is incorrect. We were surprised as the same has been linked to many bank accounts etc. So, we called their call center and were told the same thing. Then we decided to investigate it. Aadhar name ok, Credit card name ok, Address is ok. After going online, to check the details in Citi Bank system, we found her name displayed as P Jaya Krishna. We called the call center again; we explained the whole thing and said that name registered in their records is wrong. Name on the card is correct. We were told to send all documents again, we also sent them the passport copy. After one more month, we got the same message your KYC cannot be done due to incorrect documentation. We followed the same procedure through internet, via courier, and as a precautionary measure we went to the banks local branch and personally explained the issue to an officer. He arranged to send the documents to credit card department and wrote a mail to them in front of us. End result, zilch! We keep on getting mails that the card will be blocked if KYC procedure is not completed. What action did we take? Simple, even a better credit card from another bank was procured. If this can happen in case of Jaya, what will people who do not have resources to handle such things do? What will young people do? They have difficulty initially in even getting credit cards. This is supposed be one of the better banks!

I am by no means saying that nothing works. Some large organizations have superb methods of resolving the issues when the highest person is approached. I have a couple of good examples too. But why the problems are not resolved at the level where they should have been resolved.

One of my colleagues dealt with Amazon India. She was facing many issues during a particularly trying week. Cell phone ordered by her was not being delivered. Her order cancellations were not completed and there were issues about partial supplies. She was totally frustrated. Their call center was stone walling. When I came to know about this issue, I said lets us try extreme measures. I looked on the net and Lo! I found formal e mail id Jeff Bezos. An appropriate but brief e mail was written on that id regarding issues not getting resolved. This was done at 5 pm. On the next day from 9.30 in the morning she started getting e mails, phones and parcels. Yes, the person handling big boss’s id pushed the right keys and maybe kicked the butts!

We had booked a Maruti car, ages back. Later on, we realized that there was going to be official delay as they had strike at their plant. We cancelled the booking and I requested for the refund for Rs.10000/. The sales person told me that there will be a deduction of Rs.2500/ as processing fee. I said, ” Only tangible service you provided was some tea. You can deduct the amount for tea.” But he was adamant. I found the e mail id of then CEO of Maruti and wrote to him a brief mail. Next day at 9 o’clock, the dealer person called and said, ” Sir, I want to come to your office to deliver the cheque for Rs. 10000/. When can I come?” Problem solved.

Then there is story about now defunct King Fisher Airline, owned by Vijay Mallya. Their refund policy said that it takes 8 working days for a refund to be paid. When I called their call center, the usual dilly dallying was going on, it was already one month. In the end, I made a casual statement, “Looks like I have to talk to Vijay Mallya for this.” Within 15 minutes I got a confirmation that the money was refunded.

There are stories galore but I always wonder what happens to people who don’t have the experience of such situations, do not have contacts at high places, maybe they just don’t have the wherewithal to handle situations. What do they do? Keep on wasting their time finding a solution, or sometimes simply give up. I sometimes fear , that the systems are designed to stall, and not to solve the problems. At the call centers you cannot talk to higher authorities as they never put you through to someone else. One trick I have found, it succeeds most of the times. When you are getting connected to the call center, they give a message that the call is being recorded for training purpose. Take advantage of this statement. This statement also implies that the call center person cannot disconnect the call. When you reach status quo, tell the person that you are not going disconnect till you get to take to talk to someone else, maybe a senior guy. At least in my case in 70% of times, my issues got resolved.

When they train you in schools and colleges, they train you for many things but you are never trained to climb this “New Great Wall of China”. Share your experiences with as many people as possible and get feed backs from others on the subject. This is one skill set nobody teaches you but you are going to need the most! I am opening an institute for training in these skills. Care to join our courses?   Our call center number is 1800 xxx yyy! You may call between 9 to 6, Monday to Friday! And 9 to 1 on Saturdays!


2 thoughts on “New Great Wall of China!

  1. Ganesh deshpande

    china wall great but i have exp other way. Vank authority was calling personally and approched directly at home resolving issues may be i am lucky

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