Sunday, August 21, 2016

Indian startups suck at customer service-PAYTM is the latest example

Despite its higher charges and less attractive reward points, the reason I have retained my Citibank credit card is the fantastic customer service-right from the low IVR wait times, to the considerate customer service team who reminds to redeem reward points before surrendering the card. Unfortunately, I cannot say this about many other companies, and hardly any Indian startups. The reason I single out startups (and not established companies) is that they claim to be customer centric without hierarchy. The reality however is far different. This blog is a pent up series of issues prompted by my latest experience with PAYTM-where Uber added a toll to my fare and refused to remove it, and PAYTM(via which it was paid), refused to get involved.

  1. PAYTM: They delayed my premium wallet registration by 2 weeks. Also when I raised a vendor dispute with Uber, they said that they will not get involved. Bottomline: PAYTM CANNOT replace your credit card and is not a neutral marketplace. If you want safety and ability to chargeback, do not use the PAYTM wallet. Also, the customer care team has long wait lines and has very poor email etiquette 
  2. Citus Wallet: The one occassion I had to check for fraudulent withdrawal, they dragged their heels. Also, hardly willing to commit on phone and insist on an email
  3. Quikr: Nearly lost Rs 10,000 here when they disclaimed an escrow account claim. Only repeated threats of credit card chargebacks got them to budge
  4. Flipkart: Not tried it for a long time but lack of live chat is a bad thing
  5. Makemytrip: Technically this is no longer a startup but is quite bad in resolving issues fast
  6. Travel Triangle: My brother booked a tour package through them, the driver was quite bad, but they did not help/hold the fee. Finally he had to settle for a lower amount after much persuasion
  7. Zerodha: If you need help with technical issues like pending trades, god help you

To balance out the above negative view, some stellar examples in my experience

  1. OYO: I accidently missed a booking but they gave me a complimentary room to make up. 
  2. Ebay India: They helped me get the seller to cancel the order after he refused to change the shipping address. The team was helpful at a personal level
  3. Amazon India: Their live chat with a 2min wait time is just amazing.
  4. CityFlo: Prompt refund of unused balances despite stopping business
  5. Lifto: Customer care wanting to know 'VOC'(Voice of customer) often

Some foreign startups I have used and which have great customer service

  1. Getabstract: Willing to extend Indian/student discount without much procedure

We Indians have brought it upon ourselves by not (seemingly) being willing to pay a premium for customer service-but as 5 star hotels would attest-and 2 star OYO-there is a market for such things.
Just that Indian startups maybe feel that UX/UI/Ad/Promos are enough, and that customers will do 'JUgaad' to fix things. They might-but then you eventually pay for it

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