Somehow, I have not been able to understand the mentality of people working in services industry. Vodafone's customer care keeps calling me to get the details of bill payment. “Sir, when did you pay the bill?” “Cheque or cash?” Bizarre isn’t it? Don’t they have systems to record all this. If you are yet to make the payment, they expect you to tell them when and where you will drop the cheque? Few of such customer-care representatives have gone to the extent of asking the cheque number. Do they expect me to run and find my chequebook and tell them the number knowing well that I have not written the cheque? What is the sanctity of my information in this case? I might say that I will pay on Saturday. They don’t even bother to ask this or next. I have figured out that Vodafone has outsourced some part of its back-office operations. And the back-office guys want information just to pretend that they are actually working. Whether it matters or not, does not matter to them.
Banks have an equally hopeless back-office operations. And it can get worse if it’s an old styled bank like HDFC Bank. They work only from 9 am to 5 pm. Well, I feel like saying "thanks" to these guys for their service. Calling them "buffoons" will be injustice to the level of their stupidity. They don’t seem to realize that even their branches are open in this time frame and people actually need call-centers at odd hours. When you ask them, they reply that it is our bank "policy". Of course, it has to be. (Thanks again for telling) But what is the logic? Again, it is the bank's "policy". I curse the guy, who invented words like policy and sorry, for he could not have foreseen how much they are prone to mis-utlisation.
Certain breeds are harmful to all kinds of commercial endeavors. And I am sorry to say "marathis" are one such breed. I went to a resort in Maharashtra. The manager did not let me check in. The reason: Guests could check in only after 10 am and I had reached at 8:30 am. One would assume that, there was no spare room. No… Please throw logic out of window, as more than 50% of his rooms were un-occupied. When I asked, he came with a rulebook. Damn! I said "Do you get salary for getting business, or for following a completely bizarre set of rules?" He pretended as if he did not know (more of this pretense strategy later). The sales guy had promised me that upon reaching, I would be served sumptuous breakfast. When I entered their cafeteria, they had vada-pav, poha and tea. Sumptuous? It’s like saying, have as much as you want, anyways it did not cost much to us to get these “cuisines” for our guests. I complained. The manager said “Fine, I will get some sand-wiches for you guys” Then he said “I am doing a great favor to you guys by getting you extra stuff in breakfast” Great Favor??? I tried hard not to yell, but that was one of the several tests of characters, where I failed miserably. I lost control and I yelled, screamed and shouted at him. I have found out that at least it works in India, because most of us lack self-respect. Where logic fails, arrogance can work.
Now lets go back to “pretense” strategy. This is the most irritating part, when these guys are called, they pretend as if they don’t know how can there be a problem in the first place. Take the example of the guy, who is supposedly responsible for hardware and software at my office. So there was some problem with my monitor. I called him up. He arrived only to reciprocate my disbelief at having faced the problem. A clever guy would have a kind of re-assurance on his face. When I asked, “By when, I would be able to work at my system”. He said, “It will take lot of time”. I was on the verge of getting heart attack as I had a deadline in half an hour. I asked, “It will take a day or two?” He said, “No, it will take 30 minutes” That was lot of time for him?? Not because he is super-efficient, but because he is a handicap at English.