Question: Do you think we are asking for too much if we expect the booked cab to turn up when we have been told telephonically that it shall? Especially when we pay the premium we do in engaging with the ‘premier’ fleet cabs/radio taxis in the city of Mumbai?
Here’s a little background to why I ask the above question:
Scenario 1: I reserved a Meru Cab to get to the Sahar Airport in the wee hours of the morning. I’m told and I quote verbatim ‘we have taken your request and you will receive an SMS informing you of the chauffeur and cab details 20 mins ahead of time’. Closer to the estimated time of departure, no SMS hit my inbox, so I call back to check the status of my reservation. To my utter horror I’m told there were no available cabs in my area of residence but…they were sorry for the trouble they said. In the wee hours of the morning, I was left with no option but to walk out of my apartment block, looking for willing public transport to the airport! En route, I called back the Meru number and insisted on speaking to the supervisor, who then explains to me that the reservations we make are merely requests that are noted by the call center with no confirmation handed out at the time of booking a cab! Interesting little garb won’t you say? Why in heaven’s name is this extremely valuable piece of information not shared pro-actively?
Scenario 2: My dad needed to get to Parel last evening. I call and book a Meru for 5:45pm. Same spiel is handed out. I’ll save you the effort of guessing the outcome, the cab not turning up and me calling to figure status repeated. An acute sense of Deja vu hit home! Trying not to fume over it too much, I focus on organizing a cab so I call Tab Cab, the newer service on the block with claims service promptness as high as the Qutub Minar. They confirm (not merely note my request, mind you) the booking. In a tiny bit of paranoia, I ask if they are sure they are not going to cancel last minute and leave us in the lurch, I’m assured by a barely understood pronunciation on the other end of the line about it being a confirmed booking. Guess what, the exact same instance repeats itself; no SMS, no cab, I call back the Tab Cab service, I’m told no cabs available. But wait, they were sorry for the inconvenience!
There are ample people visiting and on the move to make the service flourish in the city of Mumbai, why then do we as paying customers get taken for granted? I get that the demand-supply ratio is all out of whack. I am willing to buy that perhaps the operational cost exceeds the profit margins thus they need to keep the fleet lean. I am in complete acceptance of the fact that radio taxis have changed the way people travel in the country and I’m appreciative of that! What I am unwilling to accept is that a service that claims its primary differentiator is the ‘experience’ it provides is turning a blind eye to how that exact same differentiator (or the lack of it) is turning out to be a big turn off for customers. I’m certain I’m unaware of a lot of complexities that the cab travel industry works with. However, it IS an experience driven service and by its fundamental nature that makes it accountable for providing the customers just that: a pleasant experience!
Here are some suggestions from a self-confessed ‘customer from hell’:
- At the time of ‘noting the request’ for a cab, pro-actively inform about the reservation/booking not being a confirmation. Save the good people the last minute fretting and figuring travel options when your cab fails to show up.
- Get better efficiencies in the reservation time. 20 plus minutes of banal flute music is anything but entertaining. And no, it isn’t calming either!
- Train your call executives better at objection handling. Them repeating their ‘pre decided verbiage’ only sends one’s anger quotient way high.
- Have the floor supervisors be more accessible instead of the call executives declaring their unavailability rudely! Some rather brash ones put one on hold and not bother to attend to the call again. Newsflash: This is NOT good servicing!
- Focus on the tone of the apology when being extended on call. When told, ‘we are sorry for the inconvenience’ it should seem like that and not like ‘yeah whatever woman, get off the phone so I can take the next call and better my daily target’.
- Last and MOST important, put in place a mechanism whereby if there are no cabs available at the stated time of the booking, proactively inform the customer at least 30 mins in advance so they can make alternate arrangements.
If it is all about the service…and I would like to be served efficiently …PLEASE!
Image Courtesy: taxi-trogir-info.com
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