Thursday, November 20, 2008

Customer satisfaction an art …

Isn’t difficult to master. You just need to keep your eyes and ears open. A lesson I learnt from the autorikshaw wallas. Today, from the moment I boarded the rikshaw the driver kept trying to suggest an alternate [read longer] route. When I asked him why he couldn’t go on the normal route, his reason: “Madam, ee routege jaasti traffic ide (this is a heavy traffic route)
Yeah, I know that. I even know that when one road gets jammed the alternate routes succumb to the same fate in less than 10 minutes. So, I put my foot down and he (disgusted by me) stayed on the normal, traffic-infested route. But boy was he persistent, at every traffic signal, he’d turn around and with pleading eyes suggest a change of route. Finally, I just gave him one big boring lecture on the traffic in the city and even gave him a few pointers on how he could turn this lose-lose situation into a win-win one, by relaxing or even taking a quick 5 minute nap! (yeah, poor guy, he had no choice but to listen to my rotten kannada-hindi-english monologue)
That kept him focused on driving for a while but it was only good till the next traffic signal. This time round he said something that had me smile ear-to-ear. The sneaky, conniving guy said something to this effect: Madam, why do you want to waste your time in the traffic. I will take you from a better route. It may be a little longer but at least you will reach office on time. GRIN(auto guy). Hmm, why didn’t I meet this guy earlier?? I mean, why now? when my constant late comings have earned me that special nod, exchange of glances, reserved for me, from colleagues at work. The first impressions have been made, my friend, so don’t bother and stay on traffic-infested route. STIFF UPPER LIP(me).
Down right disgust on his face he stayed on route and ignored me for the last few minutes.
I felt good. I don’t know why. I was not hassled by the traffic (even though I was going to be late to work) and neither was I upset with the driver for constantly interrupting and invading my Me-time. After a while I felt silly to be smiling all by myself. But, then I had reason enough. This over-bearing auto guy made be realize that it was so easy for them (auto guys, who else?!) to earn that extra Rs 20 or more by sweet talk. All they need is a bit of English, a few cuss words to furl at the traffic, talk about the importance of our time and what all we have to suffer daily! Talk to us nicely (follow the above mentioned drill) and we ourselves won’t ask that five bucks back. And might just hand the extra Rs 10 with a smile
And believe me, I’ve been tricked with this sweet talk So, now I just play along and no, no more handing out whatever amount they ask. Sometimes, they are just happy I reached my destination and won’t bore them any longer. :D