Friday, January 13, 2006

Indian Embassy or Indians Embarrassed

After being in US more than 2 years now, I have had the first hand experience of being a customer and the excellent treatment that is given to them. Its a simple formula..The two small C's (Courtesy and Customer Service) decide the success of a big C (Company).

From a corner drug store to a big multinational mobile service providers, the way they treat their customers, is what drives the customers back to them for more business.

This the formula that has been extensively applied and practiced in US today. The IT companies back in India has to an extent been successful in implementing this and as I speak thousands of consultants like me are practicing and preaching the same.

For majority of Indians the term "customer service" is something we never heard of or experienced before. This is something that many of Indian customers have not been privileged enough to experience.

The incident I heard today literally put me in shame. My close acquaintance from Detroit just became a proud father of a baby boy born in India. In order to apply a passport for the kid, he needs an affidavit from Indian Consulate in US(on totally different note - Only Father of the child can apply for a passport for his underage kid, it seems passports office does not even accept mother's signature in the application..).

So, my friend calls up the Customer Service in Indian Embassy office at Chicago for details and documentation he needs to bring for getting the affidavit. One of our beloved citizen answers the friend puts forward the question and instantaneously comes the answer and also a big thud, The guy in the embassy hung up on my friend, even before he could ask another question.
My friend makes another attempt by requesting his friend to call the embassy for the same details. The same fellow pick ups and after hearing the question he says "Why are you calling me again and again?" and this time too the same thud.

I was taken aback by this incident...I started pitying all the tourists who have to go through this insult to get a glimpse of Taj Mahal in the moonlight, to see wonderful Architecture of Temples in Tamilnadu or to relax their mind at the resorts in the backwaters of Kerala.

It really made me rethink our failure in improving the tourism sector. Maybe its not the Tourism Ministry at fault after all for all these failures...Looks like the Ministry of External Affairs is taking a lead on averting the tourism from flourishing in India.

This is same country where we have mastered and excelled in the Call Center business!!!
This is the same country where we are taught the phrase "Athithi Devo Bhava" (in English - Visitors are equal to God)!!!
This is the same country where hospitality is hardcoded in every citizen's Gene map!!!

It pains to admit that I come from the land of Oxymorons!!!