What a month in Gurgaon can teach you? Thanks to CocoBerry, Domino’s and Airtel

We have been moving around lately. After spending few years in London we moved back to India and found ourselves jobs in the communications industry in Delhi. Dwarka seemed like quite a spot to live in and we called it a home until recently when we decided to move to Gurgaon to be closer to our offices (and not spend long hours at the Gurgaon toll) and that’s when all the hell broke loose.

The Starters- Week 1

We moved on June 29 , 2013 in an unfurnished apartment and decided to order for an air conditioner. Cheque was delivered and so was the air conditioner to our apartment which is on the second floor with no lift to it. However, the dealer and his people refused to have it installed and for 48 hours kept debating about its mechanics. Their favourite reason- “The stairs are too narrow and badly made.”

Okie. We cancelled it and after lot’s of argument our cheque was returned. We ordered from Croma that very day and they had it delivered the next day. All this while I had started to believe that stairs had a mind of their own and have been narrowing down ever since we shifted our double beds and a refrigerator to the second floor.

Croma

1 minute and 30seconds, is all it took for the two Croma guys to lift it up to the second floor and have it unwrapped.

I love my stairs- it’s a good exercise excuse!!

Reason for this behavior from sources at the company- “dealer wasn’t happy with the commission he was getting from the company. So, it’s okie for him to throw tantrums”

Advise: Always keep an old fashioned cooler nearby. It might make it humid but you won’t die of dehydration by excessive sweating.

The Main Course: Week 2

We were hungry and decided to order Domino’s. That’s my favourite any time of the day, so we went ahead and ordered online and they delivered too- Well, almost!

The delivery guys called us to say, “Mere pass app ka order hain and main 0.5 km door hoon but hum aapke location pe deliver nahi karta hain. Main wapas jaa raha hoon.”

Domino's pizza

Now can you beat that!

Domino's Pizza Confirmation

Domino’s Pizza confirmation that was never delivered

That started the endless calls between their sector 29 store and DLF store. Each claiming that the other store  has the mandate to deliver.

They ordered us to “pay in cash and only then they can deliver and we will get a refund. Just wait for the SMS with details.”

No SMS came. Calls were being hanged up. Rude people shouting from the other end. During this I tweeted to Domino’s handle. Thought they would say a hi at least.

Finally sec 29 store guy said you will get the refund in 7 days. DLF store manager said “it will take 14 days”. Sec 29 said wait for the SMS cancellation confirmation and then I can pay cash once it gets delivered. I agreed, way to go.

DLF store said we don’t send such cancellation SMS’s.

Finally, we agreed to pay cash once DLF store manager confirmed that we will get the refund. YIPPIE!!!

We kept waiting. No pizza was delivered!!!!

I am no longer  sure about the refund either.

Advise: Frozen parathnas always save the day. Stock them to full while in Gurgaon or even traveling through it.

The Entertainment: Week 3

Well, every one needs an internet connection. We applied for one through Airtel. Their executive Sunil (9717127829) came and we finalized the plan. 14 day free trial and free WIFI router was a super add on.  Rs 500 was paid as advance and receipt taken.

This was July 13, 2013.

No one bothered to come back after that. On July 22, I called back on the mobile number but it was switched off. Finally, I called the landline (0124-4030040) through which I had got in touch with them initially. That’s the reply I got each time I called:

Complaint on Airtel India's Fb page

Complaint on Airtel India’s Fb page (click to enlarge)

Call 1: “Let me check the details and we will call you in 5 mins”

Call 2: “Let me check the details and we will call you in 5- 10 mins”

Call 3: “Let me check the details and YOU can call me in 5-6 mins”

After nearly 5 hours (not 5 mins) when nothing seemed to move, I asked for their manager – SHIV (9717197282). That’s the reply I got:

Call 1: “Let me check the details and YOU can call me in 5-6 mins

Call 2: “Let me check the details and we will call you in 5- 10 mins

FInally, I was told I can’t be given the 4 mbps plan that I had paid the advance for as that is not feasible in the area I live in.

“Didn’t you check it before you took the advance from me?” I asked.

Reply: “You gave the advance to Sunil. I am not responsible for him. It’s my closing time and I am very busy. We can have 2mpbs installed if you still want it”

I said Yes.

48 hours later and all of Airtel went into radio silence once again. I called again.

Reply:  “Actually, we can’t give 2mbps either.  We will give the refund by tomorrow please SMS me your address”

SMS sent. No refund yet (Aug 2, 2013 and counting).

Here is how the complaint on their Facebook page is dealt with. (snapshot above)

Advise: Don’t bring work at home and you won’t need an internet connection. Internet connection is for the losers 🙂

The Dessert: Week 4

Well, thanks to Coco Berry (Galleria Market, Gurgaon) we had a wonderful one on Saturday- July 27, 2013.  Also,  wife’s purse went missing from their outlet. It’s a gated outlet with very few customers.  How is that possible?

Is it Gurgaon or just us?

cocoberry

cocoberry

The manager Hem Raj (9971201219) helped us find the nearest PCR van. The policeman there Harish Chandra (impressive name, ehh?) gave us a lecture on deteriorating social structure and directed us to nearest Police station of sector 29. He though did not even bother to leave the comfort of his PCR van and do something (anything?). The final advise from him –

“Kissi pe shaq ho ya kuch pata chale toh batana main zarur kaarwayi karunga”

Hilarious or ridiculous!!!!

Hem Raj was in a jolly good mood as always and couldn’t stop smiling all this while.

SMILE Please. Cocoberry

“We don’t have a CCTV footage, it’s all recorded in the head office” *SMILE* “Monday ko milegi” *SMILE*

So we left for the police station, narrated our story and the policeman incharge Jitender along with one more promptly agreed to come on the scene of the crime. Impressive, we thought.

Though both of them had interesting observations to make while on the way and we started to wonder if their promptness is worth anything.

Few employees of Coco Berry were interrogated on the spot and then we were asked to come back to the Police station and showered  with the final suggestions from Jitender

“FIR darj karogei toh mushkil main pad jaaogei. Soch lo. Hamei pratical karne do.  App dono shaadi shuda ho kya, lagte toh nahi.  App inke sath kyun aaye ho. Friend ho kya?”

“App ke sath hi nahi , hamare sath bhi aisa kai baar ho chukka hain. Zamana bada kharab hain”

“FIR darj kar k kya karogei, hamein pratical investigation karne do”

“Galti aap dono ki hi hain waise toh”

P.R.A.C.T.I.C.A.L

(what does that mean as far as Indian Penal code is concerned? Any experts out there?)

Well, back at sector 29 police station it was time for practical. He disappeared handing a piece of paper to another policeman- {Hari Chand or Nek chand, can’t seem to remember. Let’s assume HC for now). Now this guys was baffled at what had happened and his set of questions started.

“Mujhey toh pata hi nahi hain ki kya hua hain. Poora samjhaao”

“Galti toh aap dono ki hi hain”

“FIR mat karo, missing documents ki darj kar do”

After a 3 hour long wait some paper work started and for that he took us from the main reception which had not seen any working bulbs to his residential quarter (within the compound).

Well, talk about working from home and this lad had all the comfort!

While another police man sprawled on the bed. He started asking questions to two of the CocoBerry employees who were summoned. The Manager Hem Raj was there too and so was his *SMILE*. He loved to drop names of policemen he knows and that seemed to have some magical affect on  HC.

They were let go for the time being and the CCTV CocoBerry footage was awaited.

He quickly wrote the report of all the missing items in the purse- RC for the car, PAN, Driving License, Jewellery….. STOP

“Jo likhna hain likh do,  agar pehle kabhi kuch chori hua hain toh woh bhi but hum paise aur gehno ki report nahi likhte hain.”  (write whatever missing documents you want to report but we don’t file FIR for jewellery or money theft).

Of course, you are Gurgaon Police. How can you?

Had he agreed I would have reported Kohinoor missing as well, I thought. What an opportunity missed?

So the lost document report was done sans the jewellery and money.  We didn’t see a point arguing with him. That would have meant spending even more hours there. He dictated in Hindi/Haryanvi and I wrote in English. He wanted me to write “losted FIR” mentioning  “Khaana Khaa rahe thei at the dukaan.”

Premature advice: Not easy to explain what a frozen yogurt is to a  Gurgaon policeman and the difference between a  dessert and the main course. Especially when you have to narrate the same story to 3-4 of them. Here is the recipe in case you end up in a similar situation – http://www.refinery29.com/frozen-yogurt-recipe

The Real Dessert Story- COCO Berry style

Starts here.

On Monday they never called with the CCTV footage details. When I enquired they said (not to mention with a *SMILE*),

“we don’t have it recorded for a week.. …wait, no it was a glitch on that day only between 5:10 to 5:35PM… I am  not authorized to share any more details.. contact Bhupinder Satija our area manager”

Well, may be I was expecting too much from  a reputed company like Coco Berry.  No one expects them to have armed guards outside their outlets (even though it’s Gurgaon), however, the least they could have done is to keep their CCTV’s in the working condition or at least share a believable excuse.

Will they compensate? I doubt. An apology, highly unlikely considering that they haven’t even bothered to follow through since the incident. And of course their manager “knows people” so why bother.

It’s ironic that other than the documents in the purse we also lost one of the wedding rings. The pair of identical ones we gifted each other for our engagement some time back. To top it all it’s no where even mentioned in the FIR and Coco Berry doesn’t even gives a damn (and yes, a bucket full of frozen yogurt in case they try to offer as apology isn’t acceptable anymore).

Advise: Don’t bother raising your red flag and shouting slogans for your rights. No one cares. I have given up!

Welcome to India 🙂

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Facebook and businesses?

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface

Image via Wikipedia

Follow up of Making your Boss Understand the Fuss about Facebook

So coming back to the point about why companies are on Fb?: Because people/target audience are here and they are more real-life here than they have ever been with any other medium. It has taken the shape of a mass aggregation of social units each with life of their own, connecting with other units. The prominent factor here is that these users have chosen to be Fb and have not been lured by some marketing gimmick.

And once they are here the relationships they form with companies or other users are as good as it would have been in a real life scenario. So a ‘like’ or recommendation here is easily identifiable by the community providing a proof of company’s worthiness.

Companies and Facebook: Why? Companies can set up pages on Facebook for free. It’s an address of their identity on a site. Let me explain considering the example of ‘global village’, a company own a cottage in the village just like their competitors and other users. But this is the only village where people like to live out of their own will even though there are other villages nearby. So would it make sense living in another village where no one comes and does business?

Is the Facebook address an alternative to official websites? No, it is not an alternative but just an acceptance of the fact that the company is responsive to its customers’ needs. People on the network talk about the company when they are happy with their services or even otherwise. So it makes sense to be there and interact with them. However, one should understand that all data (pictures, text, conversations etc) on Facebook is governed by Fb’s rules and regulation. Being a social network it is safe to assume that all of its is in public domain, however, Fb has the right to alter its policy as it has done in the past which could have impact on company’s Fb page jeopardising the huge investment of time and money in supporting it.

Is having a Fb page for your company the new form of advertising? Yes and no. Yes because having a company page would mean users or your community would be able to find you easily and connect with your message. But then they would act and react to that message, which is not only shared with the company but with the whole community at the same time. So the message becomes participatory at that very instant, and the user/community and the company become equal participants on a level playing field. This has implications for customer service, brand management and virtually for every other department of the company.

Does having a Facebook address mean that you have arrived? No, Fb won’t work for your company if it is used as any other mass communication medium where the information is just pushed at end users. Unless a strategy bound interaction based approach is used being on Fb would be futile.

Would websites become obsolete? No, websites are here to stay for a long time to come. What makes a website obsolete in real terms is the lack of interaction with end users. Unless the website is optimised for social users (social media optimisation) it is of no use as it adheres to the one-way flow of communication model.