A mistake that most people make when they read Drucker’s quote is to treat both as mutually exclusive. They are not. Both are vital in all aspects of life, particularly, when it comes to customer service.
I placed an online order for some Deepavali goodies on the 16th inst. On the 18th, I received a text message to the effect that the goods had been shipped on the 17th and gave me a tracking number. I had been tracking the parcel from the 18th online and finally got fed up and the outcome was this story given below.
This letter that I wrote to the Head Office of a large courier company in India earlier this week cannot be any more lucid.
“Your Yerwada Pune office, which I presume is a franchisee is the most unprofessional commercial establishment that I have come across.
I get many parcels through many courier companies and have not had the few experiences that i have had with your Yerwada branch. So much so that I have requested my contacts in the South of India not to use your services to send any thing to me.
The latest instance refers to tracking number XXXXXXXXX.
The parcel reached your Yerwada office on the 18th of October and till yesterday was not delivered to me. With great difficulty, I found their telephone number and rang them up to enquire when one Mr. Isaac was most inefficient in his responses and I finally had to send someone personally to collect the parcel from your Yerwada office. That person found three men there very clearly under the influence of alcohol.
The parcel was opened and it was clear that attempts had been made to see what was packed inside. Luckily despite damaging the plastic outer over of a box, nothing was stolen though the last time the same sender had sent me some edible stuff one packet was stolen.
I am disgusted. I have informed this sender also not to use your services to send anything to people in Pune.”
Let me explain the concepts involved vis a vis Drucker;
The vendor shipped properly and on time and having arranged to inform me about the shipment, washed his hands off the matter as there was no follow up to ensure that the goods were delivered on time for the Deepavali celebrations. He was efficient but not effective. Why not effective? He also shut down his shop for Deepavali and no one would answer the phone and even emails to him were bouncing.
Let us now come to the Courier company. They accepted the parcel, duly entered the details in their online system to enable the recipient or sender to track the parcel. All along the way, the system was updated as the parcel changed hands and offices. The courier company was efficient till now but became ineffective when they did not catch the parcel not being despatched on the 18th inst, or even the 19th from their Pune office.
I however think that I was effective in writing to the Corporate Head Office and I am rather surprised at their response. Within a few minutes of sending the mail, I got a copy of the mail that they sent from their corporate head office to their Regional Head Office in Mumbai reading as follows:
“Urgently find the below complaint and do the needful.”
The language is typically Indian English and let us give allowance for that and accept that the CHO has done the thing right and also the efficient thing. They have kept the reporting structure intact and kept the customer informed on the action taken. Have they been effective? No. Nothing further has happened as I write this blog post. I will now become efficient and hopefully effective by sending a reminder to the Head Office every day, till I get a resolution to this poor customer service.
I shall also be writing to the vendor that I shall not place any orders on him unless he changes the courier and would follow up till I get a commitment from him. If I cannot succeed in that endeavour, I shall simply find another vendor.