In an interview to ET, Flipkart’s advertising head said that Amazon copied Flipkart’s innovations. From Big Billion Days to exchange offers. In his own words,” They copy everything, or they wait for someone from somewhere to tell them what to do. Just by pouring money into the market you cannot get anywhere.”
I am not going to highlight the obvious irony of Flipkart copying the whole business model of Amazon, down to its GoToMarket strategy and products such as MP3 and eBook store. In fact, I am ready to buy their BS and accept that Amazon is copying them. I just want to request the innovators (read Flipkart) to please copy Amazon in a thing or two. Okay, not two, just one – customer service.
Customer service as a practice sucks in our country. Ola and Flipkart, both of them were fairly successful in India when Uber and Amazon came, ‘copied’ and conquered their market. Both on the basis of the level of service.
I shop online. Exclusively. There are many reasons to it – my laziness, poor bargaining skills and impatience are the top 3. I may be an immensely non-significant but rather vocal advocate of online shopping. Given my affinity, I have had plenty of transactions, fights, resolutions and cancellations with almost all major shopping websites. I will narrate one of each with Flipkart and Amazon.
Somewhere in June 2015, I ordered a phone for my brother. He was going to college and a rather decent one, so I thought he had earned it and ordered a nice smartphone for him.
At that time, he was in Patna. Patna as a city has been still in time in terms of growth, infrastructure and hence services. Couriers are generally delayed or take double as time for any other capital city of India.
I, like every one of us has a habit of tracking the order daily. When the delivery date was near, I started checking it every couple of hours. One day before the deadline, my brother got a message that the shipment was out for delivery. He started waiting, eagerly. You can understand the eagerness of a kid who is waiting for his first smartphone.
Well, the order was not delivered that day.
The next day, he had his train leaving at 7 in the evening. He was sad. I assured him not to worry and it will get delivered in the first half, next day.
The next day came and till 12 PM, there was no sign of delivery or any intimation of sorts. I logged on to my Amazon account and started chatting with one of the customer care guys. I narrated the whole issue and the guy asked for a 5-minute window to figure things out on his side. He came back and said – Sir, don’t worry, I make you a personal promise that no matter what, your order will be delivered before 4 PM today.
And it did. At 3.45, the delivery guy was at the doorsteps.
Now, it’s Flipkart’s turn.
I ordered a LeEco L1s, a mobile handset from Flipkart. The order got accepted and I was allotted a delivery date of 28-30th December 2016. I was again on my Order Tracking Routine. I clicked on the Track Order button everyday. Nothing changed. I thought they must know their shit and let them do it. Then Christmas passed and then 26th and then 27th. The order flow wasn’t moving at all. I thought to nudge the Flipkart guys a little. So, I wrote a mail to the customer care, very similar to this tweet of mine:
In reply, they were considerate enough to politely tell me to STFU and pay for one-day delivery if you want your fuckin phone faster. Read:
For the people who understand customer service, I think these examples are more than enough to judge which company values its customers more. In the end, Flipkart failed on its promise again and left me wondering why I ordered something from them in the first place. Maybe because of the exclusive launch of the phone, may be I was just gullible enough.
I am still ready to buy Flipkart’s BS that Amazon is copying them. Be happy about it, mimicry is the highest form of flattery. And in case, just in case, your ego doesn’t come in between of things, try to copy Amazon for its customer service, if nothing else.