Moving a tread mill and some lessons in professionalism.

When it comes to private service sector in Bangalore customer satisfaction is an unknown term. There are very few dependable service providers and most of those are themselves dependent upon unprofessional providers down the chain. Following are some experiences I had when I had to transport a tread mill from Bangalore to Hyderabad recently and some learnings.

Case 1: ANZ packers and movers. Very polite and mannerly in communication. Sound very earnest. After the first call, I really felt fortunate to have stumbled upon such a provider, almost confident that my work will get done without any hassle. The price they quoted was also pretty competitive. However, my joy did not last long. They never confirmed my booking. I had to follow up with them frequently to find out if they are willing to take my stuff or not. Every time they would make some excuse. The concerned person is not yet available, we’ll get back to you with the details soon etc. All very politely. They also said that the package will reach only the week after as they can’t transport a single object. I could understand that. Despite all that they could not take my booking. I finally gave up.

Case 2: Agarwal packers and movers. This was a really pathetic experience. When I call up, the executive tells me that it would take Rs. 4500 to pack and transport. That was unreasonable. ANZ had quoted 2,500. When I negotiated she said she would check with her manager and I should call her in 5 mins. I call back. This time some other person answers and quotes Rs. 6600!. It was not difficult to realize I should drop the call.

Case 3: Deccan 360. I had a good experience with them before when I transported a TV set. But they are only movers and would not pack stuff for me. After experiencing the other two I thought let me try breaking up the need. I’ll figure out how to do the packing. They quoted approximately Rs. 1300 for a door to door transport (It turned out to be Rs. 1500 but that was ok). I confirmed the booking. The process was quiet smooth. They also charged objectively based on the volumetric weight instead of quoting out of the blue (6,600!)

Case 4: JD packers. They only pack. They won’t move stuff. I call the proprietor. He quotes Rs. 1500 for just packing. I already had the carton. He just had to seal the case. I said thank you and held the phone. Any point negotiating with such providers?

Finally, I spent Rs. 100 on packing material, spent not more than 2 hours and did the packing myself. Deccan 360 picked up my package and hopefully it will be delivered on time and intact.

There were few things to learn (for being a successful service provider) from the above cases:

1. Avoid short-cuts. Give a second thought to your decisions. Agarwal packers and movers must have thought if I get trapped they would get a good profit. If I don’t they don’t loose much. But that’s a really short-sighted conclusion. You have lost a customer forever, my friend! You have failed to hire a marketing professional who would be happy to work for you free of cost. Did you even do the math how much you saved there? You did not even consider the fact that I am not moving my entire house. I am still in Bangalore and a prospective returning customer. Next time I could come with a bigger request.

2. Unprofessional partners can bring your business down. Deccan 360 seems to partner with a local transport service for the package pickup from customer’s place to their store. Deccan’s executive would first come and register the package and collect the payment. The pickup truck comes after that. In my case, the executive had to literally beg the pickup truck driver to reach my place on time. It was just a 15 min. drive from their store to my house. Thankfully, the executive managed to persuade the driver and I was saved (I had to go somewhere in couple of hours). You almost lost good will even after being professional yourself. The customer has no idea you had partnered with an unprofessional guy and should be prepared for hick ups.

3. It is waste of time being polite and sound professional if you can’t fulfil the customer’s requirement. Better you communicate clearly and honestly. I would still comeback to you later if my requirement matched your capabilities and your intentions. That’s a fair deal.