Bhoo wears the thinking cap!

As if that is possible!

Customer service in India

Posted by bhoo on December 11, 2008

My dad forwarded me this comment in India currents.

It is almost always assumed that customer service in India is inferior. 

Tamil:  Vaadikkaiyaalar sevai.  Hindi:  Grihak Seva.  In fact, I have seen in many many banks and commercial establishments – a famous write-up from Gandhi about customer service, how customer is the most important person to visit, etc.


I have a different opinion on this:  I think Indians are not ready to pay for customer service and pay a premium.  I have operated in India market, and have sold to USA market for so long, and I know how Indian corporate and consumers want the cheapest, with some compromises.  I know how we make choices of grocery stores – go and stand in the line, and be ready to take hardships for saving a few bucks, in comparison to shopping in FoodWorld or Nilgiri’s. 


I cannot overwhelmingly call it as an “Indian” thing either.  I know how WalMart here in the USA is more popular than Target, or how very few people are ready to spend the extra money for going to Bloomingdales as opposed to Macys.  In both these cases, customers choose to receive lesser customer service in return for better price.  I know how small the first class cabin is in flights compared to the cattle class, and I know how bad the cattle class in the USA is compared to Indian Economy class in flights.  I do not know if you all know, but recently there was a stampede in Walmart on the Black Friday for getting  a deal!  I know that ecommerce sales – with very less customer service – is striving in the USA because of cheaper prices.


Overall, the compromise is between price and customer service, and you get what you pay for.  I think India generally does not want to pay more for better customer service.


One Response to “Customer service in India”

  1. Hi Bhoo,

    I came across your blog as I was generally searching google…not sure what key-word directed me to your blog.

    What you say was true 10 years back. But having turned the clock 10 years later, expectations from consumers / customers have defintely risen; people willing to pay that extra dime for a better customer service. Examples include ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel, to name a few – leave alone the MNCs….

    I have worked in US for about 6 years and have a feel of the ambience in both the places.

    What India lacks in customer service are your government services….passport offices, DMV’s, post offices etc…

    Any educated youth in India is willing to pay double or triple if he/she could walk into a RTO and get a drivers’ license in a professional and ethical way, like what you do in US.

    Would I pay three times the current fees if I can walk into a decently maintained office, treated with due respects and apply for a passport? like what you do in the US at a post office? – Yes, I would gladly.

    I think the issue in India is that people lack respect towards fellow citizens and that reflects clearly on all facets of business….customer service is a victim of that.

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