Thursday, November 1, 2007

Start with denial

Visited a not so small bookstore in my neighborhood today . We sometimes buy office supplies from this store . The store labels all products for barcode and price . The labels they use have adhesive that could bond wood to steel . When taken off or rather when one attempts to take them off one of the following consequences is guaranteed :
- the base material (if paper) gets torn
- if it does get removed it leaves a clear mark to 'mark' it's presence
- the label gets only partially removed
( products spared this fate are those where the price tag is on the external packaging which is to be discarded on purchase )
A few times my colleague and me have mentioned about this problem to store staff . There has been no change whatsoever . Like a lot of retail stores it is highly possible that the person who receives the feedback does not do much about it . More likely that there is no mechanism for feedback to be solicited and acted upon .
Today , I requested to speak with the Manager of the store . Met the manager and mentioned to him about this persistent problem with the labels. His response was to first say that 'it's not a problem ' . When I insisted it was - the response changed to ' all labels are like that ' implying that there's not much he can do about it . I explained to him that this is not the case with other book stores . Then he said something to the effect that they are or will experiment to change the label quality . No apology , no attempt to understand the inconvenience caused by this seemingly small problem . This entire exchange was extremely courteous .
This evoked a sense of deja vu . A large number of companies (B2B and B2C) function this way when faced with a complaint from a customer. Start with denial and move to rationalising it if the denial does not do away with the complaint . All along be polite , courteous .And as the consumer walks out of the store proceed to protect and perpetuate status quo through inaction .


sunlit sapling said...

“The labels they use have adhesive that could bond wood to steel”
I am in splits...LOL
I so agree with your observation, the labels are inseparable from the books, like an umbilical chord that can't be severed.

About Denials - they are ingrained in the Indian psyche. Deny what you cannot or will not fix.

The new version of gandhiji ke teen bandar should be -
Bura mat suno, bura mat dekho,
aur agar galti se kuch bura dekh ya sun liya to Chup Baitho


denial is our birth right which i shall pass it on to the next generation..