Post transaction dissonance

I recently attempted to make a purchase on a baby products website It was quite harrowing and hence just felt like documenting it. And also comparing this failed transaction with a competitive website

The arrival of #SidNanda (as my 6-month old son is referred to on Twitter) has heralded many changes at home and after a couple of falls, we decided to give him a safe place to sleep. We zeroed in on Hauck made crib / travel cot. Being Indian, we looked for the best deal and found it on The site quoted the price as INR.4,425/- and when I was making the purchase, I was offered a further discount and the credit card was charged only for INR.4,335/-. Happiness… thus far!

Let Baby Play Order

Let Baby Play Order

I got a mail as promised. But the merchandise which was to reach in 5 days didn’t. The website quotes a mobile number as ‘customer care’. I did call the number of the 3rd and the 4th day to find out status of the delivery, just to find out if the material has left Delhi. The call was picked by a girl who couldn’t speak English to save her life and Hindi wasn’t much help either because I figured that her knowledge about the product or the service was at its nadir.

After a bit of hollering, I got a mail from ‘Aditya Agarwal’ stating that the purchase made on the site has been cancelled. No reason quoted!

I called the number again and insisted on speaking with Aditya and during that conversation, I figured that they couldn’t manage to get the merchandise from the distributor. Obviously, they were operating on a no-material-on-site policy. No warehouse, no stocks and all purchases were being serviced on a transaction basis. Fail whale alert!

He was polite though and confirmed to me that he has not charged the credit card company and promptly reimbursed the funds that were charged to my card. The best part of the transaction undeniably!

Cut to

Smooth transaction. Call center was actually a call center. They called back to confirm the purchase. The cost of the same product was INR.4,425/-, which wasn’t different from the earlier site. And I actually got the material at home on T+2 basis.

Note: I have no financial or material interests with First Cry. I just am a satisfied customer having dealt with them once.

Some points:

  • An online business model MUST have a workable support system offline. Without warehousing facilities, expecting to operate purely on JIT basis is not a workable solution in India at least.
  • Customer care: Key in today’s world. We are great at bad mouthing. I am doing just that here and bad WOM is nothing short of murder for the brand. is almost dead for me at least. The discussions with the lady carrying the customer care mobile left me perplexed after having swiped 4K plus.
  • Size does matter (sometimes at least): LBP was entirely relying on suppliers and merely a platform. If that was the case, the link-up between the suppliers and the site should have been stronger. To manage this with greater control, one needs to have a slightly larger team of people with proper line-of-command. LBP seemed to be a one-man-operation.
  • Site control: If a product is not available offline, then there must have been better controls to take it off the website. By further downpricing the product which is non-existent, one is digging his own grave… faster.
  • The site also talks about ‘express delivery’ – a service which was non-existent. Why have it in the first place if the service is not provided?

Customer is key / king, is the motto of many organizations at least on paper. But to live it is another.

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