Customer Apathy

It was time to meet one of Meghana's classmate - Deven - while we were in Bengaluru. We decided to meet at CCD in Jayanagar. The store was easy to find and nicely located on a first floor at a junction. When we entered the store was almost full except for 2-3 tables. We occupied one that was comfortable enough for three and close to the main door so that Deven could locate us very easily.

Within few minutes Deven reached and we got involved in conversations varying from Meghana's school to Deven's profession (Merchant Navy) and shopping in Bengaluru and many others. In due course, we ordered some coffee and snacks for ourselves. While enjoying those snacks, something very weird happened.

Suddenly two kids - one boy and a girl - entered the store. No, they were not customers. Each of them started approaching every table and started begging. Being very close to the main door, we were the first ones to be approached. The boy was not so persistent and at a wave of a hand he proceeded to the next table. I was shocked and was looking at the counter for someone to chip in and stop this begging inside the store. Two of the staff members chose to ignore and continued to pretend to be busy. I shrugged. 

However, in couple of minutes, the other kid - who was slightly younger than the boy, approached our table and started begging. Even after ignoring for few seconds, she didn't budge. All three of us were getting annoyed with this distraction and I decided to make noise. When I called out for the store staff, it was difficult for those guys to continue to be ignorant and then one of them rushed to call the security guy, other person was trying to get those two kids out of the store. After a minute or so, the store manager approached us and started giving explanation that the security guy wasn't at his place and that's why those two beggars could get in. 

I told him that is something you can fix with the security guy, but I was more annoyed by the ignorance of your own staff. He started defending the staff stating even they didn't see it. Now this was a complete lie. I was sitting on the table facing the store counter and had seen two of them seeing all this happen. He adamantly kept on stating that his staff was oblivious to the entry of those beggars. After exchange of couple of harsh rounds, he changed the stance saying his staff may have seen it, but he wasn't aware. Now this was getting very ridiculous. I put up a simple argument - if your staff had seen it, why couldn't they simply inform you to take some action. This left him speechless and chose to not say anything and left the table. 

While I do not want to comment on the begging issue, I certainly wasn't happy about customers getting annoyed at a place like CCD. If you get into something like this at a roadside restaurant, even their the staff helps you get rid of similar situation. This all looked like that the staff was used to beggars coming in the store. If that is the case, it is even more horrible. 

In past, I had wrote about improved customer service and this instance was quite contrary to my experience so far. 

My experience in CCD's in Pune is quite good specially the one at Paud Road, Nal Stop and Dahanukar Colony, which I have visited frequently in recent past. All three of these store are bang on the busy road and not a single time I have seen any such incidence. 

If the incidence in Jayanagar CCD was not a common scenario, in that case, the staff was completely unprepared to handle situation like this. Even if this is accepted as an argument, question arises - isn't it a common instinct to protect your customer's interest? This was complete apathy towards the customers and the store manager himself added to the apathy. Bad for him and his staff if they choose not to learn from this experience.

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