Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Don't buy furniture at Big Bazaar

On Sunday afternoon, the 11th of Feb, ill fate led me to the four storeyed Big Bazaar complex on Old Madras Road, Bangalore. Primarily I wanted to buy some cheap kitchen accessories, which I did. I also saw a chest of drawers that I liked. It was not cheap compared to other furniture shops. But I thought Big Bazaar is a big outlet and therefore reliable.

I bought it, paid the amount and was told that it would be delivered only the following Sunday, 18th Feb. I agreed (a bit reluctantly, but I agreed) and was given a receipt to record that.

On 18th Feb, no delivery was made and when I called the number on the receipt, the number wasn't active. I had to drive all the way to Big Bazaar to find out what happened (Big Bazaar didn't have a phone number searchable on the internet). There, a purposeful man by the name of Girish (who introduced himself as the incharge of furniture section in Karnataka, and that he sits in the offices near Ashoka Pillar, Jayanagar) went about finding out what happened to my furniture. He let me know that, as a process, shipments were centrally done from their warehouse and fitters were sent from the Old Madras Road branch. This supply chain mechanism was not working out and he assured me that he would intervene. Promise was made to me that the furniture would reach on Monday noon.

This is Tuesday night and no furniture yet. Meanwhile a person called Arvind has called me couple of times on Monday and Tuesday. He said he was the fitter and whether the furniture package has arrived at my house for him to fit it. At least one employee in Pantaloon Retail is earning his livelihood.

This shows problems at multiple levels:

  1. The supply chain and logistics are certainly out of shape. This needs to be acknowledged and corrected.
  2. The employees need to project a positive image. Mr Girish and cohort's hand wringing and cursing of the central warehouse didn't glorify them in my eyes. it only showed that they have very poor, if any, training on customer handling. Compare this with Walmart's famed approach towards staff training.
  3. The customer service numbers printed wrongly on receipt, absence of searchable information on internet (which shows up on Google) reflects a lack of understanding how to position the brand for the customer. How to generate a sense of reliability and solidity.
  4. The fact that the fitter called me directly multiple times instead of being able to access an IT system (if not be proactively assigned by an IT system) to figure out where deliveries have been made shows that there is no infrastructure to support the much touted growth plans. Okay, if not an IT system, what prevented the fitter to find this our from the delivery person. A total breakdown of processes.

If Big Bazaar has a thriving business now, it is because it if first on the block. But these instances will prevent it from building customer loyalty. Once Walmart and Reliance are in business, customers will just switch over.

Is Pantaloon Retail taking notice. I fear not.


Anonymous said...

I've also had a bad experience - Big Bazaar ITPL. Problem with delivery and fitter. Was dealing with a person Anil Kumar in the furnitures section. Will blindly commit to a date...

Raghavan said...

Could not agree more with Chandradip. Big Bazaar (Pantaloon Retail) has strategized itself with a very very short term vision. Customer care is a word unknown to some that are a part of the chain. I have had a similar experience while buying an AC from their Chennai outlet. Awaiting its delivery yet, despite paying the amount in full a few days ago !!!