Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where is the professionalism?

I've gotten used to people knowing their stuff in the US. From personal trainers to dog walkers to house cleaners, most people know the ins-and-outs of their business and will confidently answer questions. In the process, they also educate you. In short, you come out of a conversation in the US feeling productive. 

In India, it shocks me how irresponsible professionals can be. I walked into SBI on some personal business recently. I took a seat with the nearest teller. The lady was busy writing something in a ledger. I waited for some sign of acknowledgement or welcome. None was forthcoming. She looked up, nodded, started sipping some tea and talked to her colleague next door.

After about 5 minutes, I was asked what I wanted. I told her and her first response was, 

"Last week, another NRI asked the same thing. We simply can't do that because we don't have the originating bank info."

"I transferred electronically. Surely the bank will have some means of tracking it down?"

"Last week, this lady asked the same thing. Not possible."

"What information do you need? I will provide it."

"Do you have the originating bank info?"

"Yes, I'll write it down"

"We can't do this."

I was getting exasperated by how this idiot lady was hung up on the problem, not the solution. I finally had to barge in on the manager, who helped me out. 

All this leads me to wonder:

1. How does this poor bank manager deal with daily work life with such stupid underlings? 
2. How does any business get transacted given this babu mentality?
3. When is customer service going to become more than lip service? 
4. Is there no pride in the job one is doing?

I am not one of those NRIs that constantly crib about India. But, as a working professional myself, it shocks me that people could work in an industry for years and not be able to grasp the basics of their job. Sigh. 


expertdabbler said...

I would categorize customer focus and professionalism in India into two categories: govt/public sector and private sector

SBI, I would rate SBI higher than other public sector banks..a good percentage of these folks know to get the job done for people known to them...for e.g. the employees will avail cheaper educational loans for themselves and for people known to them, or from whom they need a favor.

Relationship building, buying them coffee, keeping them in good books etc are important for them.

Next time, Try changing the name in property tax records, EB, getting a patta for your property will have to 'service' the govt employee. You will have to do detective work to find out where to start, how the system works officially.

Private sector customer service is different in the sense - for routine issues, you will get a prompt response, for issues unforeseen by the staff, no one will pick your call, people will try to pass the buck, false promises will be given etc.

vinodhsen said...

there is no customer service mentality in india. but you are indian citizen only right ?. are you not used to this earlier. its sad that after going to usa you write this :-(.