A similar drama unfolded last week while trying to sign Tina up for a demat account for online trading. An ICICI bank salesperson named Ranjit Singh from their Thakur Village branch immediately initiated the process of setting up an account etc. We were about to leave for Singapore, and were keen that the account be up and running, so that we could act on some tips and invest. Amazingly, this guy would call back every day with some or the other requirement that he had forgotten to mention to us, which kept delaying the process!! This document, that original etc etc. And of course his goal was only to claim a commission on starting a new account before 31st March! Needless to say we never heard from him since, despite promises that he would courier the documents to us, “Even if you are in America, sir!” It was only yesterday, a full 22 days later, that the account was activated; meanwhile, that tip we had — the shares rose 50%, which means that we cd have doubled our money! In all fairness, I must say that the ICICI Direct representative who ran us through the activation process, Lalit Sharma, was as efficient as he was courteous, and did much to repair the damage that the inept before him had caused.
I feel that we lack in the training department. For instance, in a country like South Africa, there is so much emphasis in the corporate sector to constantly upgrade the skills of workers at this level; not to mention countries like Japan and Singapore, where the entire consumer experience is made so pleasant and addictive that one becomes a loyal customer for life. In India its still as though the salesperson is doing you a favour by serving you, and is not bothered to learn the basics of his/her job. Also, more than consumer redressal, I feel that consumer education is the need of the day.
I don’t want this blog to turn into a repository of rants against “the system” but I do feel that we could share tips which could help all of us be smarter consumers. What do you say?