If you have been reading my previous posts since I landed in India, you may have already made up your mind that I am out to bash India. But trust me; I love this place for more reasons than one. For e.g. you get services at your doorstep that you otherwise wouldn’t anywhere else in the world and with the kind of customer service satisfaction that most PR corporate departments would kill for. I got up today feeling extremely lazy and a head full of hair that seems to have caught Gabby’s attention. I badly needed a haircut and like all desis on their way home to India, I kept it off for Pakya to do his magic. But my Panvel frustration didn’t inspire me to venture out. So here I was all ready to head out in the morning. My aunt looked at me strangely and told me to stay put and said, she was calling the barber home. I couldn’t believe her.
Within an hour, the barber was setting up shop outside our door in the building hallway. Thankfully, this is the top floor so I wouldn’t get any weird looks. The barber had come fully prepared and just wanted a bowl of hot water. I remembered the clichéd childbirth scenes in
Bollywood movies where the midwife asks for garam paani before shutting the door (Ok, I have seen too many Bollywood movies). Anyway, I was sure he wasn’t going to splash that water in the wrong places so I just sat back. Of course, I must have been quite a sight sitting in the hallway draped in the white sheet around my neck like a huge bib and the barber going to town with his clippers. The barber was not only quick but also gave me one of the best haircuts in a long time; definitely much better than the ones I get at Great Clips or Hair Cuttery. To make it better, he also gave me a traditional ustra shave — a real close one, I must add. Finally, when it came time to pay him, he charged me a mere Rs.30. I was blown away –a haircut, a shave and best of it, right there at your doorstep. I couldn’t help but convert it to US dollars; 75 cents. Damn! I shell out $15 for a half baked almost-nibbled out haircut in the US. Of course, I couldn’t help but offer him a big fat tip. He almost wanted to fall at my feet for the tip. An efficient service should be rewarded as much as poor service should be condemned.
This is just one of the household services you get right at your doorstep. My mom calls the fisherwoman (on her cell phone!) and she delivers fresh fish within the hour. Same goes for some select vegetable sellers. My cousin gets VCDs (pirated, of course) delivered right at her door and actually admonishes them if they didn’t turn up even though we weren’t at home when she called them. The repairman from the local Philips showroom dropped in today to fix the newly-bought stereo and ended up admonishing my poor cousin for playing pirated audio CDs but eventually fixed it. Of course, any kind of food delivery is just stating the obvious but that is not too different from the US, is it? However, the thing I love about home delivery in India is the
personal touch that the delivery people bring to the service and that is the essential difference. You ask him about his kids and other jobs that he might be doing. The delivery cost of course isn’t too much either (due to ample labor supply) and actually provides employment and
an enhanced customer service delivery mechanism.
Any more home-service examples you would like to share?