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Old 5th March 2013, 23:44   #1
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Default An encounter with Popular Bajaj Service Centre, Cochin

At the onset, I would like to clarify that this is not intended to merely smear blame on any individual. The intention is to point out a few disheartening facts that prevail currently in the Service Operations of Popular Bajaj.A recent incident eroded a large part of my trust on Popular as a service-oriented organisation.

On Friday, February 22, 2013, I went to Popular Bajaj Authorised Service centre,Kakkanad,Cochin,Kerala with my 2005 Pulsar, which had a rusty and leaking petrol tank. Of course, I had rang up the lady at the Service Centre earlier and fixed up a service schedule for the day. I reached the Service Centre at around 1:15 pm, and it looked deserted. Since there no sign of a Receptionist or a Customer Relationship Executive around, I assumed they might have gone for lunch. I rang up the Service Centre mobile number again, but there was no response.
I ventured further into the Centre, and was lucky enough to spot one of the executives (Our Hero AKA Moron) seated beside a computer and staring intensely at its monitor. I greeted him with a ‘Hello’. No response. ‘Hello’ again. Was he deaf? I started to feel sorry for him and uttered my final ‘Hello’ a bit louder. Surprise! the executive tilted his head a little, and informed me that it was lunch hour and there was no one around to attend to my situation. I tried to reason with him that I had ‘miles to go before I sleep, and promises to keep’, and that I was stuck with a bike which was spurting inflammable fuel all over the road and my dress. He was at his nonchalant best. He told me that the service engineer had gone for lunch and will be back by 2 pm. I decided to wait outside the service centre. After some time, the executive summoned me in, and told me that the mechanic will be late, so he will take care of my vehicle. He came out with a service slip. I showed him the leaking spot.

He examined the leak and announced that it needed replacement. He seemed to be more inclined towards getting a general service done for my bike and kept on hard-selling that package to me. However, I informed him that I had changed the engine oil only recently, and hence I did not want a general service done at that point in time. He thrust me a new bit of knowledge that general service was not just oil change, but also included other services such as water wash!

I suggested that he let the mechanic take a look at my bike’s fuel tank, at least for a second opinion. He revealed that he had seen hundreds of similar cases, and that the only way out was to replace the fuel tank with a new one for a paltry Rs 5000. He went on to say that if I was quite particular about getting any “jugaad” done, such as tinkering, soldering or welding, I was free to approach any ordinary (‘lesser’?) mechanic along the road. But then, I’d have to clear my vehicle from the service centre parking space immediately, and push off.

I could easily relate to what he said – according to him, service centres do not get involved in ‘lowly’ tinkering or soldering, as they are professionals trained to ‘perform’ replacement only. I was in total conformance, but then, a little politeness in the way he responded to my queries could have saved the situation. Since I had already noticed that the fuel tank was rusty and that it needed replacement, I was willing to make that move even before coming to the service centre. All I needed was an expert opinion from a real mechanic. Should I really shell out Rs 5000 for a new tank for this 8-year-old bike or rather source a used tank from the local market, was my question. The ‘expert’ executive seemed irritated with all my queries, and he informed me that if I did not want to replace the petrol tank, I could push off!

With a fuel-spewing tank in my hand, I had no other option but agree to the replacement. As I was about to leave the premises, I heard the executive throwing in word of caution – if I wanted to ride out of the premises, I’d have to carry in petrol when I came to collect my bike, because the fuel remaining in the tank would become ‘unusable’ by then.

The bike mentioned above is my second Pulsar. I have serviced the bike in earlier in Chennai, Trivandrum and Kottayam, and this was the first time in my life that I’ve had to face such an experience from a ‘kind-mouthed’ executive. If self-esteem was one of the most valuable assets that one carries around all through his life, I was robbed off it by this gentleman at the service centre. He didn’t have to point a gun at me that day. He strangled the goodwill and trust I had nurtured through all these years for the 'Popular' brand, in just a few moments by brandishing his well-cultured demeanour and readiness for customer service – the proud hallmarks any organisation would gladly work hard to earn.

They say that the ‘customer is king’. I almost felt like a worm, almost trampled upon.

Thank you, dear Service Executive! Long live Customer Service!
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Old 6th March 2013, 11:43   #2
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Default Re: An encounter with Popular Bajaj Service Centre, Cochin

This is bad. Why didn't you look at getting the work done from outside? From what I know, Genuine bajaj parts are widely available in the spare parts market. I for one, would not shell out 5,000 for a machinery that is 8 years old and the resale value would not be more than 20K.

All said and done, do mention his name here that fellow bhpian's could avoid him. He's paid to do a duty and if he's failing to do so, he shouldnt be working there.
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Old 6th March 2013, 14:52   #3
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Default Re: An encounter with Popular Bajaj Service Centre, Cochin

Thanks for sharing. I had experienced similar attitude from the Bajaj service center at Kottayam, Royal Bajaj, with my BIL's Pulsar. Though I don't want to go into the finer details, I am wondering if all Bajaj service center guys are plain arrogant. No other word could match their behavior better, if at all could not be put up on the forum. Why don't you give what he deserves? A mention in the most popular automobile forum of the country. To top up, send a mail across to Bajaj even though they might prefer to sleep on it.

This is when I thank my stars for owning a Hero Honda and that I could find a friendly neighborhood workshop who does a far exemplary job than any service center. I would highly suggest you to always be on the lookout for friendly neighborhood workshops. Every single customer is bread and butter for them while most of the service centers are busy molding up sarkari babus.
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