Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kissa BIAS ke bus ka : Customer service - unlimited

In the last almost 7 years in Bangalore, I always heard and experienced rude behavior from the local bus drivers. The introduction of the A/C Volvo buses on the city ‘road’scape has begun a new era in the customer delight sector of KSRTC. In fact they are going overboard with it.  That made my first trip in the BIAS-8 from E-City to my home quite hilarious.

Since I was taking the bus from the first time, I was not sure about where exactly the bus stop was. I looked up the website, asked few colleagues, but to no avail. I finally decided to just walk down the road that was part of the route and flag the bus down. I did and it stopped. I thanked the driver for making this unscheduled stop and asked where the nearest bus stop was. He smiled and said “no bus stop madam.. kidhar bhi haath dikhane ka hum rukega”. And he proved it. In the next stretch of 200m, the bus stopped no less than 5 times. I did wonder at that time whether the delight of the customer boarding the bus matched the frustration of the already boarded passengers.

After some time, the bus stopped to board a passenger – a young girl who was crying on her mother’s shoulders, perhaps going away for college, may be first time away from home. The amazing part was none of them flagged the bus. The driver stopped on his own accord judging by the amount of luggage that was piled up near them. They seemed quite oblivious to the presence of the bus or the bus conductor patiently waiting at the door for her to board, not to mention all the passengers. After 2 min, the conductor got down, picked up the girl’s luggage and carried it inside the bus. Again, he waited at the door. He coughed a bit after some time. Finally, the girl said good bye to her mother and walked in blowing her nose. He helped her to a seat and actually smiled at her. Not even a sign of frustration. Like a perfect airhostess on an airplane. Talk about customer service. Of course, we are accounting only for the customers that have not yet boarded.

The remaining 30 min of the journey was quite uneventful except for the constant grumblings of a co- passenger who should get an award for his optimism, having boarded the bus at 4:30 PM at E-City to catch a 6:30 PM flight. KSRTC website clearly says, BIAS-8 takes 2.5 hrs from E-City to airport. And when he boarded, the conductor, ever so polite, had informed him that there is no way he can reach in time. Still undeterred, he went and reminded the bus driver every 15 min that his flight was at 6:30 and if he could hurry. The driver, equally polite, would nod his head, though, needless to say, he continued his elite customer service for the customers about to board the bus.

Then came the clincher…. Just before my stop.

The bus stopped at the depth of an underpass. One person got down, no one boarded. The bus didn’t start. Again, the conductor was patiently waiting at the door. I tried to look around through my window to see if anyone was approaching the bus to board. No sign of anyone. 5 min. The bus didn’t move. I was trying to imagine why a bus would stop at such a place and why that guy got down here. Anyone getting down there would have to walk the entire stretch of the long underpass to reach any habitable place. It can not be shortcut to any place. I sensed everyone around me getting impatient. And then I saw. The guy who had left the bus emerged from a bush lining the wall of the underpass zipping his pants. He strolled in the bus and it started again. The bus had stopped for 10 min to allow a passenger to relieve himself!! The temperature in the bus rose by a few degrees due to the fury of the few who realized what had happened.

Then I was convinced that customer delight is really the top priority of BIAS buses. I left the bus at the next stop barely able to control my giggling. The last thing I heard was Mr. 6:30 PM flight grumbling to the driver.




1 comment:

  1. Really hilarious ...

    How about the journey on the KSRTC bus on my last day at Infosys, remember what happened that day ? :)

    - Khatri.