Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Update: Lakme is selling spoilt lippies!

Ok, people! First of all, Thank you so so much for all the love and support! Buoyed by what your support I did the following things

1. I wrote to Lakme. As soon as I blogged about it, I wrote to them. Have yet to get an acknowledgment or response from them.

2. I marched back (ok, well, took a cab) to the New Beauty Centre at Khar. And now I am even more mad at Lakme. Here is what happened.

Me: Can you please show me the testers for Sugarbloom and Watermelon?

SA 1 (main/senior SA): (to junior SA2) - show her the shades.

Me: (wait for 5 minutes idly at counter before being attended to)

I then finally removed the testers myself.

With a flourish then I remove the lippies I was sold.

Me: I bought these 2 lipsticks from here like 2 weeks ago. Just check the shades, they are both completely different from the testers. & one of them is a tester itself (showing the SA the tag)

SA1: (to SA2) - Give her another piece of both.

That is it girls. The show was over.

I was given
1. No apology for the fact that I had to travel all the way specially to get them changed. No apology for the error. No apology for the discomfort it caused to me. Nothing. Nada.

2. They didn't even ask me once if I wanted my money refunded. They just assumed that I wanted another piece. Frankly I did need those lippies, which is why I bought them in the first place, and I would have taken the replacement. But they did not even consider for a minute that maybe as a customer I am so pissed off with Lakme that I don't want their stuff. This is exactly what Lakme is suffering from, they are so damn sure that they are irreplaceable in our lives that we will keep coming back. NOT! Lakme has goofed up, and big time here!

3. There was no explanation given why the lippies were they way they were. Even when I asked, I was just curtly told that they are giving me fresh pieces. They almost behaved like it was my fault that I bought those lippies and since they were giving me replacements - I should just keep quite and be grateful.

4. They didn't even ask me if I wanted the same colors as replacement, or did I want a different color or maybe even a different product from Lakme.

5. Basically their attitude was, just take these new lippies and get out of our faces. We won't explain, we won't apologize and we don't care. 

In our B-School, we were taught a concept called Service Recovery, this means that a good recovery can turn angry and frustrated customers into loyal customers. In fact it can create even more goodwill than if things had gone smoothly in the first place.

I have seen countless Brands do this. McDonald's excels at this. Most brands that customers swear by, are great at service recovery.

Lakme of course had a chance to do this with me. & they blew it. Big Time.

Make-up is a luxury product, and like all luxury product the experince of the customer is not just based on the product performance but also how she is made to feel at the counter when buying make-up.

Not only are Lakme's SA not trained in this art, they clearly also haven't been taught that "You should apologize to a customer when Service or Product Failure happens!".

Basic Fundamental truth of Customer Relationship Management.

At this point, I couldn't really care about the lipsticks. I hate the way I was treated by those SA. & I am now even more irritated at Lakme and convinced that I can survive without them.

Btw, I saw the Satin Enrich Lippies there. Laid out nicely in a separate rack. Having heard so much about them from Rati & Cynthia, I would have definitely tried them. But then these SAs pissed me off so much that I just took my lippies and walked away from that counter.

& I ain't going back to Lakme. I am done. The breakup is over and complete. If they don't care about me, I don't give a rat's ass about them either.


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26 comments:

  1. Technically speaking I won't blame lakme for all this.... Its fault of those SA and the way they treat their customers. What needs to do is to stop such snobby attitude and be little humble and courteous. No?

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Sarah: As a customer, I will never interact with Lakme - the company. I will always interact with Lakme's SA's.

    This is a basic mgmt funda that all marketing managers are taught.

    It is because of this that there are things like service standardisation, and all of Lakme's SAs are put through a training where they learn about the company's products.

    I am sure they are also taught customer etiquette.

    The fact that they choose not to follow it is a sign that there is no process in place at Lakme to ensure their SAs behave.

    I even wrote to the company on their customer service id, on Sunday Morning. It is Wednesday noon right now. I am yet to even receive an acknowledgment from them that they have got my mail.

    & the spoilt lippies came from the company itself. That is where Lakme failed first. Of course it can be put on something must have happened on the way and all. But then where does Lakme's accountability start? Or Lakme accountable at all?

    I am sorry if I am sounding assertive or rude, but for me, as a customer, the SA are the face of the company, and it ain't a pretty one.

    Of course, it is a personal decision to stop using Lakme. This was my experience. You are most welcome to feel differently and continue using the brand. :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Too irritating right? first i thought it a general beauty shop. The sales man may be is not a trained one.
    After all they are new,once they start to get nicely for customers they will learn how to behave.
    Take it easy dear. thanks for the update.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tanveer: I am with you in this.Totally agreeing to the fact that a company who is supposed to be a big time whatever, should definitely train their staff, esp the front end ones on these basic service points.

    I guess we all have noticed the recent re vamps in Lakme's staff and counter attire, which is supposed to be bringing in a bit more professional attitude in behaviour also.

    The attitude and apparent ignorance of the SA's have been evident.At first I ignored and thought it would only be the case here in Bangalore. But now when I read about your experience, I find it is the same everywhere.

    This clearly shows a case of failure in service delivery on the part of Lakme. Probably it is time for us to boycott the brand explore new avenues.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh no you are not being assertive or rude, I think you are justified. To some extent I also balme the SAs. The other day I went to Select CIty walk to check out some products and they told me ," Ma'm the Lakme and the Maybelline people have gone to have lunch. " This was happening with me for the second time and I really blew them up this time. Suddenly all the people who had supposedly gone out for a lunch appeared at my service from nowhere and were curtious and smiling.

    Lakme, I have no words. I am not going to buy their satin lipsticks no matter how much I like because I would rather spend some more money than take all this pain of snobbishness and s****y behaviour. I went there to check out their lippies 4 times and they had no testers. This is service that they give. I am sure there are other brands that exist in our city that could give us some nice service and better quality.

    I am seriously done with them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @G.G.G: Thks for the support :D

    I am glad tht at least one person agrees with me :P

    You are right, all their SA's wear the same purple uniforms, to bring in professionalism and also standardization in service. But its not happening.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Rati: *Big Hug*

    Thk u so much babe, for the support! Now I am really feeling better!

    I too agree with you, I wld rather spend a little more money on some other brand who values me more as a customer than buy their stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am totally with you .. Don’t you agree the scene with customer service is really sad in our country and trust me it is worse in smaller cities. I am from Nashik and here there s no concept of customer service. As far as Lakme is concerned is totally their loss if they continue to behave in this manner….But isn’t the scene similar with other Indian brands..Ek toh availablity ka chakar ( Himani Mosturiser you recommended took me a week to locate) or bad / Ugly packaging or unnecessary high prices …

    Anyways to hell with lakme looking forward to newer prodouct reviews from you…

    Shweta

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Shweta: I totally agree! In a city like Mumbai, there is at least some level of customer service, simply coz of the competition from brands like Maybelline and Colorbar.

    & shweta, it took me also a week and lots of digging at Food Bazaar to locate Himani. I guess Boroplus really need to work on their supply chain

    I will def be putting up more reviews. Thks for the support :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. oh my god, i typed such a long comment and now it's gone! dunno where it vanished yaar.. uff chalo i will type again..

    if you lived closer i would have sent you chocolates. seriously! kudos to you for standing up to such rubbish. i would have done the same thing. i saw the lakme satin lipsticks a few days back and didn't even feel like checking out the shades. the brand has become like a skunk for me. i stay as far away from it as possible now. honestly, someone from the company needs to read all this and realize what a big mistake they are making. thank god i have not wasted too many resources behind this brand.

    as far as these salespersons are concerned, they are least bothered about what they represent. most of them don't even know what i mean when i ask them for shell pink, taupe or brick shades. it's pathetic! i wish people took their jobs a little more seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Rima: Sorry for the trouble.. Blogger seems to be having some problem :(

    & Thk u for all the support :D

    Am very glad u saved a lot of money and time by staying away from their products. I don't think much is going to change with Lakme.

    They will continue to splurge on their models and ads and dish us sub-standard rubbish. If they really cared I wld have atleast recived a reply from them by now.

    & ppl are taken in by the heritage of the brand. Yesterday at the counter, I saw these two friends. One of them wanted a mascara, the other one recommeneded Lakme "Lakme products are generally good."

    I sighed in my heart thinking that were they slightly aware consumers they would have read Rati's review on it and run miles away from it. Lakme takes us for granted coz we take our rights as consumers for granted.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Long back the same story happened to me, but nothing like exchange! Maybelline, Revlon and Colorbar counters @ Bangalore! I kept going for weeks only to return empty-handed! Why? No testers!

    I blasted them and asked why were the testers not given! They said, "maam, company is yet to send and all that jazz!"

    When is that? When they launch another range?? They have sold more than 75% of the stock without testers??? I seriously doubt the store people coz any brand will send testers! Something fishy! I hate to see the SAs doing touch up business right in front of the customer using testers! YUCK!

    Revlon and Maybelline SAs responded and took out a new piece to show me the color on one condition! I had to buy that once they open! I told her I need to talk to the store manager!
    She was like "OK maam! Theres no compulsion!"

    SAs in India mostly are more interested in their jobs rather than what they sell! They work for money, thats it! They care a damn about wat they sell! Blame goes to the recruitment department! First, they should be given nicely!

    God! Its high time we all do something! They should know what beauty bloggers can do to a brand! Hit or Miss, thats it!

    Whoa! I sound revolutionary :) Tanvi, hope this soothes you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. SAs hardly know what they sell or wat they are talking about! Mostly, they try to confuse the customer! Looks like its the same case everywhere in India!

    Especially, if you are new to makeup or that particular brand as such! Gone case! You simply end up buying some crap based on their gibbering!

    Tanvi, MAC lost a potential client! I will never go back to the UK store again! Who cares if you work for MAC or some high-end brand? Still, I wanna try my luck at South-Indian MAC outlets @ Bangalore and Chennai!

    I wish myself very good luck! Hope I find some professionals this time! Not some nose-picking girls full of attitude!

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Divs: I am sure the brand sends testers. They have to be really stupid not to do it. The SAs must take them home for their own personal use..

    I have had this happen to me too a couple of times.. I always refuse. It's like blackmail ya. If I let u chk it u have to get it.. I may might as well get it blindly..

    I hope u have better luck at MAC here. Personally I had a great experience at the MAC close to my place. (Yea, it's like 15 minutes away.. maybe the news got out on wht an addict I am)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I encountered pushy selling at the Lakme counter at Bangalore Central, as well as offers of fresh stock as testers, and them trying to pawn off used lipsticks as new!!

    I think there is a problem in general with Lakme's sales training...but I've also noticed the same problem at the Maybelline and L'Oreal counters.

    On the other hand, I get great service at the Shiseido counter at Bangalore Central, but the sales people are from Japan and have had proper training!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey Tanveer,

    I used to buy only Lakme products when I initially got exposed to makeup but was a loyal customer only until i discovered that there are other brands in the market which sell much better quality products at the same price!! After that I've never bght anything from Lakme..I somehow never like their lipsticks, nail paints etc quality-wise when you compare with the other brands ...And now this experience of yours is just putting me further away from thm

    N i completely agree with Divija...it is soo annoying to see the SAs do their makeup in front on the clients

    HD

    ReplyDelete
  17. @JC: Well, what can I say.. U know now we Indian women get treated by these Brands.. It is very sad.

    @HD: I agree... There are def better brands out there that offer better quality and colors for the same price.. Sometimes even lesser!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey!!
    Lakme needs 2 get their act straight..they've taken us 4 granted way tooo long!!All these yrs they were monopolizing the entire make up scene in India--and now they think their hold is unbreakable-NOT!!They need 2 realize dat this is our hard earned money (or our parents'-watever the case) that we r spending- we slog 4 hours in our offices to earn the green n when we spend it we expect 2 be treated decently- and this is a rather modest request-I fully support u in ur boycott!!--I was nvr a fan of Lakme anyways-Wat put me off is dat evn though its an Indian brand, they charge more than foreign products for their limited and lower quality products- not 2 mentioned that their SAs need a make up course themselves besides an etiquette course !U GO GIRL!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey Tanveer ,

    Been following your blog for a while.Loves it !

    Coming to your issue - YOu are absolutely right when you say Lakme sucks at customer service.The only way to make them realise the value of custmores is to competely stop using their products. I am sure there are zillions of other brands that we can use. Also spread the word to all your friends about Lakme. Its time they realise what they are doing. Lakme has been such a beloved indian brand for a long time now. The fact that many customers are complaning means that there is somethign amiss with the company and the management needs to get it right.

    Its the duty of the company to make sure their SAs are well trained and courteous. You should check out the SAs at the sephoras here. They honestly rock. No wonder they such loyal customers.Next time the SAs do not behave well , please do not throw your hard earned money at a company/or do not give commision to those SAs that do not know how to treat customers.

    Girls , lets show it to Lakme that they need to know what they are doing and make things work so that they will get their customers back.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @Simran: Thks for all the support :D.. I think the reason why all of us feel so strongly about Lakme is because somewhere we always gave it that leeway since it was our "ghar - ka - banda", you know, someone from our own place. We grew up with our moms buying products that were either Lakme or Tips & Toes..

    International brands like Maybelline and Jordana are actually cheaper than Lakme, and if you just put in a few bucks more you can buy NYX - which has blushes & eyeshadows that are just amazing!

    Domestic brand Colorbar too offers very good quality products at very competitive prices :D

    I hope Lakme does something fast to prove that it does care for us :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Jan: Hey! Glad to meet you and happy tht u enjoy reading the blog :D

    Thk u for the support Jan.. I cannot even begin to express how much the support of readers like you means to me, especially during this whole Lakme saga..

    I don't understand how Lakme is just not reading the signs. A lot of other Indian bloggers have been trying to get Lakme's attention through posts on the quality of their products versus the price..

    I totally agree with you Jan, there are much better brands out there.. & I am waiting eagerly for sephora to open here.. I have heard so many gr8 things about the store.. I do hope they bring in these good practices here as well :D

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi There,

    Just read your Lakme Story. i must say that was infuriating behaviour and if I were in your place I would have reacted the same way! I have always experienced that when you buy from Lakme the SA's are only interested in seeling the stuff. They are least concerned with actually helping you find the right shades.

    So I too am done with lakme long time back. Also there are better quality products with better pricing out there.

    Swati

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Swati: Thks for the support :D

    It has been very positive for me to read yr supportive comments :D

    Yea, I agree, compared to other SA's, Lakme SA's are just too aggressive, they in fact turn you off frm buying stuff, even jamillia above has complained of the same :D

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi, just stumbled across your blog. I completely agree. Lakme SA's are horrible.
    Last year i bought a eye shadow but when i got home i discovered she had actually given me the tester!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. In case of an spoilt or defective goods, you can file a complaint with the lipstick at the consumer forum. The lipstick will be tested and if found defective or that they are selling beyond the 'sell by' date, you can claim compensation. You don't need a lawyer to do this.. just the time and a bit of knowledge abt how to do it.
    I got an old eyeliner (over 2.5 years old0 from Street wear counter at Kandivali that made my eyes burn. Streetwear cleverly selling at reduced rate but its old stock. I shortly moved to Pune and lost the eyeliner so I abandoned the consumer activism bit :(

    ReplyDelete

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