Good customer service as a marketing aim – learning from CTC

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This is a guest post by Kamran Niazi – Kamran is a regular commenter on G&W and works as a Financial Analyst at the Agribusiness Support Fund. The views in this article are his own.

The other day, I went to CTC (Coffee, Tea & Company, Lahore) to buy a cake. Over there, I mentioned that I was taking the cake to Islamabad by road. The person serving me (I later on found out, that he the owner), immediately asked me, where I was going & how much travel time. He then recommended that, I buy Chocolate Fudge Cake. He said that, ONLY that cake would stay ok for 8-10 hours travel time (by the way, that particular cake stays nice for 2-3 days in a fridge. All other cakes would spoil due to lack of refrigeration during the expected travel time. The Chocolate Fudge Cake is among the cheaper items in CTC. The guy could have sold me a more expensive item, but wanted a long term relationship through better customer services.

Usually in our Country, however, we believe that Customer Services are the pits and CSRs enjoy the status of pariahs in their organizations (whatever that Organization maybe). How often have you met a CSR (in any setting) and when he mentions that, he is a CSR, you have mentally considered him to be moron and left him there & then.

This is particularly true in Telecom Companies, where most cuts are made in the CSR Departments, whenever there is a need for cost cuttings. Now, as a consumer, you actually pay for the privilege of calling customer services (well, one must be charitable, that is the first thing, the recording tells you. Its not like that, you were uninformed). I might be wrong, but isn’t good customer services a competitive advantage? Isn’t it something, which distinguishes you from the rest of the pack? It makes you wonder, what the marketing guys were smoking. They spend a fortune on advertising & promotion, especially competing in the Dance-a-thon. The aim of these Dance-a-thon is, what I have understood so far is, "How Many Dancing Guys & Gals Can We Include in One Commercial". About the message, I have no idea, but the dance-a-thons are nice and you learn some really nice dance steps, which one can then use to impress family & friends at functions.

Some examples of CSR:

a. Staying online for about 45 Minutes hearing MUZAK & being told that, the call was important, while waiting for a CSR to pick up phone (reason for call: GPRS Service was not working. reason for CSR not picking up phone: he was busy serving other customers). Well, the waiting was not that bad, as managed to watch the entire episode of "Numbers" on TV.

b. Spending 75 Minutes calling the Customer Services Line and not being able to get through. Then being told that, you have reached the max number of phone calls and should try after 24 hours.

c. Spending 2 days trying to get GPRS activated and hearing that, the complaint has been forwarded and you would hear from us. After 48 hours, giving up hope and calling an acquaintance and telling him the problem. Result, problem solved in 60 minutes.


a. One connection bought, SIM lying somewhere for the past 15 Months.
b. One Connection to be bought cancelled just before purchase.

Marketing Guys, I don’t know about you. But as a marketing professional, for me Customer Services are highly important. Good Customer Services can make or break a relationship. Would paying 30K a Month to 100 CSRs for a year (36 Million Rs) be that high an expense? It might be actually cheaper than running Dancing Ads after ever over / every wicket in one Match of the IPL.

PS If you need an authority to convince the Management about the importance of Customer Services. Check out Seth Godin’s Post here (

Facebook comments:


  • An excellent post with a very good analysis mentioning the importance of customer services- which is often being neglected or not considered to be on high priority-

    Such activity is very useful in managing long term relations with the customers.

  • itiberius gracchus

    I have always wondered what kind of low lifes work in CSR!

    Now I know. :)

  • I have terrible experience with Telenor call center, I was under the illusion Telenor being European and country will be better quality wise.

    Ufone is pretty good, very responsive and courteous staff.

    Second hand info about Mobilink that it’s call center put you on hold if you are lucky to get connected.

    Cyber Net is another good customer service company albeit their products are going to abyss.

  • I have terrible experience with Telenor call center, I was under the illusion Telenor being European will be better quality wise.

    Ufone is pretty good, very responsive and courteous staff.

    Second hand info about Mobilink that it’s call center put you on hold if you are lucky to get connected.

    Cyber Net is another good customer service company albeit their products are going to abyss.

  • I completely agree with Kamran. What we need here is a company that does user experience testing for companies(maybe i should start one!). I have a story about the service at Bata to tell…will do so on this blog very soon.

    Another interesting blog to checkout would be Diego talks about fractal experience design there I believe…I’m a huge fan.

  • i agree with you guys, about the service of Telenor and Mobilink both got very pathetic service. well i even heard even telenor call agents leak out their customer numbers/info or call them personally …..

  • Waqas Badshah

    a very good post by the above person. I mean it does not seems very important to others but the cost of gaining on new customer is very high compare to a repeated customers. Remember, a bad service about a brand spread like wild fire and a good service spread slowly but you will not able to identify that sales were because of good Customer Relationship.

    Customer Relationship should be very important for every company, retail and anyone dealing with the customer directly.

    You should know the importance of Customer Lifetime value analysis. This tool do help you identify the amount that should spend on each customer annually. This mean all the budget is release after analysing. Read it guys. We lack this in our country.

  • Thanks to ALL (i mean all) People, who commented on the post.

    Mannan, maybe my Company can provide some help, after all, we are trying to promote consultants, no promises though.

    Plocked, I use Indigo and therefore get better service.

    Shhi, I have had Banks Staff leak my Credit Card History to other Banks (Got a call from a Bank to get a credit card, found out that the manager at my current bank shifted to the new Bank and took all the customer details with him. Was using that to generate leads. Complained to my Bank, result Nada).

    Waqas, we need a lot of things, but unfortunately our people (highups at Companies) do not understand it.

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