How HDFC Bank and Truecaller deal with a spam complaint on Twitter.

Spam calls are unavoidable. We at least get it once, if not multiple times a day. A solution to this problem is an app like Truecaller, that lets you identify whether a call might be spam, based on reports by other app users. Truecaller, in particular, has an interesting feature for numbers to be tagged as ‘priority calls’. According to them, this feature ensures that users will always know when it’s a relevant and important call made by a company – and not a spam call.

Now, what if this “priority call” turns out to be spam? Who’s at fault, the app or the company making the call? This is the exact dilemma that Twitter user Karthik faced when he got a phone call from HDFC Bank.

He received a call from a number that was tagged as a priority call, but it actually ended up being yet another “Based on your home loan repayment, you are eligible for a personal loan of…” type of a call. He has described his experience, in a detailed manner on this Twitter thread.

HDFC Bank’s social media response team were quick to respond to Karthik’s concern. However, they initially denied any association with the number and did so in a long reply going across 5 Tweets. Their long response was detailed and seemed as if it was probably prepared for such situations. Did it serve as a solution though? It didn’t seem like it.HDFC Bank's long but templated social media customer care response

On the other hand, Truecaller also sprung into action. They conveyed to Karthik that they were looking into the situation, that they’d be suspending all priority numbers associated with HDFC bank meanwhile, clarified the specifics of their priority feature and even thanked Karthik for his feedback.

The follow-up came from the side of the application via its co-founder Nami Zaringhalam. He informed the customer about an internal miscommunication at the bank’s end and reassured the customer that the call was actually associated with HDFC Bank.

After this tweet, HDFC Bank replied, confirming the miscommunication and apologising for the inconvenience that was faced by their customer. The latter is commendable, considering that HDFC Bank admitted that they had erred early on.

This whole ordeal really shows you how the difference between how certain brands dispense social customer service. There were some things that the social customer care teams got right and some things that could have been avoided.

Takeaways:-

  1. Don’t be hasty to clear your name
    Spam calls being called out on social media is a frequent occurrence. The bank’s social customer care executives probably had a template ready for such occasions, and that’s exactly what we saw in the initial response. They didn’t think to look into the matter and were quick to pass the blame, and that made them look bad eventually. Had they taken some time from the customer to investigate early on, their earliest action could’ve been different.
  2. Follow-up
    Following up on an issue shows customers that a brand actually cares about getting an issue resolved. In this case, getting a follow up from a founder of the company makes things better. This shows how much the brand cares about feedback and actually resolving issues.
  3. Apologise
    HDFC Bank was at fault in this scenario, but was quick to pass on the buck, and was called out for it by Truecaller. If the social customer service executive didn’t respond to the follow up by Truecaller, it would show that HDFC would prefer to just sweep any mistakes under the rug. But they didn’t. They apologised and admitted their mistake, and in the process showing the customer that they are aware of a shortcoming and looking to fix it. This action of theirs is certainly commendable.
  4. Continuity
    All of the responses from the side of HDFC were issued through their social customer care handle HDFCBank_Cares. All their customer service responses include a sign off from the customer care executive. In this case, all the responses throughout the conversation were signed off by the same social customer care executive. This makes for a better customer experience, as it seems more like an actual conversation with the executive.

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