Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why My Next Car Will also be a Mahindra

This one is not about a car, but attitudes. It's slightly long, but I'm sure you won't stop till you reach the end. Definitely something to write home about. Especially when you know that Mahindra forwarded this to his directs saying it's a 'good read':-) What's even better news is that my issues were subsequently solved and my car was returned on the same day. What would have made me a really delighted customer was if they could do this without me having to send the email below.

Here's the response, and below that is my email to him.

Dear Nibu,

Thank you for your passionate email and the detailed feedback. I thank you for the kind words of appreciation for Chrome Motors and am sorry for your experience with the service standards at Anant Motors.

Your observations are very pertinent and certainly offer food for thought. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your mail to the leadership of the sales and customer care functions within the auto division for their perusal and action. It is feedback like this from our well-wishers like you that encourages the team to strive for higher standards of sales and service.

Thank you again for endorsing Mahindra products and I look forward to your continued patronage.

Warm regards,

 Anand G Mahindra


From: Thomas <xxxxx>
Date: 16 November 2013 1:35:01 pm IST
To: MAHINDRA ANAND <xxxxxxxxx>

Subject: Fwd: XUV Issues

Dear Mr Mahindra,

I've been a big fan of Mahindra vehicles, and will always be one. I recently (August) bought an XUV 500 W8 after owning my first Mahindra, the refreshed Scropio MHawk, for 4 years. While I love the XUV (every whisker, paw and claw), (the car is designed after the cheetah, so there are paws as door handles, whiskers above the front bumper and the tail lights up to show the claws) I'm facing several issues for which I've had to visit Anant motors BG Road,  Bangalore, more than once. Please bear with me, this is going to be a long email. I'm disappointed with the attitudes and general lackluster service at Anant Cars. When I had the Scorpio, I serviced it with Chrome motors Mysore Road and was a really happy customer. Almost delighted. (This is in spite of clutch failures, more than once.) I spent 4 years building a relationship with them and they treated me like how you would want them to treat people who have put their trust in your brand. They were prompt in their work and more importantly, knew how the car worked. I'm disappointed that I can't continue getting my new car serviced by them. Chrome (Mysore Road) is the best service center to many Scorpio owners in Bangalore. Why should XUV owners get anything less? When people ask me did I upgrade or downgrade...from a Scorpio, please tell me what do I tell them?

 It is not the infrastructure that is important to me as an XUV owner. I want decent service, and someone who can fix the issue on the first attempt. Of course to fix an issue, you need to understand your product first. Unfortunately, there are very few people in Anant who can convince me of this fact. It's not just about customer service, ultimately, you could be very courteous and all milk and honey, but if you couldn't fix my issues, all of that comes to a naught. I had multiple issues (as you can see below) with the XUV even before the vehicle was a week old and one particular issue (vehicle pulling to the left) is still haunting me. I've already visited Anant cars twice and they have not been able to fix the issue. I stay 20 kms away from the workshop and am not comfortable with the pick up and drop arrangement that is provided.

Anant cars has failed to demonstrate their ability to take care of my car like they would their own and you'll see why below. I take the vehicle personally and am present at the workshop the whole day. I've spent 2 whole days like this in the last 5000 kms. I usually had to take a day off work to take the vehicle to the service center.

 I lost a mirror plate (RHS) when the car brushed against a hay laden tractor and none of the service centers in Bangalore knew that only the mirror plate was available as a spare. They were all insisting that I replace the entire assembly that costs Rs 8000 odd. I got in touch with Mr Kannan and after his intervention, got the part. The part was not installed correctly and it just fell off on the highway while traveling to Mangalore. I called Karnataka Motors and they give me the same response that I have to change the entire assembly! I come back expecting that maybe everyone in Bangalore has been looped about the communication and check with India Garage.. same response! I'd expect some awareness about this part to be shared with your entire network. It's creating a really bad impression when someone who's changed the entire assembly gets to know that it was only the mirror plate that need to be changed. I'm not sure who is responsible to pass on this communication, but apparently, this is still not done. The RHS mirror plate is still not installed properly and I had to use double sided tape to ensure the plate didn't fall off again.

 I find the Service Advisers and relationship managers haven't even read the customer copy of the manual. Expecting them to have read the service manual may be too much. It might make sense to come up with a certification program (similar to the software industry CCNA, MSCE) to ensure that every RM/SA knows at least the minimum amount of information about the car. Mahindra Certified Service Adviser. Here's an example of why. I noticed that the cruise control disengaged by itself when the + button was engaged and would not engage again till you restarted the vehicle. I was able to recreate the issue and they promptly changed the switch! If they had read the manual, they would have just had to show me the page where it is described and remind me that this was a design issue, and not really a fault.

 The first time I took the car to the service center (even before it was due for service) I had to wait an entire day for them to address the issue. The actual time spent on the car was less than 3-4 hours (max) The car wasn't touched till 1 PM. I had called in advance, taken an appointment to come at 9 and was on time. So if the car would not be touched till 1, why call me at 9? There are many inefficiencies at the workshop and no one seems to care. I reminded the RM a couple of times at least that no one was attending the car and there was basically no response. When Toyota can do a full service in 3 hours, is expecting the same from Mahindra expecting too much? I'm certain it is not.

 Most of the workshops don't allow customers beyond a certain point. I was observing the workshop folks work on my car and they had just removed two tires and swapped them. However, only one wheel was fixed, and the other one was not even placed properly on the vehicle. And forgetting about the vehicle missing one wheel, they try and lower the jack. I had to scream a warning before they raised it up and fixed the other wheel. I have many such instances to cite and after you hear them, you won't think I'm paranoid. If this is the way they handle your vehicle while you are there at the workshop, imagine what happens when you are not there. What the customer doesn't know won't hurt him? But it will! Please allow more transparency.

I had issues with closing the doors. Each time they touch something, something else seems to break.

The maps provide wrong directions. Just ensuring they are on the latest version is not fixing the problem!

Dear Sir, when it comes to product reliability, service or preventive maintenance, your competitors are not a Toyota or Honda. That's probably aiming too low. Your competitor is actually Boeing or Airbus.

Thank you for listening. That's why my next vehicle will also be a Mahindra.

Warm Regards,

Nibu Thomas


  1. Customer with brains, passion and an attitude to fix the problem & people at work - way to go!

  2. Hey dude,

    Indeed, you have terrifice writing skills. More importantly you have the patience to convert your thoughts to text, which is another factor that many miss - I admit at least I miss that. Good job buddy


  3. Thanks for your kind words Vishy, Rajni!

  4. Superb Compliant... no wonder why they turned up to your service call... Great going... Keep it up...

  5. Thanks Suresh :) Remember my aurko emails ;)

  6. Absolutely, XUV 5oo competition is much bigger than what market perceives. So it is time Mahindra takes seriously and NOT to under estimate themselves and NOT to be satisfied with status quo in after sales.

  7. Yes ! Quick service and transparency is important if M & M wants to become a Global player.

  8. A well worded letter reflecting the situation of many a customer. Kudos Nibu!