My disappointing experience with inefficient and incompetent RAK Ceramics
Dear friends, home maintenance is a frequent task, recently, my family decided to replace the flooring of our home in Goa and so began the saga on simply buying tiles from a company with a large international presence called RAK Ceramics.
It all began with me walking across the road from my office in Bangalore to one of the premium ceramics retailers PC Mallapa and Co. Here is where the most helpful and intelligent salesman ably and expertly introduced me to the range of quality floor tiles, drawing comparatives in quality and price and pointing out that RAK Ceramics would be a wise choice even if it meant paying a premium.
A company with a global presence I opted for RAK Ceramics because their production process was technologically superior. Their strict quality control and exactness of manufacture assured me that I was buying tiles that would have a longer life. I must confess this elderly salesman at the showroom was extremely knowledgeable about tile making and after an intense 45 minute discussion there was no way I was going to consider any other company, even though 90% of the companies in the market were selling me tiles for half the rate RAK Ceramics quoted.
Having picked up the brochure and virtually zeroed in on the colour and pattern I wanted, I next headed to Google, to locate their office in Goa, after all that’s where the tiles were required.
Surprisingly, for a company with a global presence there was very little information about RAK Ceramics online, the first sign of them not being in sync with the times. The management of RAK Ceramics does not seem to be aware that they are in the Information Age, that customers locate companies online, they read feedback from other customers and then choose their product. Interestingly, I have just noticed that the RAK Ceramics website shows their copyright date as 2006! OMG they haven’t updated their website for 4 years!!!!
The dearth of information about them prevented me from getting adequate information about the superiority of their product, but well, lucky for them an elderly salesman at PC Mallapa, the premium ceramics retailers in Bangalore, had done his job well. For a company with a global presence and superior technology to trust a salesman can hardly be a way of preparing for competition, because ahead you will learn how others put his good work to naught. Getting back to my search for an address to their location in Goa… well I simply couldn’t find one on the internet!!!
Goa is an international tourist destination and has huge amount of construction happening, additionally the people of Goa are highly educated with a high foreign exposure. The consumers of this tiny state are discerning and if they go online to locate a good ceramics company, they won’t even locate RAK Ceramics, so how does the company make sales? So much for global presence and a desire to do business and make profits…. Wow, I’m actually questioning their fundamental motive of doing business, but then let them prove me wrong.
So I then remembered the salesman at PC Mallapa telling me that RAK Ceramics tiles were manufactured in Andhra Pradesh and I located an address and write to the company asking them for a contact in Goa if any.
I promptly get a reply from Mr S.S.YADAV and he gives me the phone number to the Area Manager of Goa Mr. Nitin Sawant. I try calling Mr Sawant, initially his phone service provider tells me he is out of coverage area, when it does finally ring sometime later I can hear Mr Sawant but Mr Sawant cannot hear me. Thankfully on my third attempt I get across to Mr Sawant and he gives me a contact number to 2 of his dealers in Goa. The interesting part, even though all my attempts to call Mr Sawant would have registered on his phone as missed calls, at no point does he try to call me back. It probably did not strike him that it could be a potential customer trying to get in touch. So much for RAK’s sales personnel.
With the two contact numbers given to me by Mr Sawant I call a showroom called Bath and Tiles, I speak there to Mr Praveen Lotlikar and we agree that when I’m in Goa I would contact him to discuss the details of my order.
I get to Goa, meet Mr Lotlikar, decide on the tile, RAK Venezia, ACNE, premium vitrified tiles and immediately make my 1st payment of Rs. 25,000 against order form – ST/133 on 30th March 2010. A second payment is made of another 25,000 on the 3rd April. Mr Lotlikar assures me that the order has been placed, and the truck will be dispatched that day itself. I head back to Bangalore and my sister follows up with him, he assures her the truck is being dispatched, a week later, that the truck needs to be full as the truck can’t leave from their factory with only our small order of tiles. A week later, the tiles are not in stock and are being manufactured and we will receive them by the 30th of April 2010.
My sister goes along with Mr Lotlikar, anyway we planned on starting the work during the 1st week of May so why not oblige a company with a global presence and who is already sitting of Rs. 50,000 of our money… the politeness of consumers. I hope RAK Ceramics will give us credit for it, and ofcourse they are still flying on the fantastic job done by the elderly salesman from PC Mallapa in Bangalore. Strange, how for all its marketing strategies and sales forecasts and targets, it all comes to an elderly salesman from PC Mallapa in Bangalore! If this does not stink of inefficiency in RAK Ceramics what does?
On the 30th of April when my sister called Mr Lotlikar again to inquire about our order she was in for a rude shock. (Please note, it is we who keep calling Mr Lotlikar, he always promises to call us back and update us with information but never does. I hope RAK Ceramics is making note that there is a visible training need here, their retailers are poorly equipped in client servicing.) After all this waiting she is told that the tiles have still not been manufactured and he does not know when that will happen and as a result he of course does not know when they will be dispatched and … Bingo you guessed it right, we have to keep waiting.. ah to make a fool of ones customers!
I think what RAK Ceramics forgot was that we, their customers were paying a premium price for their product, we paid an advance, but we don’t get any communication on the delivery. Rather it is held up for a month (today is the 1st of May 2010) and information is given to us only when we call their showroom, INEFFICIENCY AND PATHETIC SERVICE is all they display.
There are millions of other companies that sell products like RAK Ceramics and much more expensive ones too. They have something called online databases, where their dealers can check online, inventory and availability of a product before they commit to a client. Once an order is placed, an internal set of activities are set in motion, online, to monitor timely delivery, put in place accountability and checkmate quality issues, does RAK Ceramics have such a system? Sorry, I forgot….. RAK Ceramics belongs to a different age; of snail mail should I guess.
There are thousands of companies manufacturing vitrified tiles in the Indian state of Gujarat. I took a decision not to buy from them because I could see little or no online presence of these companies, no quality control and no accountability. But RAK Ceramics seems to have turned out to be exactly like one of those companies I avoided buying from. They display lack of transparency in their processes, lack of accountability, inability to provide adequate and truthful information to their customers, lack of respect for their customers, they dishonour their commitment of timely delivery… and they claim to be a company with a global presence manufacturing world class vitrified tiles. Their website says they are ‘Trend Setters’ OMG that’s the only thing they do, and the trends in inefficiency they set, par excellence.
Realizing we have been taken for a ride, I am livid with the response of Mr Lotlikar on the 30th April 2010. I call him up and assure him that this weekend I am going to put my time to good use unless I hear positively that my consignment of floor tiles have been dispatched (predictability 24 hours later I still haven’t heard from him yet… but I’m waiting :)
I then try and contact the good ole Mr Nitin Sawant…. Remember Mr Sawant, the one who is always inaccessible…. And yes he is at it again… inaccessible… I try all day on 30th April but his phone continues to be inaccessible. Mr Sawant, sorry for doling out unsolicited advice but I think you need to change your service provider. Get one who gives you better coverage, and yes… don’t forget to charge your phone batteries.
Two people Mr Sawant should never keep waiting are, an irate customer and a client wanting to place an order. He has made one mistake, of not being available when a customer needed him, god alone knows if lost a sale too. As of writing this post I am still to get in contact with Mr Sawant, it is hard for me to believe that all my calls have not shown up as missed calls on his phone…. Or maybe he is yet to charge his phone batteries!!
In utter frustration, the next person I call is Mr Rohit Khandelwal who is based in Mumbai. In retrospect I should just address him as His Highness Rohit Khandelwal because Mr Khandelwal is busy in a meeting from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm and has no time to look into my concerns or queries. Infact he gets arrogant with me, and why not, after all I have placed an order of less than a lakh, while he deals in crores. He talks back to me angrily (which annoys me all the more) that the matter is not so simple, the tile I ordered is not available, it has to be manufactured, they have to get a whole company working for that… and as I surmise… gosh they are so not use to doing that. And all this conversation makes me feel like I just ordered a rocket for Mars. But why do I crib, it’s just another instance in the long line of incompetent, inefficient, unprofessional services from RAK Ceramics, the company with a global presence.
This is when I decided that I simply had to tell my story. Of course I have written to the Management of RAK Ceramics all the way from the Head Office in the UAE to their office in India and I am writing this post to warn your dear friends, should you want to buy tiles from RAK Ceramics please think again. There are other brands, just as good; you might save a few thousands to
So now that I have raved and ranted so much, what do I want RAK Ceramics to do to remedy the situation.
- I want the delivery of my Order form – ST/133 for RAK Venezia, ACNE, premium vitrified tiles ASAP. If RAK Ceramics is unable to make the delivery please let me know so that I can come over to the Bath and Tiles showroom in Panjim and select a different tile of the same cost.
- RAK Ceramics needs to let me know how they plan to remedy the situation of the tremendous anguish and mental stress their callous attitude has caused me.
And last but not the least, they still owe a big thank you to the polite, intelligent salesman at PC Mallapa, Infantry Road, Bangalore, who did such a great job of selling their product, but all their overpaid, highly trained MBA certified official brought to naught.