Brands like Amul and British Airways have been caught in a social media crisis earlier and it isn’t the first time that a brand has been accused of a service blunder by a consumer.
Abhiraj Bhal, Co-Founder of UrbanClap accidentally hit reply all and marked ‘a customer’ in an email which was only supposed to be sent to its UrbanClap employees. To make matters worse the email read, “Please ignore him completely. No one should answer his queries” and the rage shot up!
An altercation all began when Rakesh Verma, an ex-employee of Oyo Rooms accused UrbanClap of damaging his AC and not initiating a refund despite 50 days. He raised a complaint when an AC technician from UrbanClap failed to fix the machine and moreover, stopped taking his calls. Verma had to vacate his flat in a month and needed to fix the AC for his security deposit. As a trail of emails and calls ensued, it caught the attention of the CEO and that’s where he ended up making the blunder.
Predictably, Bhal’s reply to the email went viral on the social media handles. While Verma posted the screenshot on Twitter, his friend posted it on Reddit. The Reddit thread racked up over 2000 upvotes with comments questioning the culture of UrbanClap. Meanwhile, Bhal apologized for his gaffe saying, “I must say that it was incorrect for me to have responded this way. That was a mistake and I acknowledge the same”.
But Bhal defended the company by claiming that they have gone ‘above and beyond’ to serve the consumer. When they examined the AC, they realized they hadn’t damaged it but still UrbanClap was willing to return their technician charges and pay half the cost of the compressor that had stopped working.
Eventually, Bhal attempted to cease by posting on Reddit, “Was this the best UrbanClap stands for – certainly not. But I can tell you – we care for our customer deeply, and many of them will tell you that we are more than just a tech-enabled service play.”
Verma replied, saying, “Did you reply to any of my emails? NO. In fact, you threatened to sue me if I go on social media and do anything to harm your organization’s reputation. You called MY CEO right after our call telling him you would sue me if I don’t keep calm. Was it a right thing to do as a CEO just because I was constantly asking for help?”
It’s hard to say what really went on but the accusations were pretty thick and now that UrbanClap has fixed the issue after a 70 days streak of the chase. I wonder what would have happened if CEO hadn’t hit the “reply all” button? He would have been cornered to get the AC repaired on his own. It’s a pretty messy affair, and a customer complaint being dissected in the open is never a good look for a company. And while it might raise questions about how to best handle aggrieved customers, and how to make sure guarantees are maintained in the service-oriented business, it also highlights the power of the ‘reply-all’ button — it looks innocuous, but even the smallest trip up can lead to some pretty dramatic consequences!!