Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Thum(b)s Up to Bombay Cafe

So I was all set to write the sequel to my previous post when the coolest thing happened to me today, and I realised if I don't blog about it, none of my tips in the last post will be able to put me to sleep tonight.

Around lunchtime, I got the strangest email. From my favourite Indian restaurant in Singapore. I'd just had dinner there last night! Yes, this is the restaurant I'd blogged about here, the one that has the world's best gobhi manchurian (but don't tell my Mom I said that!) and Thums Up. The same restaurant I'd said had disppointed me the last time I'd gone there because they did not have Thums Up.

The Director of the restaurant had emailed me. And his email was about my blog post.

:O :O :O

As I mentally went over the defences for defamation lawsuits I had learnt in my Media Law classes - truth, fair comment, qualified privilege, statutory privilege, innocent publication, innocent dissemination and consent - I realised that it wasn't what I thought it was.

It was not an email notice suing me for defamation - libel to be specific.

It was an email thanking me for my feedback.

He had actually come across my blog, dug out my feedback form that I had filled on the night I did not get my Thums Up after my cross country travel in search of it, and decided to drop me an email, with an offer to send me some complimentary bottles of Thums Up.

Wow. Double wow.

He said that he had tried to trace me from my feedback form, but I had not left any contact details, so he had emailed to ask for my address so he could send the drinks. I gave him my office address 'cos I'm rarely at home during sane hours, and I thought 'some bottles' meant about four bottles or so, which I thought I could easily carry home.

Two hours later, I was informed that someone was waiting for me at the reception. So I went to check, and there was a delivery person from Bombay Cafe, who said he had some stuff for me.

"Where is it?"

"Outside."

I thanked him and told him I would take it inside myself.

"It's heavy, madam. I'll take it in for you." He offered.

"How heavy is heavy?" I asked. No one dares the mighty Sayesha.

He showed me the box.

Sheesh.

"Some bottles of Thums Up" turned out to be one whole carton of Thums Up and Mangola! Yes, all 24 of 'em! In glass bottles, no less!

(Yes yes the mighty Sayesha tried to lift it. And no, she couldn't. Happy now?)


24 freakin' bottles of free drinks from Bombay Cafe. I couldn't have grinned wider.

So the nice, strong man carried the carton all the way to my desk.

Now one thing I have learnt from my mom is to never send anyone who brings you something, empty-handed. Every time anyone sends over mithai on Diwali, she will never return the plate/container empty. And that one thing has been ingrained in my head since childhood. So I fumbled around, trying to figure out what it is that I could give Bombay Cafe in return. Sending free copies of children's books I had written or edited did not sound like a very happening idea. So I, finding nothing else, grabbed one of my business cards, wrote a little 'thank you' note to the restaurant director on the back, and gave it to the delivery man.

As I struggled with the carton at my desk, a couple of curious colleagues crowded around to find out what was happening, and what was the very odd clang-clang noise.

"This is my childhood drink", I merrily pointed to the bottles of Thums Up, before offering them the drinks. One of them took a bottle of Magnola to try.

She was last seen hunting for a bottle opener.

And I plonked myself into my chair, still unable to wipe the silly smile off my face. Such a brilliant surprise. In a day and age where I firmly believe that surprising someone is real hard work.

Thums Up in glass bottles sitting at my desk. All worth the extra gymming I will have to do to make up for the 3 litres of Thums Up which I am gonna consume over the next couple of days.

Suddenly the day had become great from an ok-ok-chalega-types one.

In one afternoon, I had seen perfect examples of many things that I am learning in my Master's course. I must bring up this example in my next 'Media and marketing' class.

Great customer service, great PR, great feel-good brand experience.

Great vibes to the customer - "We listen to you."

I know the importance of feedback. I work in an industry that thrives on feedback. We try to interview at least one teacher from every single school in Singapore before we produce the major books. I've been there, done that myself. All the calling up, faxing, phone interviews, emails, one-on-one feedback sessions. Exhausting. But important. Otherwise we may end up with producing 5000 copies of sheer trash - stuff that no one wants to buy. And when you're publishing educational books for kids, you just can't afford this kind of thing.

So yes, I know the value of others' feedback.

And now I know that someone out there values mine.

Of all the cool things that have happened to me because of this blog, this one takes the ...errr... Thums Up!

ps: If anyone from Bombay Cafe is reading this, please don't send me anything else, cos if you do, I may just be embarrassed into oblivion before my next gobhi manchurian visit is due. :P ~ ~



44 comments:

Anonymous said...

haha good stuff :D

American Pi said...

gold. since anonymous did not claim victory. or silver at least.

Can you save a couple of bottles for me when I am there in May?

jade said...

thats cool! i once read in a paper in reader's column that some guy watched a movie on start movies and mailed to them sayin he liked it a lot but somehow missed the name of the movie and wanted to know its name( dono how! but this was ages ago when i think they didnt show the name durin intermissions)
they sent him a copy of that movie!
such things really please u and maybe some day u might do the same for someone else..

virdi said...

third...

V...

virdi said...

worsht man... i was fourth...

now can i read the post???

Thanks...

V...

Anonymous said...

Wow what great service recovery...Shall go check out that place sometime...

virdi said...

Wow !!! You are so smart ladki... You wanted to Thumbs Up for free and as a true Indian and you sent a mail and also said the restaurant is great... Lagaofy makhan... Waahh Waahh Waahh... Tera jawaab nahi... ;-) Khi Khi Khi Khi...

Ok I am jealous and will go out and have 1.5 ltrs of Thumbs Up, and that too akele... Sticking out tongue... :P

Rest all I want to say is Lassi jaisi koi nahi... Thumps Up!!Taste the thunder...

and FYI, you can find Akshay Kumar and Chiranjeevi doing the Thumps Up advert in India these days...

Chiranjeevi... Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!

V...

Lalit Singh said...

DAMN COOL!!!
i cant believe they did that.. but it def would be great to receive those goodies... next time the waiter will get a big tip m sure :-)

Sayesha said...

#Anon,
:)

#AP,
Hahaha! That was clever, Bappi! :D
ps: Okie dokie, will bring a few bottles back, and when you get here, we can have a party at my place! :)

#Jade,
Wow! Amazing! I read that once three girls entered a theatre late, and missed like half an hour of the movie. So after the movie ended (it was the last show), the guy replayed the part they had missed! :)

#Virdi,
Offo! :)

#Anon,
May I recommend the gobhi manchurian, the mexican dosa, and the chilli paneer? Btw, these guys make the BEST Indo-Chinese food in Singapore! :P ~

#Virdi,
Oye tu kitna jalta hai re? Pehle mere haathon se? Phir meri job se? Phir mere Thums Up se? :/

//Lassi jaisi koi nahi

Hahahaha! :D

Hey, Chiranjeevi is one of the better ones, okay? Compared to the mucchad pot-bellied uncles we see in Tamil cinema. Although there is no muquabla of the younger ones - Siddharth, etc.

#Lalit,
Arre yaar, Singapore has a no tipping culture, so if I tip, the guy will take it as an insult and return the tip to me! But I will surely smile wider and be very very patient the next time I go there. And if I really like something, I will put it down in the feedback form, especially if a waiter was really good. :)

shub said...

goood lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
sheesh one lucky dame you are! :)
and do remember to pay it forward ;o) ...to me perhaps ;)
:))
must visit that restaurant soon...so far i've jsut been drooling at the pics on their site!

Clueless said...

:O

So cool!! 24 bottles of free Thums Up! Walouwe!

Me still in shock!! :O

I sooo wanna go to this place now! Really really! *sob* Next time we meet, can we go together? Quality time + good food = Time and money well spent!! Yeah? :D

Rays Of Sun said...

Oh wow!
Sahi re..mast
Lekin mujhe ek baat samjha nahi...
he came across ur blog and read review about the restaurant! Fine..
You dined there and left your email address.
How did he know that the blog belonged to you?You are of course not Ms. Sayesha at your work place..hai na??
Please mujhe samjhao.

Thanu said...

Wow... that is one nicest things ever happened. I'm all about leaving feedbacks too. I fill out comment cards of all hotels that I stay at.

Rays Of Sun said...

and if anyone from Bombay cafe is reading this, please let us know if you have branches:D. I can suggest that you open a branch in Omaha, USA..coz the Indian restaurants here suck!!!

HOTWINTER said...

You can send back a card to the restaurant manager at Singapore saying Thank You for your service and assure him that you will visit their restaurant with friends or family, the next time you visit Singapore.

Sayesha said...

#Shub,
Hehehe.. yes yes, I highly recommend the he gobhi manchurian, the mexican dosa, and the chilli paneer! :P ~

#Clueless,
It's actually 12 bottles of Thums Up and 12 bottles of Mangola, but what the heck, I got 24 bottles of free drinks!!! :D

ps: Arre you've never been to BC? Theek hai, we'll go the next time, okie? :)

#ROS,
Bacha, what I wrote on my blog, I'd also written in the feedback form re... he put two and two together. He got my email id from my blog.

#Thanu,
:)

#ROS,
Hahahaha! :D

#HOTWINTER,
Hmmm... That sounds like a good idea! :)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

WOWIES. good for you! After that unexpected denial to my request for the muffins, I won't even try to ask for thums up, although i really crave it, and have been away from india so long now, and never really get to drink it here....:'( :'(
mazzaa >> mangola.

oh! btw, there' s a"Bombay Cafe" where i live too. and they sometimes give me dessert on the house, or when i take a bunch of firangi friends there with me, bring us all appetizers on the house too.. nice people.

chitra said...

Hey...that's cool Sayesha !

ss said...

that was cool...njoy your thums up as long as it lasts.. :)

renegadefade said...

hmm.. that sounds a bit like ur first endorsement deal. congrats!

Kusum Rohra said...

Wallah!!! 24 free bottles ... Mez jalling too... but this was really cool yaar!!!

Jeevan Baretto said...

Next time you get ne such stuff as parcel, and you find it too much.. do give my address... ha ha..

Abhishek said...

thats something i shud learn now.
"neva fill feedback forms" (???)

Big Man said...

at last someone who knows the true meaning of customer service/ retention

hats off to him!!

virdi said...

abe hum logon ko tu kab degi??? free drinks... jaldi bhejo... i am also indian and want free drinks...

V...

toofani thanda said...

mera masoom sa comment delete karne wale,
Ja tujhko sukhi sansaar mile

:(

Tinku

Shekhar said...

Oye...awesome !! I'll surely quote this in my 'Services Marketing' class next trimester. This is really cool. Frankly, this post has taught me more about 'customer retention' than Kotler could have.

trups said...

wot yaar i am always last to comment :(

Sayesha said...

#Ipanema Girl,
Come visit Singapore, and I'll share the Thums Up with you! ;)
ps: All Bombay Cafes rock, eh? :)

#Chitra,
Yeah! :D

#SS,
Hehehe... I haven't even gotten started on them yet! :P

#Rene,
Ooooh never thought of it like that! :D Celebrity Sayesha! Yeayeayeay!!! :D

#Kusum,
Yaar you don't jalofy now, I don't have enough extinguisher for both Virdi and you! :)

#Jeevan,
Welcome to Sayeshaz! :)

//Next time you get ne such stuff as parcel, and you find it too much

What?! And have my friends disown me? Kabhi nahin! :D

#Abhi,
You should totally fill feedback forms! :)

#Big Man,
I second that! :)

#Virdi,
Chup kar! Din bhar jal bhun ke khaak hota rehta hai, aur nazar hai mere Thums Up par? Chal chal, hawa aane de! :P

#Tinku,
I have enough people bad-mouthing me on my blog. I shall not tolerate people bad-mouthing other people on my blog. That's why I deleted your comment.

#Shekhar,
True, I agree! :)

#Trupsster,
No bacha, I'm the one who always has the last word on each post! ;)

tinku said...

And i thot it was just a joke. Why wud i bad-mouth some people I don't even know from some restaurant I've never been to.

Tinku

Sayesha said...

#Tinku,
Exactly. This is supposed to be a post in celebration of their excellence. I will not have someone who doesn't even know them, to come and say they suck. I get that enough myself, and I know how it feels :(

tinku said...

Arre it was just a joke and not even a sophisticated one where they wudn't have got the humour. I didn't SAY they suck. You over-reacted and made me look like a bad mouther. I guess Im over-reacting too. Aisa kar orange juice ka ek peg bana aur thums up mila ke peeja. :/

Tinku

Sayesha said...

#Tinku,
OFFO, don't be such a chick! Fine, I will paste your comment back, and you can see for yourself whether you said they suck or not.

This is what you wrote:

If anyone from Bombay cafe reads this then let me tell you that you guys suck!


Khush? Mil gayi dil ko santushti?

I don't like this cybercafe Tinku. Bahut chick-type hai! :/

tinku said...

//Khush? Mil gayi dil ko santushti?

Bahut mast santushti mili hai re dil ko, dil baag baag ho ke Shalimar baag ho gaya hai. =))

Mast kudi hai re tu! Tune mera comment charon taraf se trim karke ek stand alone statement chipka di. =)) Now it appears I did SAY it. Tune ekdam sahi industry chose ki lekin area galat liya. Tujhe kids books mein nahin kisi newspaper mein editor hona chahiye tha. Kisi polititian ka interview lo aur interview mein se kuch statements choose karo and remove the context in which the statements were made and pull out a scoop. =)) Oye in the previous comment I stressed the word SAY so as to mean "I didn't SAY(mean) they suck". I said it but I didn't SAY it and..and ...and..ab baal ki khaal poori tarah se nikal gayi hai, aur kuch nikalne ko raha nahin =)) .

ps: for the last time I didnt SAY it. =))

pps: Im not in a cyber-cafe. However much you wanted me to, I didn't leave =)). Person jaunga. Kush hai? Khush reh.

Tinku(who didn't SAY it)

Sayesha said...

#Tinku,
Sheesh! Baal ki khaal nikaalne mein toh tu ROS se bhi aage nikal gaya! The tiara passes on to Tinku! You're the queen now. Khush?

I felt that your comment was neither funny nor relevant. If anything, it was unappreciative of the gesture by Bombay Cafe. And that's why I deleted it, because they surely don't deserve things like that - not on this post of mine at least, which is supposed to be a celebratory one. If you'd gone to BC and then made that remark, that would have been fine. Lekin aise hi ghar par baithe baithe kuchh bhi bakwaas review nahin de sakta tu.

Comment delete kiya toh tu chillane laga. Bola I didn't say it. You did say it wala part waapas chipkaya toh phir chillane laga. Offo some people can never be happy. :/

Ja re tu... paagal kar diya... hawa aane de re mere bar mein... :)

Bye, Tinku! (Who did SAY it!)

Raj said...

That was great!!

You really are getting famous day by day!!

And Bombay Cafe too seems to be quite a place.

Enjoy ur Thums Up while it lasts! :)

Bonatellis said...

so if we come down to singy, do we get treated to free lunch :)

tinku said...

Phew! Ab to tune baal ki khaal ki bhi khaal nikal di!

Same word can have different meanings in different contexts like normal talk, humour, sarcasm etc.

If someone from your univ walks up to you, smiles at you, congratulates you and says that he wants to see you dead because you always score better grades and steal his top rank. Will you run towards the police station and tell the cops that your life is in danger? =)) Or will you accept the compliment gracefully?

I said 'they suck' in a different context.

And I pass the tiara back to you. You are the rightfull owner of it, neither Ros nor me.:/

bye, Sayesha!(Miss Baal-Khaal-Nikaal)

Sayesha said...

#Raj,
Hehehe! Thanks thanks! :P

#Bonatellis,
Anything for you, future boss! :)

#Tinku,
I have one thing to say to you.

OFFO! :/

And I refuse to carry on with this conversation any more.

dhoomketu said...

How I wish sweet bengal owner will come to my house and drop 24 sondesh, or the tiffin guy would come and give me 24 desserts.... But it doesn't happen. Sad. :-(

Sayesha said...

#Dhoomketu,
Welcome to Sayeshaz! :) Why dun ya try blogging about your sweet bengal owner? ;)

dhoomketu said...

Thanks for the welcome. I did blog about it. However, don't think he is into reading blogs. Even a desipundit mention didn't make me richer by a few sondesh!

Sayesha said...

#Dhoomketu,
Take a printout and show it to him. And then casually mention, "Dada ek kilo sondesh pack kar dena." ;)

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