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New Delhi: Online food delivery company Zomato on Tuesday, October 19 issued an apology on Twitter after a customer’s complaint about a conversation with a customer service executive went viral on Twitter, the Indian Express reported.
On Tuesday, a Twitter user posted on the social media platform detailing an interaction he had with a Zomato customer service executive wherein he was asking for a refund along with screenshots of the chat.
Ordered food in zomato and an item was missed. Customer care says amount can’t be refunded as I didn’t know Hindi. Also takes lesson that being an Indian I should know Hindi. Tagged me a liar as he didn’t know Tamil. @zomato not the way you talk to a customer. @zomatocare pic.twitter.com/gJ04DNKM7w
— Vikash (@Vikash67456607) October 18, 2021
According to the screenshots, the customer, Vikash was trying to get a refund from the concerned restaurant for an item which had not been delivered but was told to contact Zomato’s customer service and demand a refund from them.
When he asked the Zomato executive to confirm this with the restaurant, the executive noted that he tried calling them five times but was unable to do so because of a “language barrier”.
In response, Vikash remarked that, if the company was operating in Tamil Nadu, it should hire personnel who speak Tamil. This prompted the executive to remark that Hindi is “our national language” and that it is “very common that everybody should know Hindi”.
Finally, the executive replied on the chat saying, “We are really sorry for the trouble caused but there is no way that we can compensate you with anything except an apology for this unfortunate instance,” the News Minute reported.
The tweet also alleged that the refund could not be completed because Vikash didn’t know Hindi. Addressing the company, Vikash noted that this was “not the way you talk to a customer”.
The tweet went viral soon after it was posted, having garnered 3,544 retweets and 7,124 likes by the time of reporting. Further, the hashtags #Reject_Zomato and #StopHindiImposition started trending on the social media platform.
Even Dharampuri MP Senthilkumar voiced his opinion on Twitter, asking when Hindi became the national language and demanding an apology from the company.
Why should the customer in Tamil Nadu know hindi and on what grounds did you advise your customer that he should atleast know a little of Hindi.
Kindly address your customer’s problem and apologize. https://t.co/KLYW7kRVXT
— Dr.Senthilkumar.S (@DrSenthil_MDRD) October 18, 2021
Hindi is one of the official languages detailed in Article 343 of the Indian constitution but has not been designated as the “national language” in any official capacity. There has always been stringent opposition from south Indian states to the imposition of the Hindi language on people who speak other regional languages.
Zomato’s official Twitter handle issued an apology to Vikash for the “agent’s” behaviour and appended the company’s official statement on the issue.
Vanakkam Vikash, we apologise for our customer care agent’s behaviour. Here’s our official statement on this incident. We hope you give us a chance to serve you better next time.
— zomato (@zomato) October 19, 2021
The statement noted that the company has “terminated the agent for their negligence towards our diverse culture” and that the agent’s behaviour was against the company’s “principles of sensitivity”.
It also noted that the company is currently building a Tamil version of their app and that it has already “localised marketing communication in Tamil for the state”.
Several people on social media, however, argued that firing the employee was a cop out – instead, the company should take responsibility for training its employees better.
Soon after the news spread of the agent being let go, Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal tweeted saying that an “ignorant mistake” was not reason enough to fire someone. Goyal also appeared to criticise those who had made an issue out of the interaction, saying, “The level of tolerance and chill in our country needs to be way higher than it is nowadays.”
And remember, our call centre agents are young people, who are at the start of their learning curves and careers. They are not experts on languages and regional sentiments. Nor am I, btw.
— Deepinder Goyal (@deepigoyal) October 19, 2021
Goyal also said that Zomato “loves Tamil Nadu” as much as it loves the rest of the country, saying , “…we should all tolerate each other’s imperfections. And appreciate each other’s language and regional sentiments. Tamil Nadu – we love you. Just as much as we love the rest of the country. Not more, not less. We are all the same, as much as we are different.”