Zomato a small competitor to Burrp in the early years, when I actually began writing on their platform on a whim – the story is best told by Anand the ex CTO and co founder of Burrp.

Over the years, the relationship evolved, surprising me constantly with the consistency; so much so that when Burrp tried to woo me with freebies, it really did not matter.

Of course there were hiccups, with restaurants pretending to host a Zomato approved evening; when they had a policy of not doing that – Deepinder himself addressed it, always saying that their consumers came first. Larger instances of small vouchers which were expired:) or in some godforsaken place did not matter. Small instances, quick responses, some wishes and quicker turnarounds, still kept me glued. As I have repeatedly said “I am a sucker for service recovery and relationship. Discounts and offers are a distant second”

At some point there was this back of my mind that it was too good to last. Will it work when they start looking at serious revenue.

Online order long awaited and was launched. With a different App? I tweeted about it and was assured that the native app will be integrated but this is for new users who may just want to order online. Fair enough.

Restaurant integration etc etc all fine – add on to provide end to end service, great it does not affect me. Problems faced with Online ordering was tried to be sorted in the early days, but was fine.

They were better compared to Tiny Owl so no complaints – in fact I was called out by people saying, I was being paid to thrash competitors to Zomato.

In July, an online order was rejected, the online team called up giving multiple vague excuses. I ordered directly and it was delivered, with the restaurant blaming Zomato, which was shared and I received the standard, We will look into it.

So, continued to order from known places only – given the fact that it is sheer convenience for me as elders at home do not have to pay, because the location where I stay, everybody delivers faster if ordered directly.

This weekend led to multiple orders; decently delivered – No complaints. On Monday I saw a couple of tweets saying 20% off during weekend.

Tweeted to ZomatoIn citing the unfairness of it, was told that somebody from the Online team would reach out to me.

Yes, they did and the conversation went something like this:

Z: Good evening, Am I speaking to Anaaaagh
M: Yes, this is he
Z: I am abcd from Zomato online team, want to talk about your complaint tweet.
M: Yeah, go ahead.
Z: What is the problem, may I know.
M: If you’ve read the tweets, you would know.
Z: This was applicable only to Zomato Order App users.
M: Sure, but is it fair that, the more regular and older patrons are left out.
Z: No but it is for that App only and you must be using the native app.
M: I understand that, but both are your apps and the Native is more comprehensive, so why penalise me
Z: That is to acquire customers
M: What about the customers you already have?
Z: No but the offer is not on native. So, what we will do is give you Rs. 100/- credit.
M: Pardon me, what did you say?
Z: Repeated the Rs. 100/- credit offer.
M: You seriously think I am wasting my time for Rs. 100/- Have you checked my orders? Why would you want to give me some ridiculous voucher.
(Till here, it looked like a standard script, but what was said took my goat)
Z: No but we are offering Rs. 100/-
M: I don’t want your damn Rs. 100/- bucks, just an answer to why the discrimination to your native app users?
Z: Ok, So what do you want us to do now.
M: I think we are talking at cross purposes here, so the only thing I can say is “Forget it”
Z: What about the Rs. 100/-
M: Don’t you dare credit my account with that sum, otherwise you do not know what I might end up doing.

Are my expectations very high?

1) Yes. If I have been a loyal user, your analytics since you are in the ‘New Age Technology Disruptive Space’ should have told have alerted and told your executive on how to handle. Even a Shetty place knows and differentiates its customers and treats them accordingly. If the policy is not to do so, then it is time to smell the coffee.

2) Yes. Why would you penalise a person for using your own Native App which is far more convenient and integrated with ordering.

3) Yes. I always thought that customer relationship was a differentiator for you; looks you have also gone into the ‘Wide Funnel Acquisition’ mode, thinking about customer life cycle; at the same time giving the existing ones a miss.

4) Yes. Communication. Communication. Communication. – The easiest way to ensure that users of native app would DL online order app if they wanted discount. (Not that I would do so, because to me it reeks of point 2)

But, I guess that is the way business is moving, and you need to keep pace. Of course, I have other opinions about Restaurant Partners and Summit but, that is a business decision.

For those who asked: Will I stop using zomato? No why should I? But yes, Now I explore other options before deciding which is the best and then order.

 

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Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends