My friend, Pushpa Upadhyay had added me to this page/group called W3- Women, Weave, World because she knows my penchant for saris. For some time I just checked out the various posts and admired the beautiful saris that many of the women wore. I started noticing that a certain Venkatesh Narasimhan was talking about weaves, old designs etc and about Co-optex. I do know the brand, it’s the government run, weavers association of TamilNadu. I have been to a Co-optex showroom 20 years back when we lived in Chennai and even then the experience was nothing extraordinary.
For me Kumaran stores in T. Nagar is my ultimate destination for saris and I usually just land up there. I do buy in other places, but most of my saris have been bought at Kumaran stores. I didn’t see many of the women mention Kumaran stores on the W3 page and I didn’t post any pictures till recently. About 10 days back, I realised that Venkatesh Narasimhan was an IAS officer who has revived and revitalized Co-optex ! It coincided with his post about the Co-Optex exhibition at Bangalore, where he was requesting everyone to visit. As part of the pictures of different saris that had been posted I found this golden yellow Arani silk with a beautiful Dharmavaram type border. It was a stunning sari so I just posted my query as a comment asking if that sari was available online. In 10 minutes Mr. Venkatesh Narasimhan responded saying I should get in touch with the DGM Mr. Ravi who can help me with the purchase and that it was not available online.
The last time that an IAS officer had responded that quickly to any query was in Himachal Pradesh in April last year !! I immediately called Mr. Ravi and he said, the sari was available at Chennai and that he will call me on Monday since he was at the Bangalore exhibition. Yes, you guessed it right, I got the call as promised on Monday and he said, they can put it up online so that I can buy it. He told me that Mr. Kumaran from the online team will call me and help me out. A couple of days went by and I didn’t get any call from the online team. Then we were going to Bangalore on Sunday so I pinged Mr. Ravi on the way to ask if the sari was at the Bangalore showroom and if I can collect it. He immediately responded on Whatsapp, saying the sari was only available at Chennai and apparently the online team had been trying my number on Wednesday p, the previous week, as planned but I hadn’t received the calls. Then I asked him where the Bangalore showroom was and he told me the place and also mentioned the fact that it was a Sunday so the showroom would be closed. I apologised for bugging him on Sunday and requested Mr. Kumaran to call me on Monday. His answer to my apology deserves an award for customer service – “it’s no problem madam, it’s a pleasure to be of help”.
Mr. Kumaran called as planned on Monday and since we were at Coorg, I told him I will call on Wednesday and close the transaction. He had already placed the sari I wanted as an out of stock item and when I called him on Wednesday he quickly allowed me to buy it. I bought a Madurai Sungadi cotton sari as well and was checking with Mr. Kumaran as to when it will get delivered. He said within three days and I have the saris with me today. :):):):)
I am beyond thrilled – Mr. Venkatesh Narasimhan has revitalised an 80 year old government organization and has taken the pains to figure out old patterns, engage with his customers using social media and infuse his team with a sense of pride. A really nice touch they have introduced is to attach a card with details of the weaver who has woven that particular sari. Just outstanding. To the entire Co-optex team, a big thank you for giving me a superb Indian case study on customer service done well and Mr. Venkatesh Narasimhan, you have shown the change that one man can bring when he puts his genuine efforts into a project/organization. Hats off and you have a diehard Co-optex fan in me now.
Can’t wait to wear the saris and post the pictures :).