Zomato, a leading app-based food delivery company and restaurant aggregator, was widely panned by the Twitterati after one of its call centre staff told a Tamil Nadu customer that she had a “language barrier” and that he should know Hindi.
“For your kind information Hindi is our national language. So, it is very common that everybody should know Hindi a little bit,” she told the customer Vikash, who had sought a refund over non-delivery of a pepper chicken dish he had ordered on Monday.
Clearly rattled by the unnamed call centre staff’s response, Vikash took to Twitter to narrate his plight. Within hours, the Twitterati erupted in rightful indignation questioning the staff’s ignorant claim that Hindi was India’s national language, and trended the hashtags #BoycottZomata, #RejectZomato and #HindiIsNotNationalLanguage on the micro blogging site.
DMK MP Kanimozhi and many other elected leaders from Tamil Nadu too took offence at Zomato’s stand. They said Zomato must learn to serve its customers in their regional language.
On Tuesday, Zomato tweeted a statement in English and Tamil expressing regret for the incident and said the services of the customer service agent have been terminated. “The termination is in line with our protocols, and the agent’s behaviour was against the principles of sensitivity that we inculcate in our agents on a regular basis. The agent’s statements do not represent the company’s stance towards language and diversity,” the statement said.
Zomato added that it is building a Tamil version of its app and is setting up a “local Tamil call/support centre in Coimbatore.”
While response to the company’s action was varied with some questioning the need for terminating the services of the “agent,” instead of training them, Zomato co-founder Deepinder Goyal added another twist. A couple of hours after the company statement was issued, he tweeted that the employee is being reinstated.
However, far from dousing the raging controversy, Goyal added to it by saying: “An ignorant mistake by someone in a support centre of a food delivery company became a national issue. The level of tolerance and chill in our country needs to be way higher than it is nowadays. Who’s to be blamed here?”
Many took to Twitter again to say that Goyal’s response was arrogant and worse than the behaviour of the employee.