It’s been three months since I joined Headphone Zone in January, 2016. It already feels like I have been working here since forever. My experience here has been nothing that I expected it to be. The culture is unique, the people are unique, and the office is unique.
There are a hundred things that I have learnt here but there are two things that stand out the most. I found about the realities of customer fraud and I faced the consequences of having a big mouth.
I joined Headphone Zone as an e-commerce strategist working on developing our business on platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and others, without the slightest idea of what e-commerce entails. I learned not only about the booming e-commerce space in India, but a lot lot more. It is funny how years of education cannot teach you what a few months at a young and growing company can.
Let me start with the customer fraud bit first. All my life, I thought that it is always the seller who was wrong. That's probably because, being a shopper, I never saw things from the seller's point of view. I was never exposed to the idea of customer fraud. I was introduced to this harsh reality at Headphone Zone and how!
Just to give you an idea, we have kilos of whey protein lying at our warehouse which we received as returns from customers in place of earphones. Isn't that simply ridiculous? People buy expensive earphones from the online portals and send back, as returns, cheap road-side earphones or their old used earphones or boxes of whey protein or just about anything. People place orders, open the box, try the earphones and return it once they’ve “experienced” it.
It saddens me to deal with such cases every day at work and wonder what joy people get out of it. When we do not entertain such cases, they threaten to write a bad review on social media and never buy anything from us again. I used to wonder how the same online shop can have a 5-star rating as well as a 1-star rating. It is the same company after all, same processes, same people, same system. I guess I have my answer now. I am not saying that reviews are not reliable or all reviews are illegitimate. Yes, we do screw up sometimes, it is human error sometimes even system error. If we screw up, we unconditionally send a cake to customers as a token of our appreciation for their patience and understanding.
After spending 3 months here, I am able to figure out the difference between a genuine review and a fake review. This knowledge has not only helped me as an employee of Headphone Zone but also as an online shopper outside of work.
Coming to the second learning: experiencing the consequences of having a big mouth. So, Headphone Zone has been wanting to hire for the longest time but just could not find the right candidate for the job. Tiring of taking interview after interview, Raghav asked me what my opinion on recruitment was and I opened my big mouth and told him everything that I thought was wrong with our hiring process.
Next thing I know, I was made in charge of hiring! I was taking interviews in addition to my routine work of the online portals. Who would’ve thought that one could be an HR as well as an e-commerce strategist? I guess that is how a start-up works. This is an experience that you seldom get in a firm which has departments and specialists and experts.
Here everyone almost always gets an equal opportunity to work on anything and everything that interests them. Though it is not as easy as it sounds, as there are only so many hours in a day and to juggle everything at once is quite a task. But at the end of the day when you have done your best and your work is appreciated, it’s absolutely worth all the trouble.
I joined Headphone Zone hoping to learn about e-commerce, but that turned out to be a very tiny part of my learning experience. And I have a feeling that this is just the beginning. I can’t even begin to imagine the things I'm yet to learn and discover. I don’t know what other roles I may be given in the days to come. But I'm actually glad that I don’t, because that’s the fun part of the job!
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