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Zomato chief reinstates employee; calls for ‘tolerance’ in language saga

BENGALURU :

Foodtech company Zomato Ltd.’s chief executive Deepinder Goyal tweeted on Tuesday that his company has reinstated the customer care agent it had sacked just hours earlier for allegedly denying a customer a refund on grounds of not knowing a little Hindi.

Zomato landed in a controversy on Tuesday after a customer from Tamil Nadu alleged he was denied a refund since he did not know Hindi, and posted screenshots of the conversation with the customer care agent. 

The tweet by Vikash, the customer, went viral: “Ordered food in zomato and an item was missed. Customer care says (the) 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.”

The tweet from the customer led to triggering the controversy, with hashtags ‘Reject_Zomato’ and ‘ZomatoSpeakTamil’ trending on Twitter on Tuesday morning.  

In response, Zomato issued written apologies to the customer on the micro-blogging website. “We are sorry for the behaviour of our customer care agent, we have terminated the agent for their negligence towards our diverse culture. The termination is in line with our protocols, and agent’s behaviour was clearly against the principles of sensitivity that we train our agents for on a regular basis,” said Zomato in a written response.

Two hours later, Zomato chief Goyal came out in defence of the employee, and took to micro-blogging website Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, asking for higher ‘tolerance’ in the country, and calling the issue an ‘ignorant mistake’ in the support centre.

 “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?,” Goyal said in his tweet. “On that note, we are reinstating the agent – this alone is not something she should have been fired for. This is easily something she can learn and do better about going forward,” added Goyal. 

 “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 […] Having said that, we should all tolerate each other’s imperfections. And appreciate each other’s language and regional sentiments,” said Goyal in a series of tweets.  

Zomato Ltd.’s stock price on Tuesday fell to a day low of ₹137.25 apiece, after opening at a high of ₹144.9 apiece on Tuesday morning. Its stock price closed at ₹138.55 apiece, during closing trade on Tuesday.

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