Ixigo Employees Had Lent The Company Money To Refund Customers During Covid, Reveals CEO

Most companies give out early salaries to employees if they’re facing a crisis, or if they have an urgent need for funds, but an Indian company’s employees also had bailed out the company when it was in trouble.

Ixigo employees had pitched in and lent the company money in order to refund customers during Covid, CEO Aloke Bajpai has revealed. When the lockdowns were first announced, there was a rush of people cancelling tickets and asking for refunds. This meant that Ixigo didn’t have enough money in its accounts to be able to return money to all customers. At that point, Ixigo turned to its employees for help.

“We post(ed) a desperate plea on our slack to ask our team of (employees) to crowdsource Rs. 30 lakh into the company account to keep instant refunds going,” Bajpai postedon X. He shared a screenshot of a message his team had sent to Ixigo employees on 15th March 2020. “Hi @channel. We need your urgent help. We process instant refund to our customers using our Axis bank account through UPI. Due to sudden spurt in refunds volume over the weekend due to COVID-19, the balance maintained in that account is about to exhaust & due to weekend we are not able to transfer funds from our other bank accounts. If we are not able to process timely, the customer experience (which all you can understand is so important to maintain in these difficult times) would (be) badly impact(ed). Therefore, if you transfer funds from your personal bank account to below mentioned our bank account using IMPS/NEFT, it would be of great help & would go a long way in serving our customer interests,” the message said.

“Ixigems responded with great fervour and within a couple of hours we fill the deficit,” Bajpai says. “In fact, we overachieved what we needed to collect from our team and we returned it to them the very next day once the PGs settled the money to us,” he added.

The quick work by Ixigo employees enabled Ixigo to continue offering refunds to customers even during the peak of the coronavirus lockdowns. The company returned the favour to employees — even though it slashed salaries during the pandemic, it didn’t lay off any of its workforce, and reinstated employee salaries to their pre-pandemic levels in July 2020. Bajpai says it wasn’t necessary for them to process customer refunds immediately — several OTAs had delayed refunds during the pandemic — but Ixigo wanted to make sure customers weren’t inconvenienced. “People remember how you treat them in the worse of times,” he says. “We decide not to turn off refunds as we don’t want to make even a single customer wait for a day.”