Most of us like the Vodafone Zoozoos and the Airtel tune - signature elements of two of our leading telecom operators' advertising campaigns! Yet, how I wish these giants know how to spell "customer service"!
Sample my experience -
I had a Vodafone number in Bangalore until April 2010. So, When I came back to the city exactly an year later, decided to get the same number back. I approached the Vodafone store in Koramangala to see if it was possible. A "Customer care" executive with a badge that read "Happy to help you" took down my request and said, there was a technical issue with the old SIM but I shall get my old number in a day's time. Exactly a day later, I went to the same guy. He said, "The IT department have not mailed me back" as if it matters to me! Another day passed by, still no progress! I decided to get a new number, perhaps that was a mistake I did...!
Now the story with my new number - I got this number again at the same Vodafone store in Koramangala submitting documents for ID and Address proof that were verified by the staff there. One week after this new SIM was activated, I got a message that said, I needed to submit documents at the nearest store, else my outgoing calls would be barred. I ignored it since I thought, I had submitted my documents right the first time around. But, true to the message, outgoing calls stopped going through. Upon calling customer care, I was asked to "resubmit" my documents. When I asked the "agent" to give an explanation, his stoic gentlemanly response was, he can't help!
I made another visit to the store, submitted my documents, was told that outgoing calls would be restored within 24 hours. Again, another instance of building false expectations! The calls were restored after a little less than 48 hours only. I thought my tryst with this store was done once and for all but I was sadly mistaken for I lost my SIM on the night of May 10. So, I had to make another visit yesterday morning for a duplicate one.
This time, even after 36 long hours, outgoing calls are still not going through and I know not what documents I need to "resubmit". If this is the "customer care" demonstrated by Vodafone, its competitor Airtel is no better as you will read below...
It is a well known fact in Bangalore that the broadband connections of BSNL and Airtel are reasonably good. Since BSNL still operates in an old fashioned manner taking its own sweet time, I decided to try Airtel. Seeing their advertisement on top of one "Microcomp solutions" in Jayanagar, I went in, gave my address and contact number. The very next day, I was called by their "sales executive" and to my surprise, he visited me at the house, got the application filled, took the rent for the first month and gave an acknowledgment.
Then the wait started. When nobody visited for the next 3 days to give the connection, I called them and was told that there was a "technical issue". When probed, the response was "Feasibility is there, but ports are currently not available. We are waiting for cancellations". A week passed and nothing happened. I called again and this time, I was told that I had to wait for 3 more days. I decided that I have had enough and called up customer care. To my shock, the "agent" informed me that my application had been canceled a few days back! When I narrated my experience of waiting for port availability until then, he said that, I had taken a wrong channel - "you have made the mistake of not going through customer care and have contacted the sales executive directly! You will be refunded the rent amount in a week's time!"
4 days passed and I prayed that at least the refund comes on time! Instead, I got a message on my mobile that said, "You will receive the broadband installation soon" Flabbergasted, I waited. On Saturday morning, a person visited just to get the cable in, followed by another guy in the evening who said, there is a problem with the cable - effectively meaning that the guy who had visited earlier in the day had done a shoddy job! Surprising thing was he had got a used modem with him and he tried to sell it to me for 500 rupees, his reasoning being, a new one would cost me 250 more. Fortunately, he couldn't activate the connection that day!
If two of the country's apparently leading telecom operators "serve" customers in this manner, I am sorry to say that, all of us are being taken for a ride! If we keep quiet, all these customer care executives, sales executives and customer care agents will get a field day!!