Thursday, October 19, 2006

Justice to Imrana!

The injustice against Imrana had forced my debut in the blogger's world. It is heartwarming to find today that her father-in-law has finally been convicted today by a local court in Muzaffarnagar.

It seems as if these are the days of justice being finally meted out to Indians, who have been badly beaten and bruised by the their own judicial system. Only yesterday, Santosh Singh was convicted in 10 year old Priyadarshini Mattoo case.

Some pro-activity by media - innovative campaigns to gain a few points in TRP ratings - whatever, has certainly helped Indian public. People are getting together in supporting these causes. Youth of India has suddenly realized the role it can play in solving India's long-standing problems - call it the "Rang-De-Basanti effect", if you will!

When NDTV launched its SMS campaign in support of a retrial of Jessica Lall murder case, which generated humungous response from all over the country (resulting in 211904 responses so far!), no one expected things to snowball so much.

However, even if a few widely publicised cases do end up in justice due to media intervention, there are crores of others perishing in files and procedure. Witnesses turning hostile - up to the extent of contempt of court (as in Nitish Katara case) under pressure is common.

Of course, Indian media cannot replace (or even exceed) judicial delivery system. Even if it creates an illusion of being better in a few cases in wide public knowledge. What it does create, is a real confidence among the youth that whenver we all get our acts together, we are capable of making a difference to each of our lives.

"...capable of making a difference to each of our lives!" Nice thought to live for, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Extremely Poor service by Airtel KK / 9880826363

[An open letter to Airtel KK for the 'customer experience' I have had.]

Dear Airtel people,

It would have been great if I could start this email with "I am very happy to say that I am disconnecting my Airtel mobile connection and registering with a rival operator". Unfortunately, I have huge intertia against doing that even though the mood remains the same.

This is a case of utterly poor service by Airtel. And most probably this is the 'normal case' scenario. I ams so pissed with this that believe me I can't imagine myself in the 'worst case'.

There are three parts of the story:

1) I lost a mobile phone on 4th April 2006, Sunday. After ample number of calls, finally my incoming got activated in two working days (Tuesday). Outgoing local and outgoing STD took two more days to be done. I thought this was only the case with me and that I was unfortunate that this happened on a Sunday when most shops are closed (Can you explain why should shops be closed on a Sunday?)

2) My worst experience with Airtel was when for some strange reason, my SIM card got destroyed while I was roaming in TN circle. That was 9th, a Sat and as the organizational structure stands today, I cannot expect Airtel KK people to service me in Airtel TN (Question this: Why can't they be integrated from customer's perspective?). The next day was a Sunday. I called customer care to get address of an Airtel outlet in Indiranagar which is open on Sunday. When I reached this place (2nd Main, BDA complex), I was told that this shop remains closed ALWAYS on Sunday. Gosh!

In the evening, I found an Airtel office open on Airport road (opp Leela Palace). I went inside and the person was surprisingly polite. He noted my number, I filled a form and took a SIM card happily with an assurance of activation early next morning. Little did I know that this poor guy's computer will not work for two days. This is what I was told by the customer care. I had spent two days out of service and was getting desperate. When I called the customer care up, this guy asked me to send an email from the official ID and also wait for Airtel office to punch the number in.

Even earlier, I had found similar things. Even for a simple thing like roaming activation, a corporate customer had to forward an email from the rep at the office for some strange reason. I waited till the evening. When I called customer care, the person asked me to wait a little longer. I was already getting impatient.

The worst happened when even till Tuesday morning, the activation had not taken place. When I called CC again, they gave me the same response. On my asking why, they said this is for them to get the SIM number. Now, I had already given the SIM number to then twice before. This afternoon was the first time in years when I was so outraged that I did not know what to speak. I desperately wished this person was in front of me. Still, I asked firmly but politely to connect me to a more responsible person in the call center. It was only now that I saw real action taking place - my SIM magically got activated within next one HOUR! All I am left is with a thinking why should organizations make stuff as simple as a click so complex and process driven such that it is the customer who has to bear the burden of it.

3) Then it was the case with Airtel's FFO. With much fanfare, you had launched FFO in Dec 2005. I registered myself in Feb 2006 and patiently waited till May 2006 when the offer would have got matured. I lost count of calls I had made to Airtel in June, July and August. Everytime I reached customer care, I got an assurance to wait for a few more days. First it was late June, then early July, then late July, then mid August and finally the coveted voucher arrived on 27th Aug 2006!

To my surprise, you had ensured that the customer does not make any travel at all. Can you explain these:

a) If there was a travel to be arranged, how can you expect a person to travel to 'any one of three' destinations? It is either one particular place, or something very nearby, or nothing at all! How can you expect someone to travel just for the sake of it?

b) If even the dates are undecided, how can you expect a working person to leisurely plan according to YOUR convenience?

c) You give a notice period of just two months for the travel to be completed. In most cases, it takes more than a month's time for anyone to get his leaves sanctioned. How can you expect people to just travel at such a short notice?

All hell broke lose when I discovered that I should have got a call from InfoVision solutions or in mid Sep. Of course, if the travel has to take place in mid-Oct, one needs to know about the destination and date by end of Sep, in worst case.

When I call the customer care, I got a typed reply - "Sir, I have registered your complaint and my system tells me that you will get the response in 10 working days". Gosh! Do you know what that come to - 17th Oct. This is the date when I am supposed to take the flight!

Guys, are you aware what kind of foolishly planned scheme this has been? A result of some purely Tughlaqi idea, this scheme was withdrawn soon after it was started. The worst part is that as a responsible organization you did not feel the need to continue your support for all the existing subscribers of this scheme. For example, the service at number 2006 was withdrawn in mid-Aug without any intimations!

You know, I am ashamed now when I defend my choice of Airtel over other (cheaper) operators. The kind of service I have received in past few months has been pathetic, if not worse.

I can't explain all this myself. If I had been a responsible manager reading this email, I would have immediately called for an internal inquiry into all these questions. However, given the past record (a little glimpse of it above), I cannot expect any such thing to happen with Airtel KK.

I don't think if this email would ever reach a responsible senior officer at Airtel KK. And it is for this reason that I am also posting the same on my blog, where I can create public awareness about the level of service Airtel is offering.

I am not asking for an explanation. All this is not an anomaly in Airtel's service. This is an honest feedback that I wish to make for Airtel. It is upto them to take it or leave it.