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 Makemytrip.com 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,
http://theanomalies.blogspot.com 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.



Puneeth said...

In the rush to building their subscriber base, these things are getting left out. Doing nothing on the infra end and adding number of people has added more to the woes. Any number of mails would do no good. The very fact I switched on to Airtel from Hutch was because of the poor customer service and network quality. Am facing the same problems with Airtel too. A classic case of "Known devil is better than unkown angel". We need to be reminded of it, time and again :(. Great Indian telecom story huh!

Spectator said...

i had similar kinda experience with TATA Indicom broadband. my speed was 256 kbps (n i was paying for that only) n once just for the fun sake i wrote such kinda letter to management. it turned out something like this: they increased my bandwidth to 1.5 MBPS n i m still paying for 256 !!!!

Anindya said...

I, Anindya Sunder Sen have been an Airtel Subscriber for past two years. (Mobile No: 09831424798)

I would like to bring to your notice about the esteemed service provided by the Customer Care department of the stated organization

It all started on 17th February, 2008(Sunday) when I noticed that an amount of Rs 30 has been deducted from my current balance. (I had a balance of Rs 100.35 which was reduced to Rs 70.35).

On, 18th February, 2008(Monday), I called Customer Care (CC) (09831012345) from Durgapur, WB and prompt reply was given to me by the experts—“Your request is in process, Please call after two hours”

On Monday I managed to call at least 4 times, during my third call to CC a technical support representative (female) finally sought out my problem that I had activated Hello Tunes and a monthly rental of Rs 30 had been deducted from my balance.

To my severe disbelief (as I had not activated any Hello Tunes or anything like that) I once again called back CC, and during one of my successive attempts I managed to talk to the Technical Supervisor, who after a long interrogation found that the fault was on their side and registered a complaint against my number and promised me to refund back my 30 Rs within the next two hours.

I waited till Tuesday morning and yet seeing that no refund was made I called Customer Care again and then I was told a new story that my complaint is already registered with them but their server was down so I had no options but to wait for another two hours.

On Tuesday I called CC 4-5 times and similarly on Wednesday another 4-5 times but I was to remember that server side problems always took more than two days to make up!!!!

The same server side problem crapped up on Thursday,21st February, 2008 and being quite irritated, I finally asked CC what could be a probable answer to my problem, the first and the best solution offered to me was to wait for another dreaded two hours while a second better option was to bring forward the problem to their head office at Park Street, Kolkata.

Today is Friday, 22nd February, 2008, 11:55 am and neither I have got any refund nor have It made a call to CC yet. This is clear indication from the Company’s side that I must try some other carrier if I want better service than I have received in this case.

In this short span of five days I managed to call CC around 25-30 times and I conversed with quite a number of Airtel employees Ms Barnana, Ms Priya, Ms Debanjali, Mr Suman………. I am sorry if I can’t remember everyone’s name I talked with…………… and I specially remember Ms Dipannita and Mr Soumitra, who after receiving my call and keeping me on hold for about five minutes just disconnected my call—after all it is the usual procedure followed to deal with customers and I must say they just care for the customers at Customer Care.

Anindya Sunder Sen

Email id : anindya56@gamil.com
Mobile No: 09831424798

Danielle said...

I just hope that Airtel would consider all the things that you've said in this letter. I am quite sure they will because its for their own good and for the progress of their company. By the way, thank you for sharing us this one. Keep safe.


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Lavanya Sethi said...

I have recently bought an airtel 3G dongle and I have been harrased to the extreme point with pathetic speeds. At times it stops downloading and automatically disconnets thereafter refusing to connects for hours and sometimes even for a while day !!
Customer Care number: 1800 103 0405 is a bogus number. It doesn't work and after select options 1 (for airtel 3 dongle support), 2 (for english), 1 (for postpaid) it just disconnects.
I am fed up and with the services and will be taking appropriate action in a few days. Also it has billed me for 5000 + INR when my credit limit itself is lower than 2500 INR. and i find no justification to the billed amount!
Please, i urge all consumers not to subscribe to airtel 3G services!
I have even filed a complaint against them on their site as well as at Consumer Court site but so far no action has been taken on this case.