This is the final email I wrote to Airtel, please read on.......:
This is with extreme dissatisfaction that I write to you. Last 2 weeks has been more than a nightmare for an Airtel loyal customer (having a Corporate Connection for the last 2 years).
Here is my case:
1. Took Airtel Corporate (IBM CUG Plan) connection in Pune (Number: 9860408878).
• Charged Rs.250 upfront as connection charge (without providing any service); unlike my previous corporate connection ISD not pre-activated; further to add to the woes: activation not allowed if the connection is not 3 moths old. Alternative: Pay Rs 1500 in the local ARC to activate ISD.
• Different Circles Different Customer Experiences.
2. Soon OG was barred due to AV failure.
• Reason as per my Interaction History: “Spoken to customer, said he is in Training, cannot meet.”
• Actual Reason: Nobody reached me to perform the AV. The alternate number given was also an existing Airtel Delhi number (Number: 9818058375). The aforementioned reason is a standard text (Cut-Copy-Paste); the same was quoted in the Interaction History of my colleagues’ mobile also (Number: 9860131602). Pretty sure if a report is generated; you might find more cases where similar reasons have been quoted.
• No SR could be raised against the AV agency, for the dubious act.
3. Called the Call Centre to request for another AV
• Outcome Promised: AV would be done and OG would be restored within a day.
• Actual Outcome: Connection disconnected, cannot even call the call centre (121). Had to repeatedly call with my alternate roaming Airtel connection; yet no action was performed. Emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com didn’t turn a leaf.
4. Called back the Call Centre to check the AV status:
• Agent confirms that the AV has been successfully done. And submits a request to activate my connection from the call centre with a TAT of 4 hours.
• Expected Outcome: Connection restored.
5. SMS about my number change to all my business and personal contacts.
6. Connection disconnected without any intimation; cannot even call the call centre (121). My business and personal contacts (who have already deleted my previous number) not able to reach my mobile number (Recorded message: Number does not exist).
7. Again called up the call centre, Agent says AV “successful” but “not confirmed” in the status (couldn’t make out a head or tail of that response). Agent says that the CV has been done; AV still pending. Tried mailing firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com for affirmative action; but in vain.
• Action Requested: Both call centre and email agent respond back by advising me to go to the nearest ARC and submit the relevant documents.
• Actual Outcome: Took leave from office, took print out of address proof & HR Letter, located the nearest ARC (Deccan Chambers, CTS no.33/40, Erandawane, Opp. Garware College, Pune) and make a visit. ARC’s response: “We do not take any documents; can only raise another AV”. Therefore, I request them to again initiate an AV.
8. Finally, ask the Airtel Agent who sold the Airtel connection to help get the AV done. Finally, the AV is done and connection restored after 2 days.
After having thought of churning out of Airtel (me as well as my colleague) for hundred times in these few days, amid “Frustrating” sessions, still I stick with Airtel (brand loyalty?.....more to come).
Saturday 6th October 2007, I make a call to the call centre just to activate my Missed Call SMS Alert service. The call is answered by Mr. Sunny Kaul. Mr. Sunny doesn’t even try and listen to what I am asking and instead resort to recitation of the standard script in front of him. His communication is jerky and customer handling skills: a big zero.
Out of my love for Airtel, I think of providing a feedback to the L1 Manager. Therefore, I request Mr. Sunny to transfer the call. But, he wouldn’t transfer the call at any cost, and instead keep on repeating “I am providing you the answer to your query”. What started as a friendly gesture to give a customer service feedback; becomes an infuriating experience. After having spent 15-20 minutes trying to convince him either to transfer the line to the L1-Manager or note in my Interaction History that “The customer requested to speak to the L1 Manager and the same was not provided as that was not in my authority”, Mr. Sunny wouldn’t just give in. He wouldn’t capture anything that I requested him to do in the Interaction History. Valuable tips finally arrive to the wise Mr, Sunny from his friend/fellow agent, who whisper and ask to hang-up. And, on my assurance that I would not hang-up till I meet a solution; the wise Mr, Sunny puts me repeatedly on hold and finally speak: “Sir, I won’t be able to hold the call. Thank-you for calling Airtel”
Morale of the Story:
• “Right to Information” denied to the customer (that too “CORPORATE” customer; God save “RETAIL” customers)
• “Never trust what the Airtel Call Centre Agent says; or the TAT he commits”
• “Never send mobile change SMS to colleagues and friends; unless fully convinced that the new number belongs to you completely”.
• “No SR/compliant can be raised against the Airtel Call Centre Agent or AV agency; by calling 121”
• 15 minutes of agony call cost to Airtel: Rs. 300 @ Rs. 20 per minute (maybe 1 months’ ARPU)? Not really, here’s the opportunity cost:
o This story was reiterated to at least 10 people till now; who in turn would quote this experience to 10 more people when the topic of “Customer Service” pops-up in a casual discussion. (100 people would now be confused if they should go for Airtel?)
o Probably, after being a loyal customer for the past 2 years, I might not stop here (More the love; more the suffering). And go ahead and quote my experiences in few blogs (100s of people would read that and might be confused if they should go for Airtel?)
After mailing this response, I would receive a standard email template saying…..”We are a customer-centric organization…blah blah…”; while all I would be remembering is…. “Sir, I won’t be able to hold the call. Thank-you for calling Airtel”