Filed Under (Marketing) by Rajesh Kumar on 21-03-2010
This post is largely an outcome of my real life experiences as a nouveau Airtel mobile service customer. Sorry, a short lived customer and an ex-customer at present.
It just so happened that after relocating back to Chennai recently ( and having heard the very impressive group CIO of Bharti group, Jai Menon in Delhi recently), I decided to take a mobile connection from Airtel this time. I filled out an application form and handed over to a dealer’s representative, who had paid me a visit to my office to collect the documentation.
Sure enough, the connection started working in a day’s time. I logged into the Airtel portal out of curiosity, and found my name written as ‘Rajesh Kumar S’. I thought I should point out the typo and called them on March 6th, which they promised by an SMS to revert by March 9th. In the next couple of days or so, I happened to receive a ‘welcome letter’ from someone called Aidtya Chile, (GM KTN – go figure out) that had exactly the same error in my name.
Few days later, a representative of Airtel, dropped in at my residence for address verification, and was about to leave after asking me my name, when I saw that the copy of the application form carried by him did not have my signature. I took it in my hand, and then found out it was some other handwriting, and interestingly, instead of my photo, it had someone else’s picture. My name as written as Rajesh Kumar S. On my own insistence on noting this down on the form, he handed me the form. I recorded that the picture & signature were not mine, and mine and my father’s name were only partially correct. Happy that I have set the ball rolling for a correction to happen and waiting to hear back from Airtel, I got on. About a week down on a Saturday evening, I received an sms saying my connection may be cut and I should talk to my dealer. Worried that the line would be disconnected, I frantically looked for the dealer’s number, I realized I had left it in the office. I decided to approach the Airtel outlet in Shastri Nagar with a copy of the id and address proofs. I was told that I must approach the dealer only and they cannot do anything to help me. Finally, when I spoke to the dealer, he promised to take care of ‘everything’ on Monday and call back by Monday evening to confirm. To be sure, I also called 121 customer care to ask them the matter and they said they need to reverify my address, which they would do in the next two working days and then everything would be alright. I was relieved mentally.
But, as one would expect, the call from the dealer did not materialize on Monday or Tuesday. Not even Wednesday. Nor did anyone come for re-verification. Thursday morning, my phone refused to pick up my emails or connect any calls. I could place the problem and approached 121, which is the customer care. I asked them the matter.
“Sir, we have a negative address and id verification. The signature and photos do not match, the name is a partial match only. Therefore we have decided to disconnect the outgoing line”. I explained that actually that is my issue against them, not vice versa. In my anger, I asked him the address of Mr. Aditya Chile to be able to share the details with him. I was refused. I took out the letter that came from Aditya Chile to locate his address and phone number. That masterpiece of a letter did not have one. So much for being a customer friendly organization. I asked the customer care what it took to cancel the connection. Pat came the reply,”Don’t bother sir, we are doing so from our side”. The phone outgoing is cut and probably anytime now, the incoming calls would stop too.
- I wrote a letter to Aditya Chile, and sent to Airtel’s office in T Nagar, which I could locate by chance. Not sure if the letter reached him or if he cared to think much over it.
- I asked Aircel to send their rep to my house and Tuesday onwards, expect me to be on Aircel, my 8 old trusted brand.
From Airtel perspective it was operation successful, patient dead. So much for a brand that paints the town read! RIP 80560 38888!!!