Will Someone Please Pick the Phone?

When it comes to customer service, it looks like telecom companies in India are on a race to outdo each other in mediocrity. The less said about the call centers the better. Add to that billing errors, ‘document submission’ for ‘security purposes’ once every 3 months, non-receipt of payments, and total stupidity – calls asking us to purchase “one more SIM” – what sense does this make other than being an easy way out for people to meet sales targets?

I think they do it on purpose. I mean, who cares if you lose a couple of customers? India is full of other people who are potential customers, you are expendable and replaceable. Many more bakras in the field. So just make sure people don’t call you. Some techniques for this are:

  • Make calls to customer care chargeable.
  • A ‘customer service’ section with confusing navigation and sub-menus with info which people are looking for are buring deep inside, like phone numbers.
  • Deck out your website with pictures of drop-dead gorgeous females smiling into microphones.
Can’t you feel your issues getting resolved already?

However, you can also pick some pointers from everyday life to avoid customer calls. Like for instance, what do you do when you get a call from someone you don’t want to talk to? You don’t pick the call. Apparently Tata Indicom follows this same strategy as I learned today.

Below here is the mail I sent to the nodal head of Karnataka, after getting goddamn irritated with their non-existant ‘customer service’.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hello,
I am a humble customer of yours who owns a Tata Photon+ connection 92430xxxxx a/c no. 90xxxxxxx. This is a postpaid connection and simply put I want to change this to prepaid.
In case you are wondering, I am writing to you directly because:

  1. I could not get through to the call center in the first place: 08066680121
  2. After a lot of digging I found that the call center number is now: 1800266121
  3. I call this number and after all your IVR-menu navigating hungama, I press 9 to “talk to the customer service representative” and the phone rings 10 times and no one picks up. The call gets disconnected. I tried 3 times.

What kind of call center do you operate? Is the call center on strike? Or they are all on chai/smoke/ lunch/loo break? Or maybe your customer service agents are all wandering minstrels? Do you have any real intention of servicing your customers, other than all the pretty pictures you have put up on your website?

If I miss the bill payment deadline by 1 day, I have half of the employees from Tata Indicom calling me every alternate hour asking me when I will make the bill payment. Delay it for one more day, and the voice asking me to pay up changes from “India threatening Pakistan” to “Israel threatening Palestine”. Why can’t you show atleast half of that sincerity in servicing your customers? Or do you do it on purpose? I dont care what is wrong with the banana show you are running in the name of providing non-existant broadband services, which is the reason I want to change to postpaid in the first place. 3 km out of any major city/town boundary, your network goes for a toss and I get as much data as a corporation tap gives water during mid May.

Whatever, please take this seriously and make someone pick up the phone there. Or, if you could, please help me change my connection from Postpaid to Prepaid.

Oh and I have raised a complaint number: 23xxxx
Thanks a lot.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hell, if they really cared about servicing customers, they would have their customer support center number splashed across the top of their website and ads. In bold. So there is that.

Also, read the review I wrote on Tata Indicom Photon+ on Mouthshut here (click). I think I made a mistake by praising their customer service.

This demotivational poster says it all. What an idea, Sirji?

The Truth and Principle.

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  • nice post vinod, well written and explained. keep it up man :)

    • Thank you. Still playing hide-and-seek, eh?

  • There are three things that you should not expect in India
    1. Queues
    2. Toilets
    3. and Customer service

    • Very well said.. I remember your tiff with the same provider :)

  • Dear Mr. Vinod,

    Greetings from Tata Indicom!

    At the outset, we deeply regret the inconvenience caused to you. We sincerely apologize for the improper response rendered to you.

    With reference to your appended mail and as per the telephonic conversation we had with you regarding the Prepaid migration request pertaining to your Tata Indicom number – 924305****, we kindly request you to visit the nearest Tata Indicom outlet along with your Proof of Identity , Proof of Address and Passport size Photograph for processing the request. Also with regard to your complaint regarding the non accessibility of the customer care number , we would like to inform you that the complaint has been registered vide docket number ? 249129161 and the expected resolution date is 06-JAN-2011. Our customer service representatives will get in touch with you on the same .

    As a service provider, we firmly believe that the key to customer satisfaction is adding value to a relationship that is continual and long-lasting.

    Should you require any further assistance please mail us at Customer.care@tatatel.co.in.

    Assuring you the best of our services at all times.

    Thanks and Regards
    Customer Care
    Tata Indicom.

  • Exactly :-) the same thing with the other Carriers too. You are customer until you buy the sim and start using it. Customer care lines whether of its a bank or the phone company are puzzle and make them chargeable to stop traffic on them is really a smart job. Then they show us high data of customer service without the traffic judged by themselves.
    Good Work !!
    You might like reading this piece of mine http://iambeingme.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/cover-letter-for-the-job-interview/
    Thanks !!

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