I was very much impressed by the quality customer service by Airtel Broadband in Chennai. So, I opted to use Airtel for my mobile phone, when I came to Odisha, though I knew that Airtel is costly than other providers. At that time Docomo launched recently and people were enquiring about it, still I preferred Airtel.
But my relation with Airtel in Odisha did not run well. Once I activated a data plan by sending an SMS and then connected to the Internet. Their servers took really long time to process the request, which I was not aware of. I got disconnected after few minutes and I saw around Rs 153 deducted from my account balance and I have Zero balance. I complained this by calling Airtel customer support (they charge money to talk to their customer support executives). They assured me that they will solve my complaint in three days. Nothing happened. Three days later, I once again called them, talked to the senior of normal support executives. They showed me some stupid statistics and data and ignored my complaint. I showed my frustration, but they ignored. And I preferred to get new number from Tata Docomo (we don’t have porting facility available then) and not to use Airtel anymore, unless there is a high requirement.
Once I recharged my sister’s phone online, which is on Reliance GSM. Instead the balance to appear on the main balance, it appeared under promo balance, which expired in just few days without use. I tried to call their customer support all these days, but what it responded was, “This number does not exist”. I asked many people, including their vendors, whether their customer care number changed to something else. But everyone told me that this is the only number they have. Pathetic.
Few days before, some people were working on something on our terrace and those stupid dumb-ass people moved the outdoor unit of our Reliance Digital TV to a different direction. I was not aware about that. When I switched on the TV in the evening, I saw the error, which says “Signal not found”. Normally this happens in case of heavy rain. Then I went to terrace to see whether they have teased the antenna. But I did not find anything wrong with it (in fact, there was, but I did not notice it). We were expecting that our balance on account will be finished by that day. So, I checked it online and found there is a negative balance. I recharged it immediately. I thought there might be some error, which is showing a different error message. But recharging the account, restarting the DTH machine – nothing solved the problem. We were too busy for next 2-3 days, so we ignored the error and forgot that we watch TV. On the fourth day, I got some time and called customer support for help.
I explained everything to the customer support executive, he understood everything, followed the troubleshooting process. Then we confirmed that there is some issue with the direction of outdoor unit (as I knew that few people were working on our terrace) and they need to send their engineer to fix the issue. He informed me that an amount of Rs 175 will be deducted from our account balance for this. I am absolutely OK with this and I agreed to create a request.
Then the support executive confirmed our address. He asked our pincode, I said “753004”. He said that it’s 753001 there. I said, “it’s OK, change that pincode to 753004”. Then he replied to change the pincode we need to recharge our account, so that they can deduct Rs 350.
I got shocked! “What? Rs 350 to change the pincode from 753001 to 753004?”, I replied. He said, “it’s the relocation charge.” I said, “but we are not relocating.” And we are not so stupid that we have provided you the wrong pincode. “It’s the mistake of your data entry operator.” (Actually, I should have said, perhaps it’s the mistake of your data entry operator. I was also thinking in my mind that, perhaps the vendor make mistake while filling the form or something. But I said “It’s the mistake of your data entry operator.” to enforce my point.). “Can’t you send your engineer to the address I am saying now?”.
He said, “no, it’s not possible. We can only send our engineers to the address in our database”. “Ok, fine.”, I told him, “Why don’t you send your engineers to the address currently in your database, without changing 753001 to 753004?”. He replied, “no, this is not possible. We can’t take your request”.
“Instead paying you Rs 350 for changing the pincode from 753001 to 753004, I would prefer to throw your setup box out and will get a new one from another service provider. Which will cost me around Rs 700.”, I told that in frustration and anger.
“Why will you do that? Why will you pay Rs 700, instead Rs 350?”, he replied.
“It’s better to use another service. I don’t like your system and the process.” I told that and thought myself the rest, “… And I may get more regional channels”.
“Ok, please stay on the like, I am going to forward this call to my senior”, he replied me back.
After few seconds another guy welcomed me and asked why I am denying to create a request to send their engineer. I told him the whole story. He replied that this is their process. Then I replied with anger and frustration, “Instead paying you Rs 350 for changing the pincode from 753001 to 753004, I would prefer to throw your setup box out and will get a new one from another service provider. Which will cost me around Rs 700. I hate your system and process. This is all wrong.”
“Why are you saying that. You are an old customer of us and we don’t want you to let you go like this. I am trying my best to solve your problem.” He replied.
“I recharged Rs 250 and I am not using the TV. Everyday around Rs 5 is getting deducted from my account balance. Is it possible for you to freeze the account balance? Then I will relocate after 2-3 months and will pay you Rs 350 as the relocation charge.” I asked, still with anger.
“You can do this by paying some amount and there are three types of it. 30 days, 50 days and 90 days”. He also told me the amount I have to pay to stop using the service for these intervals. “And you can do this once in a year”.
“And why don’t you send your engineer to the address what you have right now, without changing the pincode?”, I asked.
“This is because every engineer has assigned different areas covering different pincode. If we will create request and the engineer will not go to your place and close the request. Still the amount will be deducted from the account without any solution.” he said.
“No, this is not the solution. Both pincodes are of Cuttack, but under different post offices. I don’t think the engineer will have any problem solving the issue. Well, if it’s not possible, the best thing for me is to throw these equipments out and get a new one from another service provider. Shall I disconnect the call?” I threatened.
Then the executive created the request to send their engineer to see the problem and fix it. The engineer reached our home in 6-7 hours and solved the issue in few minutes by turning the outdoor unit to proper direction. I was not at home to see what they did. But the problem got solved.
Here is the difference of how Airtel vs Reliance talks to their customer.
Airtel CS: We will solve this in x days.
After x days…
Airtel CS: There is no issue. You have done xyz….
Customer: WTF? You have any idea you are talking about? How it is possible?
Airtel CS: @#$%^&#$%^&*()*&^$!@#$%^&*(^$# (blaming the customers)
Customer: I am going to throw your sim out and use another service provider.
Airtel CS: As you wish. (We have a large base of customers, we don’t care you go.)
Customer: I am going to throw your stuff and get a new one from another service provider.
Reliance CS: Why are you saying that? You are an old customer of us. I am trying my best to solve your problem.
And they solve your problem despite of their bad system and process.