Suddenly, out of the blue, Kandha gets an SMS from Airtel saying that his “Hello Tunes has been updated.” True enough, when I try calling his number, I can hear a bhajan playing. I immediately get on the phone trying to get in touch with customer care. The first time, I am cut off after being on hold for 13 minutes. The second time, I am on hold for 15 minutes before I get cut off. I persevere, and the third time, after only seven minutes on hold, I am able to speak to a customer care executive. She is as cool as a cucumber when I tell her what has happened – she doesn’t even listen to me when I’m reciting the number. She assures me that it will be “deactivated in half an hour.” When I ask her whether this will be reflected in the bill, she smoothly says that even if it is, it will be adjusted in the next bill. Having nothing better to tell her, I hang up.
Airtel is at it again. A sickening apathy to customers’ expectations seems to tinge all their actions and operations. Being talked down to by uncaring Customer Care Executives who cannot do anything but parrot prepared scripts is downright insulting.
I sent an email asking for my telephone and DSL line to be shifted to my new place Saturday before last. Airtel technicians wired my new place last Saturday, assuring me that it would be activated in 24 hours. It still hasn’t been activated.
I am on Airtel – landline, mobile and broadband. I’ve been dealing with them ever since they set up operations in Chennai, and they have been consistently providing me with technically superior service, combined with what is perhaps one of the world’s most atrocious customer service. Untrained executives with major attitude problems seem to populate their call centres, which are backed up by inefficient software that always seems to be on the blink. Even when it is working, it takes ages (weeks!) for simple things to be updated.