Airtel / airtel - aap ka din (a) shubh ho!
As customers of Airtel for the past many years, and having a monthly spend of over Rs. 20, 000/-, we have learned Never to expect Airtel to Listen to our problems.
After all, customer service is a thing for the Western world. At least this is what Airtel, a multi-billion dollar company with N number of partnerships across Industries, believes.
Our small group of companies have suffered at the hands of Airtel's dismal service one too many times. But, who's listening?
Whether its because one of our 8 year old numbers is erroneaously cancelled (without any request from us and despite our bills being paid in timely fashion), or whether it because we have gotten our billing started for a Rs. 1099/- internet plan for over a week, without being delivered a modem, or whether it is because we have our PRI (digital line with monthly bill of Rs. 20, 000/- plus) billing started 10 days before the physical installation of the EBPBX (raising an extra bill of Rs. 8, 000), or whether we have our promised PRI line bill adjustments not showing up in our bill for the following 2 months, and subsequently having the service barred despite having wrong bills generated, Airtel continues to be a company that has risen to the top because we remain "Santusht" with the service it provides.
If you ever try to speak to escalate your matter by dialing 121 or 44444121 or 44441212, the many "customer service" numbers available for the company, you will just be told that there is NO procedure for this.
If you ask for the Employees ID (so you can hold them responsible for their statements or so that you can speak to them in case your phone gets disconnected by them), you will never get it - "Sir, we aren't allowed to give that out."
No one is tracking conversations, and Execs are cutting calls they don't want to deal with. No one is recording these calls, as they do in UK or the US as standard process.
Why should they be - after all, the company still continues to grow with lack of better alternatives available to customers.
Here is one of our complaints, which is still not resolved - 17 days after it was first lodged, and despite "daily" calls for help.
"From: Our company's email
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Broadband Re-activation Delay on 011-4XXxxxxx
Date: 27 July 12:50PM
Airtel Customer Service
Subject: Request to re-activate broadband - unsatisfactory service
Since July 16 we have been calling almost daily to get the Broadband re-activated and get modem for the same on our Phone number 011-4XXxxxxx - which is in the name of our company, XXX Pvt. Ltd.
July 16th - Ref ID 80418xxx - The request was first lodged on July 16, 2009 with Ref Id 22055xxx and Insp Id 80418xxx was given. We informed the Agent that we already had Broadband on this Number earlier, and wiring is already in place, and we had just gotten the Broadband cancelled 6-8 months ago due to non-usage. We requested the agent to re-activate the Broadband with the Rs. 1099 plan (384 kpbs, Rs. 100 worth calling free, unlimited download) along with a wireless modem. We were told we will receive an SMS in 5-10 minutes confirming our request has been lodged. We were also told it would take 48 hours to get the work done.
We are also told it will take 10 days to get Wifi modems (as it was out of stock)- and in the mean time Regular modem will be provided. This meant we would get Wifi modem by July 26th.
July 16th - Interaction ID 88004xxx - After 20 minutes of not receiving any SMS, we called and confirmed the request had been lodged and were given this Inspection ID. Again, we were told we would get the Broadband activated within 48 hours.
July 18th - Ref/Ins ID 88419xxx - We call again as we had not heard anything from Airtel. We again called and are apologized for the inconvenience and told that the matter will be escalated and we will receive a call to fix the matter with 24 hours.
July 20th - We call again and given the same confirmation as on July 18th.
July 22nd - We still have not received any call back from Airtel. We tried to call 121 number again and it was not working for 30 minutes.
July 22nd - We finally make it through, and are transferred 3 times when we are explained the issue (from Broadband to Manager and Back to Broadband). They take my Account number and tell me they are migrating plan right away. They inform us that the request is being sent to the Back-end department for Modem etc. They tell us Wifi modem will take 10-15 days. This means, now we would expect modem by August 5th. Before we can get confirmation on this call and Ref ID - the call is disconnected.
July 22nd - Request ID - 12255xxx - We call back after the phone is disconnected to make sure our request has been logged. Nothing was in the system. Again we had to get plan migrated to Explore 1099. Our mobile number is taken so we will get call to double check if we want to migrate plan.
July 25 - Still not heard back.
July 25 - Insp Id 89506xxx - We are told our Migration has already been done, and once again given confirmation that we will receive the modem within 24 hours. How can billing start without modem? We have specified we want the Wifi modem, but can do with the wired modem until you get wifi in stock. We are told on phone by the Agent that we will get a refund of the billing period at 1099 plan for the days we have not received the modem.
July 27 - Insp Id 89867xxx - Nothing has happened. Still no modem. We are again guaranteed the modem will reach us by tomorrow. We are also again told that we will get a refund of the billing period at 1099 plan for the days we have not received the modem.
This experience has been very grueling and unsatisfying. Each time it takes 20-25 minutes to get the request lodged. This means, we have spent 4 hours of our time during work hours over a period of 2 weeks to get a simple reactivation & modem done - and we are still not sure or confident any action will be taken. There is no formal procedure to escalate matters - and no responsibility can be assigned if the matter is not resolved. How can customers continue with such service and procedural gaps.
We request that our matter be resolved as soon as possible without any further delay."
July 31st - 12.30pm - We have still not heard anything from Airtel. We call again, and after much frustration, and finally having to say that we may need to lodge a formal complaint regarding this, we get to speak to a Manager (Mr. Varun) there. He tells us that after reviewing the entire matter, he has informed us that the original July 16 request had been lodged for "Additional Service" and not as a "Reactivation" and hence it has taken this long. So, he said he was putting a brand new request for us for "reactivation" - but I told him, the billing had already started for past 10 days, but we still have no modem. He put in the fresh request and gave us req. id (22631xxx) - and said that our problem will be solved by 5.52pm the same day. We are relieved, and expect the matter to be resolved.
August 1st - 12:00noon - Still no response. No modem. 3 calls made again to 121. Each one is useless. We are angry - we ask to speak to manager. "No, this is not the procedure." comes the answer. We shout - we get a number that doesn't work [protected]) of Mr. Gurmeet. Well - the number doesn't work.
August 1st - 2pm. We again call 121. Sweta on the line for us - but despite explaining our concern to her, she has nothing more to say than "Sir, your problem will be solved in next 24 hours". We have heard this same answer 15 times in the last 15 days. We can't trust anythign these executives say. We can't trust Airtel. We ask to speak to the manager (with little hope of getting any resolution) - and she puts us on hold for 3 minutes, listening to the same old Airtel tune that we have started to hate by now. She comes back - "sir, sorry to keep you waiting, but I cannot seem to transfer the line." We can't believe it - are we talking to Airtel, a telecom Giant? Once again, we ask to try again - 5 minutes of the Airtel tune - and we're going crazy - and then, believably - the phone goes off the hook.
So - if you have had similar experiences, join this fight to shut down every operation this company runs - until it first learns to serve the customers that give it its bread and butter.
But, who's listening.
Aap ka din (A)shubh ho!
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