Tata Indicom Mobile / Did they say 'customer service'?
Text of a letter I sent to Tata Indicom.
This is Sushant Sreeram and I write to you in relation to a Tata Indicom Mobile Postpaid connection that I applied for and the consequent travails of acquiring the connection.
I had applied for the connection at one of Tata Indicom’s distributors (K.T Enterprises located in Andheri(W), Mumbai) on the 17th of Feb, 2007. I submitted all the documents required, paid the required amount, filled in the application, attested all the supporting documents and was informed by the distributor that the application will be processed right away. The next morning, I receive a call from the distributor informing me that the documents I had submitted were insufficient. I failed to understand why he couldn’t have informed me of the same the previous day when I had submitted all the documents as per his directions. I called up Tata Indicom’s Customer Service number (+[protected]) and was informed by one the representatives that the documents I had submitted were necessary and sufficient. Flummoxed, I tried getting in touch with the distributor but to no avail.
In the meantime, I was awaiting the address proof verification to be done as per the distributor’s information but it never happened. On the 23rd of Feb, 2007, I visited Tata Indicom’s Customer Service Centre at Fort, Mumbai and spoke to one of your representatives (don’t remember the name, lets call her Ms. A) regarding the status of my application. She checked the database and informed me that my application still hadn’t been submitted by the distributor. This was 6 days after I submitted the application! Ms. A called up the distributor and upon enquiry, the distributor informed her that I had not attested one of the documents while filling up the application form and hence, the application was still lying at the distributor’s office. This was annoying as I had attested the application and supporting documents at every section the distributor had asked me to while filling up the application. Also, why couldn’t the distributor have informed me when I had left my residence phone number with him? He informed me that he had apparently tried a couple of times and that there was no response. This wasn’t surprising since there’s no one at my residence during the day. The distributor believed he had relinquished his responsibility as he had tried a couple of times without success. It took for me to go all the way from Andheri to Fort and speak to one of your representatives for this to be discovered. I informed the distributor that I will personally visit his office the next day and complete the application and Ms. A informed the distributor to complete the installation as soon as the application is complete and activate it immediately.
I visited the distributor’s office on the 24th of Feb, 2007 and completed the application. One of the office employees then informs me that the application will now be processed post which there will be an ‘address verification process’ and then the SIM card will be handed over to me. This was in stark contrast to what Ms. A and the distributor had assured me when I spoke to them the previous day. Peeved, I called up Tata Indicom’s Customer Service. I would like to point out here the complete lack of information and cordial behavior displayed by the representatives who man those telephones. They have no/incomplete information and they take it as an offense when I request to speak with their superior and refuse to let me. A customer service representative should first of all have all the required information and in the event he/she doesn’t have it or the situation needs a decision to be taken, should immediately transfer the call to his superior. After much cajoling, I managed to speak with a Floor Supervisor by the name Mr. Milind Kharat. I had to explain the entire story to him post which he assured me that he will resolve the issue on a top priority basis and that he will call be by 1600 hours (the call was made around 1330 hours). Having gained his assurance, I waited for his call till 1700 hours with no response. Frustrated, I call up the service number (remember, all these calls to the service centre have been from non-Tata Indicom phones and therefore chargeable) and requested that I speak with Mr. Milind. Again, the representative refuses to transfer my call and after explaining the entire story to him and after much cajoling puts me on hold for 10 minutes. Finally, a Mr. Sunny comes onto the line and informs me that Mr. Milind is not on the floor currently and that I call back after 15 minutes. I call back after 15 minutes and this time again, the representative refuses to forward my call to his superior leading to me explaining the entire story to him and much cajoling after which he puts me on hold one more time. Then a Mr. Alhaj Hanjgikar, supposedly one of the Floor Supervisors, answers the call. I inform him that I intend to speak with Mr. Milind. He informs me that Mr. Milind is not on the floor and that I can explain the case to him. And so I explain the entire story to one more person post which he puts me on hold again. This time, a Mr. Mayur Sasane (apparently the Team Leader) answers the call and I explain the entire story to him also. He then puts me on hold for 10 more minutes while he transfers my call to Mr. Ravin Marwah who is apparently one of the managers in the customer service department. I explain the story to him also and he assures me that he will look into the matter and call me back in 30 minutes. This one telephone call lasted more than 70 minutes. After Mr. Ravin’s assurance, I wait for 60 minutes with no response. I try calling him back but to no avail.
In the meantime, I receive a call from Ms. A. She identifies herself and proceeds to accuse me for putting her in a spot and that she had never given me any assurance that the connection will be activated immediately. Though very aggravated at her tone and intending to give her a piece of my mind, I politely inform her that I shan’t speak to her unless she changes her tone and manner of speech at which point she hangs up. Looked like all the people at Tata Indicom were busy pointing fingers at each other for the fiasco while the customer was waiting for a resolution. Typical organizational behavior.
At this point, I give up hopes of ever receiving my connection. Today (25th Feb, 2007), I receive a visitor at my residence. Turns out, he is a representative of Tata Indicom and he had come over for verification of the address mentioned in the application. After he left, I assumed that now that the verification process was complete, it was just a matter of activating the connection. I called up the aforementioned customer service number one more time and this time, spoke with a Mr. Ganesh. I inquired as to how many days it would take for the account to be activated post address verification. He informed me that I should receive my SIM card by the 27th of Feb, 2007. Upon inquiring if there was an alternate means of acquiring the connection quicker, he informed me that I could visit one of Tata Indicom’s public offices and that the account will be activated immediately. He also informed me that the office will be open today (Sunday, February 25, 2007) till 1900 hours. I took down the address for the same in Andheri (E) and left for the office at 1800 hours. I reached the office at 1840 hours to find the office closed. Upon inquiry, I was told by the security that since no customer was present in the office at 1830 hours, everyone decided to go home!! Hilarious! I called up the service centre once again from the Tata Indicom office itself and spoke to a Mr. Abhishek to register a complaint of incorrect information by Mr. Ganesh. After narrating my ordeal and requesting that a complaint be lodged, Mr. Abhishek informs me that he cannot take a complaint for the same since I am not yet a Tata Indicom customer! Upon requesting that I be allowed to speak with his supervisor, Mr. Abhishek informs me that he can resolve all issues as well as his supervisor! What attitude! And I thought supervisors generally had more authority than subordinates. Upon further cajoling, he puts me on hold for 10 minutes and a Mr. Rakesh (apparently another Floor Supervisor) answers the call and proceeds to launch into a long-winded explanation of his own without even listening to my problem. While I am trying to explain the issue to him that I had traveled all the way to your office in Andheri and that the office was closed before its scheduled closing time, he abruptly puts me on hold! I stay on the line for the next 8 minutes waiting for a response till I finally hang up. If 8 minutes doesn’t seem like a long enough time, try staying on hold for 480 seconds.
This, in detail, is what I have had to go through over the last 8 days. I have spent at the least 5-6 hours on the phone with representatives of Tata Indicom explaining and trying to resolve the situation. I have traveled all the way to Fort to resolve it. I have been accused of incorrectly pointing fingers at Ms. A. I have had to listen to some of your representatives behave as if they are doing me a favour entertaining me. I have had to undergo some really unnecessary trouble thanks to the completely incompetent service staff of your company. And even after all this; I still do not have a Tata Indicom connection.
How can you even think of being a successful company in light of such irresponsible behaviour? As is evident, I have interacted with at least 20 representatives of your company (including the distributor) and not a single one of them has come across as at least having an inclination to provide ‘service’. While a tag line viz., ‘Do More, Live More’ is funky, it’s useless and actually a waste of money if a company cannot resolve one single complaint. I have worked in customer development and service functions at the managerial level in India’s biggest companies and I can say I know a thing or two about customer service. And what I have experienced with Tata Indicom has to be the worst.
I will not try and explain to you as to what compensation I am expecting from your end. While I have waited for the last 8 days for the connection even after all that has happened, I would like to terminate my connection (even before I used it). I will be more than happy to return the instrument and I expect the application fee that I have paid to be returned. I am planning to move to any other service provider as I don’t think their service can be worse than this.
Thanks and Regards.
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