An Indian Customer

Yesterday I imagined getting many things done … Till I called Vodafone at 8.30 am.

I am a loyal Vodafone customer for the past 10 years with the same postpaid number. I had asked for an additional connection for my mom on the 21st and Vodafone sent their rep to collect the papers etc the same evening. The SIM was supposed to be activated within 72 hours. The 72 hours came and went by and yesterday was 72 hours times three !!

First thing that all companies offering customer service over phone must understand is – the damned IVR system with the honeyed voice of an un-ageing lady is frustrating. It is a clear message that you don’t want to deal with your customers problem ! A simple way to deal with the volume of calls is to have just two options – speak to a Person or work with an IVR. Charge me money if I want to speak to a human being, but atleast offer it upfront without my having to find the shortest route through trial and error. There are days and transactions where I don’t want to speak to a person. Can you accord your customers some basic level of intelligence ? They have a problem and let them decide how you can help solve it …. IF you are keen to solve the problem that is.

My call got disconnected twice by a rep who picked up the line and coolly disconnected. Finally I managed to speak to the first rep, who tried telling me that the verification needs to happen, and that will happen within 72 hours. I said that was unacceptable since someone had already come and verified everything. I asked for a manager, and she didn’t wait to hear me complete my request and put me on a hold and then disconnected my call.

I called again and got connected to the same rep.. Poor girl, bad day for her. She lied to me that someone else had picked up the phone earlier. I asked for her employee id or desk id – she refused both. I asked for the manager again and said she should not put me on hold. She again didnt wait for me to complete my statement and put me on the sick musical hold and as expected I got disconnected.

I called yet again – this time a different rep picked up who was nicer and maybe more experienced. She gave me her full name and didn’t put me on a long hold but Vodafone’s call centre doesn’t have managers till 12 noon. Only senior CSAs – and really pathetic ones ! Something is seriously wrong in the way these reps are trained. The senior CSA who picked up my call had not even collected the information from the rep as to why I had called. So I told him to go through the call logs without putting me on hold and tell me what was recorded. Then I asked him why I can’t speak to a manager. No manager is available 🙂 was the answer. Finally after a round of mini Customer Service training on phone I asked him – didn’t your trainer even tell you that you can offer a callback from a manager ? He said yes I can arrange for a callback in 48 hours – I laughed, he was offended that I was laughing at him. But seriously, I have a small problem that needs a simple solution and the callback by a manager can happen only in 48 hours ??? I told him to get his manager to callback the same day and give me a two hour window in which he/she would call back. I got the window of 12 to 2 and am still waiting for the awesome manager to callback.

This is not a life threatening situation and am just pissed off, but an Indian customer is really taken for granted – not one service provider in any area understands what customer service means. Basically if you are an Indian customer you should pray that nothing goes wrong with what you buy, or be prepared to trash what you buy without remorse otherwise it’s your blood pressure that will rise – the provider doesn’t care ! He is off selling to the gullible multitudes that are getting more and more of the disposable income. The growing population benefits the provider – new customers are easy to find, who cares what happens after a thing is sold. It’s the customer’s problem.

Now I have to start the next fight – it has been a year and a half since the driver side window of my beloved Corolla doesn’t open 🙂 and the car has been serviced four or five times in this period. It’s another irritant… And Toyota too doesn’t care in India.

The Ranbir Kapoor advt for Tata Docomo where he acts as an old gent who owns a restaurant ad shoos that girl who asks for change saying he showed her TV during her meal and it’s all adjusted. He asks her to get out and she does get out – its a brilliant advert, because that’s exactly how an Indian Customer is treated – pay money and get shooed out ! Wow Incredible… India.

2 thoughts on “An Indian Customer”

  1. How True! There have been times when the CSAs have told me that I can report them. Such is the respect ppl have for their customers. How much ever one gets trained, the story is the same. I have almost always ended up writing to the nodal officer to have my issues addressed. Even for a very very very small problem. Taking the customer for a ride is a in this country I guess.


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