Vishnu Sharma

Randomness Redefined

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Throw Brand Loyalty Out of the Window

If my needs are met, then I generally stick to products and services from the same company, even if sometimes, it costs a bit more. I’m sure there are many like me out there. Just the hassle of changing things like phone number and bank accounts is way too much.

That’s exactly the kind of behavior some companies take advantage of, and then, lower the quality of service to you to cut costs ! Here are a few examples on how…


The Aggressive Airtel

Airtel ( is an Indian telecom services provider company, will full name being “Bharti Airtel Limited”. It is a public limited company, listed in “Bombay Stock Exchange” (India) as well as in “National Stock Exchange” (India). At the time of this writing, it is operating is about 20 countries with annual revenue of about 9.5 Billion USD (FY 14-15).

It launched its 4G service, and I, being a heavy internet user, and an active customer of Airtel for over 7 years, quickly ordered for a new 4G hotspot. While filling up the form, I made a small mistake in my current phone number (one digit). Alas, that turned out to be same as “treason”. Here is a sequence of activities post this mistake:

  1. After taking the payment, the sales guy stopped calling. I had to call multiple times to close the process
  2. Because my alternative phone number was incorrectly entered in the system, I could not activate my new phone number. Different customer support people kept giving different instructions (to the extent they blamed other departments for the mistake)
  3. Somehow, after I managed to activate, I could not make a payment because, I kept getting different errors. (I always paid my bills in time)
  4. Every two days I had to call the customer support for status and I would get a call from their IT team. The IT team would ask the same questions everytime
  5. Even after multiple escalations, no one responded. Had to make multiple calls and one fine day, got hold of a decent guy to whom I explained which “web services” were giving error. The problem got fixed after couple of days !

It took almost a month to fix such a simple issue. Took numerous e-mails, phone calls and too many people to fix such a small issue. For someone who has never made late payments for over 7 years and has multiple connections !


The Renegade Reliance Communications

Reliance Communications Ltd. is an Indian Internet access and telecommunications company headquartered in Navi Mumbai, India. It provides CDMA, GSM mobile services, fixed line broadband and voice services, DTH depending upon the areas of operation. Wikipedia

This one even went to the extent of accusing me of fraud ! Again, I’m a customer of this company for over 8 years now. I purchased a pre-paid 3G SIM from them and was using in my tablet. I would purchase a plan every month over online and keep it charged. One fine day, I selected a plan, made the payment, but got a message that the recharge was not successful. The plan supported both phone and dongles. When I raised the issue with customer support, I was told that I am using the SIM in a “dongle” which is fraud and thus the recharge was denied ! Phone, email, chat, even Twitter channels kept telling me either that they will look into the matter, or they kept saying I was using it in a dongle.

The surprising thing was that I was using the same SIM and same plan earlier with no problems ! Even someone from their social media team contacted me and said they will look into it….but as suspected, nothing happened.

I found out a few days later, that the plan was no longer being offered. It clearly looked like a software error, for which the entire staff of Reliance tried to blame me, and that too also for about Rs. 500 (about USD 9). Time to move on…


The ICICI Bank’s Ghost Wealth Managers

This one is even more interesting. I’m a customer of ICICI bank for over 15 years now. I even have “so called” dedicated wealth managers. Recently, I needed to know details of two transactions that took place in 2008 and 2009. The day I raised a request, I was told it will be closed in 2 days. Then a few hours later, I got a call that it will be closed in 7 working days, which is OK. I was at-least given a timeframe that was reasonable.  The problem started after the wait period was over. After 7 days, the service request stauts was showing “closed”, and everytime I would call the customer support, the guy at the other end would apologize, ask for two more days, and promise to “personally inform” me after two days. Then they would not call. This went on for 3 or 4 times. Everytime I would call, a new guy would answer the phone and say the same thing, but would never call. I then wrote a mail to the ICICI bank team. I’m yet to receive a response !


The ICICI Insurance Broken Record

Finally, a classic case of “broken-record-customer-support”. I purchased a new term policy from ICICI online. I had undergone a small surgery on my hand to remove a tissue mass for which, neither I had any medical records, nor the hospital where the operation was performed could find any records (it’s common in India). The surgery was done 6-7 years ago. The insurer kept asking for the medical records, and I kept saying I don’t have it, neither the hospital has it, tell me an alternative.

In response, I got multiple phone calls and emails, all stating –

  1. Please get medical records
  2. Please get doctor’s prescription

This, despite asking what is an alternative. Naturally, I had to dump this insurer and went with another one.

Do tell me your fun story with these so called great organizations :-0

The logos used in this blog post are only to identify which companies i’m talking about. The trademarks (if any) and all corresponding rights, belong to the companies in their respective jurisdiction. They have been used only for illustration and easy identification.