Vodafone India staff unhappy to help while biting nails

Happy to help you?

Vodafone India’s tag line was “Happy to help you.” This sentence used to be written everywhere. On website, brochures, billboards and stationary. But that was long time ago. It is neither used anymore not practiced by its staff. It appears Vodafone itself or its staff is tired of customers. While telecom companies in India are reeling under tremendous financial pressures to retain customers, it appears Vodafone is overwhelmed with its customers. I am a subscriber to Vodafone for about 14 years. At that time it was called “Hutch-Essar.” Because of discriminatory practice adopted against the post paid (those who pay as per bill) customers, after taking one year to decide, I decided to switch to pre-paid services. As adviced by customer care, I paid a visit to Vodafone Service Center at Karol Bagh, New Delhi. See the picture below. There were more staff members then customers.

Vodafone staff biting nails

Vodafone staff biting nails (Faces are intentionally blurred)

To protect the privacy, I have smooched their faces. Now there were 7 counters. Two are depicted in above picture. One person is enjoying his laptop while actually biting his nails. See another section below:

Vodafone employees at work

Vodafone employees at work (Faces are intentionally blurred)

Notice that two employees are chatting behind desk and one is gazing at his laptop perhaps solving some equation of quantum mechanics with both hands neatly folded. There was a third section with three counters where  only one seat was occupied. But at this point I was prevented by an employee named Shoaib that photography was prohibited. When I asked where is the prohibition notice he told me that it was out-side the door. At the middle of door there was a huge notice that CCTV was installed inside. I wonder what is the use if Vodafone does not know about its staff. Below the big CCTV sign i.e. below the line of sight there were numerous or perhaps six icons with line drawn on them. One was a cigarette and another a camera. But until now above photographs were already captured in my phone.

Vodafone Customer care has a system. Before entering, there is a computer generated coupon/token with a serial number, is issued to each person. I suppose it was to prioritize the people on First come first serve basis. After four incorrect entries, the staff issued me a token. The number was 773. In the above second photograph there is a screen showing the serial number of customer being attended to. In green circle it shown to be 759 (visible on enlargement). Thus 14 persons were waiting while these employees were doing nothing. If this is the productivity of a company, it would be in loss very soon. But worst was not yet over. While I was standing in the middle, Shoaib had taken a counter and he called the token number 775 i.e. overtaking me. When I questioned him he answered that they were calling the people by the subject of their dispute/issue and not by priority. It required quite an insistence to ensure that I be attended as well.

Solution to my problem of post paid to pre-paid:

None. They do not know how it will be done because the connection is in the name of a corporate entity and they have no ready record to ensure that I am the authorized person. They have asked for 48 hours to gather information and then they will inform me about the papers they require. Amazing speed in this century. Often I feel that inefficient people can use computers to justify their inefficiency. I am also told not to use Internet as it is end of my billing cycle therefore it will create billing problems. However as of this morning, BIS is already not working which means Internet is disconnected.

It is amazing what these people are doing and how they take customers for granted. In my experience in the past, the Vodafone was the best serving telecom provider. Now it is so difficult to contact the customer care. Long wait even after we have to pay for our call to customer care, then it will be disconnected midway or kept on hold and if we visit their office, the staff is not happy to work but treats the customer with disdain. New tariff plans introduced for new customers but old (post-paid) customers are neither informed nor given an opportunity to change. Worse that RTGS or online transfer of payment is not available or working. One has to make payment of bills in century old method of cheque or cash. But who bothers for customer’s problem. They have so many problems or their own.

Now we have an option to port the number to some other provider and I am seriously considering the options. But it will not be Reliance. I am sure about that. I wonder if any of these staff members were ever made to read the guide lines issued by Telecom Regulatory Authority about the duties of Telecom Company? I also wonder what is the point in having a Regulator if it is unable to enforce its Regulations?

Meanwhile I shall pray to God to help me.

© Sandeep Bhalla

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About Sandeep Bhalla

A lawyer, thinker, author, Linux/Ubuntu power user and sometime an economist or gardener or philosopher or cook or photographer depending upon the current thought and environment. View all posts by Sandeep Bhalla

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