Something disastrous has befallen Bharti Airtel’s mobile phone customer care. Airtel, for your information, is India's largest telecommunications company.
Previously, when I’d call the customer care number, a friendly voice would allow me to choose my preferred language –English, Hindi or Marathi. Now, there’s no language option. You’ve got to talk to anyone who’s available.
Gone are the days when customer care professionals would systematically attempt to understand my problem, and subsequently offer a step-by-step and satisfactory resolution.
The voice at the other end doesn’t even have some of the best pleasantries ready to calm you down. You have to figure out yourself where the conversation is headed, and in most cases, the call center guys are clueless about what’s going on.
You’ll have to be content with the Airtel guys ending the call abruptly without a resolution. As for follow up calls, there’s little help obtained from past customer care records, if at all you happen to be lucky enough for the newer calls to get through.
Social Media to the Rescue!
In spite of the customer care mess I just described, there’s a silver lining in the form of Airtel’s active presence on Twitter.
I was impressed by the manner in which they resolved a problem I recently faced – there was a network connectivity issue in my area around the same time I subscribed to a reduced call rate plan on their so-called My Airtel My Offer. The network issue got resolved in a couple of days, and they refunded back my money. I thanked them back publicly, just in the same manner as I had complained.
It is an understatement to say social media is powerful – today, I believe, only a small fraction of it is being harnessed for our benefit. And there’s some pollution to raise its ugly head as well.
There’s been a scorching growth in both the internet and social media use in India – at 124 million users, there’s been a 41% growth here over the last year, and the number of Facebookers and Tweeters is also rising.
Clearly, no brand can afford to ignore any mention of themselves in the social media sphere, given the fact that the information is going to remain etched for a long time to come, unlike sloppily conducted phone conversations that participants would love to forget!
What do you think about the impact of social media on customer care services?