Thursday, January 06, 2011

benefits of using Vodafone aka what is it like to use vodafone in india

Some months ago, Vodafone asked us to submit our documents Again. Fair enough. I have 2 Vodafone connections - one prepaid and one post paid.

We sent an sms requesting someone to collect the documents from us. Predictably, no one came. But the messages stopped coming. For a while. When the messages resumed, we placed the request for collection once more. No one came. The messages stopped coming before every outgoing call. On the prepaid, they also suspended the outgoing facility, INCLUDING the outgoing to vodafone care to find out what the hell happened. I called Vodafone to find out what the hell happened. After a 20 minute wait, (and no option on the IVR to talk to someone about document collection), i was informed that i have to go personally to a vodafone store and that the pick up option is not valid in prepaid connections. Why couldnt someone tell us that sooner?

Some days ago, there was a call from Vodafone telling us that our documents are not received yet. I asked them to send someone. They asked me to wait at home for 2 hours. i did. No one came. The message before every call kept coming though.

Today, armed with the document that the message keeps repeating before every call (your address proof and your ID proof and originals to be carried for verification) , yours truly went to the Vodafone store. Prepared for a long wait. it is usually 30 minutes before you can get anywhere. After 30 minutes, someone passing by asked me what my token no. was and why i was there. When i told them i just have to submit the documents, they said, "Oh you dont need a token for that. This counter here is only for that." Would it have been too much to expect, for someone to tell us that? or for a small notice in the store to that effect? even a small notice at the counter to that effect? Yes, apparently.

At the counter, to my shock, i am handed out 2 more forms to fill. One for the prepaid and one for the post paid. With a photograph to be attached. "But the message does not say photograph required to be carried!" i asked.
The person at the counter mentioned in a manner that a sarkari babu would be proud to emulate "You cant submit without a photograph."

After a little anger, he wrote down an email id and said "just scan your documents and email them to this id."

NOW i was livid. if this option was available, why the hell didnt vodafone let us know? Its not easy to leave your office and child and brave the delhi winters to get to a vodafone store ONLY for this.

I asked "Where can i lodge a compaint?"
He said "not here."

I persisted "What is your complaint mechanism?"
"Please fill up a feedback form."

"This is not a feedback. this is a formal complaint."
"No idea where you can file a complaint."

Someone standing there helpfully guided me to a brochure seductively titled "Power to you". They also pointed out that we could call the Nodal Officer upto 6 p.m. I glanced at my watch. 1720 hours. Plenty of time to go. I called. user Busy. Called again. And again. For 15 minutes. Apparently, a lot of people need to contact the nodal officer. The call was never picked up.

At 1735 i called up the call center. There is no option that allows you to talk to a person. You have to trick the IVR into letting you do that. That magic was achieved after 2 attempts.
I spoke to Kamlesh. The conversation is below:

Me: "I need to submit a request for pick up of documents. Also, i need you to give me a docket no. of a complaint so that i can take this case to TRAI. For months, this harassment has been going on in the name of collecting documents which should have been a simple straightforward process. "

He: "I am sorry you had to face inconvenience. can i place your call on hold?"

Me: For what?? I just need a docket no. for this complaint. Nothing else.

He: Ok, let me give you the docket number. Please wait.

Me: Ok.

2 minutes later.

kamlesh: I apologise, but there is a technical issue and we are not able to generate docket numbers at this time. I cannot give you a docket number.
Me: Can you give me a reason why your nodal officer does not answer calls?
K: When did you call?
Me: 1720 hours.
K: It should have been before 5 p.m.
M: But your brochure says upto 6 p.m.
K: Silence.

M: So what you are saying is, you do not have an answer for why my documents have not been picked up yet. You do not know why the email id was not provided to customers, you will not give me a docket id. Can i talk to your manager?"

K: I will have to put you on hold.

M: For how long? (By now, i have been on the phone for 15 minutes with no answers and no resolution in sight)

K: No idea.

M: Arrange a call back.

K: we cannot arrange a call back because there is a technical hitch.

M: There is a technical hitch in telling your manager to call me?

K: Silence.

M: Ok, so let me get this right. You will not issue a docket no., your manager cannot call back, your nodal officer will not pick up the phone, and you broadcast this message before every call with WRONG information?

K: You should call up the call center to confirm what all to carry to the vodafone store.

M: Whats your name?

K: Kamlesh.

M: Kamlesh, are you aware that your IVR does not have an option to talk to someone? Does not have an option to find out ANYTHING about document collection at all?

And this, my dears, this is the answer to why Vodafone customers will be the first to use mobile number portability and flee. Incidentally, i also have an Airtel phone and have faced absolutely no harassment from them for papers.

12 comments:

Z said...

When I last visited India, several people said "oh, the English don't like India any more because of our call centres." I explained that it's not India or the Indians, it's the companies that we resent, for taking jobs from British people and giving them to India (saving them a lot of money while not reducing their charges one bit) and then we have to explain everything to someone who is going through a formulaic list of questions and responses and who has no authority to go outside them. Having said that, it's obviously far worse for you! India does have a reputation for a love of pointless bureaucracy, and this post demonstrates why!

Ratzzz said...

thats a big ouch!!!

airtel connection did nothing of that sort! they msged and called once to say if i need someone to pickup the docs.. wen i submitted they called to confirm.. thats all :|

no wonder vodafone is getting bead reviews everywr

Onkar said...

I hope, the company reads your story and takes steps to spare others from this harassment.

cursos de ingles en el extranjero said...

I just stumbled upon and I find this site really interesting. For me, in many years of using Vodafone, despite of criticism it still works for me well.

Id it is said...

Vodafone's days in India are probably numbered in which case : )
Is Airtel the Indian telecom giant?

How do we know said...

@ All: The story has a happy ending. I emailed the nodal officer from the TRAI website and someone from the nodal officer's office called up and had the thing satisfactorily resolved. But trust me, Vodafone India's current IVR options deserve to be a case study of how NOT to design IVR.

Soulmate said...

Vodafone is bad in tht way... I had a similar experience when I just wanted a address change.. Photograph, id proof(again), address proof, filling up the form and what not.. On top of it, they dont even send the bills on time, but expect us to pay on time.. How?? Thats our headache...

Deepak said...

lol..
That is why i m using Airtel and Reliance.... Reliance-CDMA`IVR has also the same problem.

Anish Achuthan said...

I stumbled upon this piece and I have this to share:

I moved to Gurgaon in November and I've been trying to get a local connection from the day I landed.

All documents in hand I approached Vodafone for two postpaid connections. They gave me the SIM cards and said they will activate it 48hours after verification. A day later the verification agent come, gives me a welcome kit n a Vodafone branded clock and after checking all documents, leaves. I get two verification calls too, and even after a week, my numbers are not activated. When I approached the Vodafone store, they apologized and said it will be activated by evening. 2 days later the numbers are still not activated. I go back to the store and again they apologize saying its a technical issue and ask me apply for a new connection. They again charge me Rs.300 per connection... on being told I already paid Rs.600 earlier, they said it will be reimbursed within 10 days. I pay the amount. Again the whole verification thing is completed and welcome call is given, but my numbers are yet to be activated! Now I have 4 inactive Vodafone SIM cards, a clock, and no sight of a reimbursement yet... so all I can say is I bought a stupid alarm clock for Rs.1200 and that too in an age when I depend on my mobile phone to check the time n wake up!

I wrote to the higher-ups of Vodafone on Linkedin, but looks like no one is bothered!

I later approached Airtel for a postpaid connection, submitted the required documents too. Verification was done on the same day and by next day morning my number was active! What a relief!!!

Anish Achuthan said...

I stumbled upon this piece and I have this to share:

I moved to Gurgaon in November and I've been trying to get a local connection from the day I landed.

All documents in hand I approached Vodafone for two postpaid connections. They gave me the SIM cards and said they will activate it 48hours after verification. A day later the verification agent come, gives me a welcome kit n a Vodafone branded clock and after checking all documents, leaves. I get two verification calls too, and even after a week, my numbers are not activated. When I approached the Vodafone store, they apologized and said it will be activated by evening. 2 days later the numbers are still not activated. I go back to the store and again they apologize saying its a technical issue and ask me apply for a new connection. They again charge me Rs.300 per connection... on being told I already paid Rs.600 earlier, they said it will be reimbursed within 10 days. I pay the amount. Again the whole verification thing is completed and welcome call is given, but my numbers are yet to be activated! Now I have 4 inactive Vodafone SIM cards, a clock, and no sight of a reimbursement yet... so all I can say is I bought a stupid alarm clock for Rs.1200 and that too in an age when I depend on my mobile phone to check the time n wake up!

I wrote to the higher-ups of Vodafone on Linkedin, but looks like no one is bothered!

I later approached Airtel for a postpaid connection, submitted the required documents too. Verification was done on the same day and by next day morning my number was active! What a relief!!!

How do we know said...

Hi Anish: I wrote to the nodal officer to get my issue resolved. Finally, i thot all was well.. AND... one fine day.. i get a call "madam, the documents that you were supposed to submit for vodafone, have u submitted them?"

believe me i can bang my head against a wall and win, but not against Vodafone.. no siree.. u dont stand a chance there..

connectedsocialmedia said...

hi! Yes Vodafone is verrry frustrating. I started a facebook group called Vuck Vodafone. I have posted the link to your blog post there. You can join the group if you want.
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