Customer Service and Satisfaction - Part 2


This is another company that started out with a lot of promise. Around 4 yrs back I searched for a Telephone and Internet Service Provider. Being a small company, I didn't want an expensive lease line.
After looking at all the options I settled on Airtel. The sales team was efficient, the technical team came within a day of signing the contract and everything worked seamlessly. For 2 yrs there was only a couple of instances when I had at outage. The service team was quick to respond which minimized the downtime to less that 2 hrs.
However after that it has been all downhill for this brand. In their rush to expand they have got their basics all mixed up and overall quality , integrity and service has been pathetic if not worse.
This is a company which recently spent a lot of dollars trying to re-invent its brand image.

Over the past 6 months there has been frequent internet outages. The response and resolution time has gone up from 2 hrs to 24-48 hrs. Imagine a software company with no internet connection for 48 hrs. It is next to impossible to get in touch with customer service. And when you get through, more often than not their systems are down. (I think Airtel uses IBM based upon the numerous Tivoli errors I get when trying to pay my bills online)
As far as their cell phone services are concerned, their network quality has dropped. My cell phone only catches their network in "strategic" locations, for e.g. my office restroom, my kitchen at home and of-course when you stand close to their network antennas which are also placed at "strategic" locations

When I signed up with Airtel for an internet plan the monthly charges I paid was around 3000 INR (Approx $80). As my demands for bandwidth increased so did my bill which was fair enough. Within a year's time I started paying around 18000 INR ($400) a month for a 2Mbps DSL line. After a couple of months I realized that the same plan was being offered by the company for 4000 INR (approx 90$). I contacted the sales team and asked them why I was still paying so much when the prices had dropped.  I was told that since it was a corporate account, which meant a dedicated line which meant I got a true 1:1 bandwidth, the prices for the same was high. Also I was told that the plan mentioned on the website was only for home users and not SMBs.
After some months I realized that the speed wasn't 1:1. A trip to their local office also confirmed the same. After repeated attempts of trying to get in touch with their sales team, I kept getting excuses that someone would come down to my office and explain why they were charging exorbitant rates. But no one did really show up.
After some days I noticed that the company had updated their website and now also displayed their corporate plans. The pricing was similar to the home users plan. This meant that I was unnecessarily payment way too much.
I contacted customer service and was told that they would immediately change my rates and I would have to pay less from the next billing cycle. The next billing cycle came and I was still charged the exorbitant rate. On contacting customer service again, now I got a different explanation. This time I was told that when changing a plan there is a one month notice period that I have to give and so I would have to pay this bill. The new billing cycle would be effective from the following month.
No prizes for guessing that the following month also I was charged same amount. Its been close to 4 months that I have been trying change my plan.

The last time I used their toll free number and tried to get in touch with a "person". Their IVR system conveniently reminded me that since I opted to speak with someone, instead of the 20+ automated options that their system provided, I would be charged a flat rate per minute. Need I say more?

Here is a company that cannot scale with the growth they are experiencing, has lost its way as far as quality and customer service is concerned. And they don't even want their customers to speak to them.
 Part 1 of the post is here

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