Sloppy helpdesk cost the ISP our account

Here we were, looking for an Internet connection for the office. I was already in touch with Airtel, but our sales guy suggested I get a quote from someone else as well, to be sure the rates were competitive. Another colleague said her friends were super-impressed by the Tatas; she suggested that we should go with a Tata connection this time. So, last Tuesday, around 5.30 p.m., I decided to check online.

First off, I figured (and confirmed from both helpdesks) that two Tata companies, Tata Indicom and Tata Docomo, compete with each other—something that can be confusing to the customer.

I first went to http://www.tataindicom.com/internet.aspx and clicked on Internet -> Broadband. I got a “page not found” error. [Webmaster: don’t you know how to redirect users to the correct URL?]

Then I went back to the Google search results, and I got http://www.tataindicombroadband.in/. When I clicked on Broadband, it took me to http://microsites.tatacommunications.com/sme/broadband.asp. On this page, it said that if I wanted to know more, I should call 1800-419-2200. So I called the hotline. When she asked for my customer number, I explained to her that I was not an existing customer. She said, “Oh, in that case, you need to apply for a connection and we will get back to you”. [How ridiculous is this—apply? Am I applying for a government job? A loan? A mercy petition? Instead of telling me a bit about the plans and asking for my contact details, she tells me I need to go through the bureaucracy of filling out a form!]

Well, by then, I had closed the page, so I asked her for the URL, and she said tatacommunications.com/sme. So that’s what I typed in, and it only had a “call us” and “write to us” option; no place to ‘apply’ as the woman had mentioned. It was past 5.45 p.m.; I got disgusted and left it at that.

I now know where she went wrong with the URL: She should have directed me to tatacommunications.com/sme/broadband_know.asp instead of just tatacommunications.com/sme—I would then have seen the “apply now” link. I might actually have filled it out then.

Next, I visited the Tata Docomo website. At the page http://www.tatadocomo.com/corporates/?utm_source=TataDocomo_Personal&utm_medium=Header, it says “Talk to us at 1800-266-1800”. I called the number. The woman said, “Oh, for new connections, you should call 1800-266-1111″. I called this number but, once I selected the language, the line went dead.

When I narrated this to my colleague—the same person who had highly recommended the Tata connection—she told me that she too had tried this last year and, after spending a whole day on the phone, she had given up! [Beats me why she recommended it so highly, given her own experience.]

If these guys demonstrate such remarkable mediocrity even at the sales stage, imagine what service I can expect when I actually become a paying customer! Makes me think that “customer service” is something of an oxymoron.

Sorry, Tatas; I really wanted to try out your service, but we instead signed up with your competitor Airtel the next day.

P.S.: If any of you knows someone senior enough at one of these companies (Tata Docomo or Indicom or Teleservices), please forward this link to them. Thanks.

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