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20 October 2009

Sad About Kolkata: 
How I survived BSNL

AFTER 32 days of hounding BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., supposedly India's top telecommunications company), I got my Internet broadband service back at home. What I went through has been the most ridiculous carousel of office referrals that I've ever encountered in the service industry in my entire life. It's not enough that I could all each of them only through a BSNL land line (I use Airtel and my office uses Tata). But the worst part is that none of these officers could give me the name of the person directly responsible for customer care--hence, the carousel!

The service was disrupted on 19 September, and I immediately contacted the Customer Care Desk. For a while I called this the "Customer Wear and Tear Desk" as the agents neither spoke English nor offered any satisfying resolution to my plight as a customer. In fact, at one point, a female agent simply hung the phone while I was speaking. She probably thought I was over-acting with my endless patter.

After two weeks, I learned why my service was cut: there had been an underground cable problem. And for this, I had to wait until after the Durga Puja holiday season (read: one week) for servicemen to attend to me. What they didn't tell me wast that after this celebration of the goddess Durga, there was another weekend holiday that involves another goddess, which meant I had to wait for yet another week.

The cable was finally restored this week, and I finally got back my Internet (and my sanity) on Tuesday evening.

In living all these years in Kolkata, I've found that such customer care ineptitude is common in most service providers based in this city. It took me two weeks to get the Godrej refrigerator team to inspect my appliance, and one month for my car to get delivered after payment was received. It's sad to see that the Bengalis, who I think have the most innovative minds in India, have service workers who cannot innovate processes that will deliver rewarding results in customer care.

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