Saturday, January 05, 2008

Change Needed!

The telecom sector in India has changed the life of people by leaps and bounds and in the process has revolutionized the way we view the telecom industry which was monopolized by BSNL. I have had very little interaction with BSNL in the last few years. The last I had contacted them was to get ISD enabled on my landline and I had to wait for 2 months for it to be activated after providing a written letter with a photo attached requesting for the enabling of ISD services. I should have been happy that it at least got done and stayed away from BSNL till absolutely necessary, but nope, I am a sucker for hoping things will change! :-)

I had been to a BSNL customer care center last week to buy a landline prepaid card. I went to the lady who seemed to have nothing to do and asked her for the counter where I could get the card. The lady without raising her hand, without telling a word, just moved her eyes in the general direction of the counters. I figured she is keeping "Mouna Vratha" and moved towards the counters. She apparently is the person in charge of enquiry section! I go near the counters and wait my turn. In the meanwhile, our lady of inaction seems to be exercising her eyes ever so often, with every enquiry being pushed off to some other official or counter. Then is the icing on the cake, when one individual expects an answer from her and not just bharatnatyam movements! This irks her so much that she in fact fires the guy for not being able to help himself! The disgusted customer shouts a bit and then walks out. There goes more business away from BSNL.

Now continuing my time at the counter. I asked for the card and told the denomination I wanted. Later I asked for the call charges, for which the answer I got was "Same like all the other cards Sir". Was this answer supposed to help me? If all the cards are same, then why have so many different cards or so many different denominations. Further more, the official is searching away his small pile of cards for the right one. He is taking for ages and doesn't seem to know what is kept where. I am able to spot the card I want and tell him "The card is there sir, to your left". He doesn't heed my help as he goes about the search in his own slow pace and finally pulls out the card and hands it out to me. The cost of the card is Rs.312 and I pay him Rs.1012 to help him with the easy math to get back the right change. But I was surprised that he got the calculator in front to do the math and waste some more of my time!

The whole experience took around 15 minutes which I think could have taken less than 5 minutes. Its not the 10 minutes that matter, but the lack of adaptability by the BSNL officials to the already changed consumer mindset and expectations!

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