Vodafone India - It's a Zoo Zoo out there.

This is an old Vodafone poster. There is truth in advertising after all.

First, I banged my head twice against two Vodafone India customer service executives over the phone trying to get a solution to the problem of not having email and internet connectivity. Second, I tried online chat (for the transcript of the chat click here), again without a solution. Third, I wrote to the Vodafone India customer service email address to which I have got an automated reply and nothing else. Fourth, I published the transcript of the online chat on my blog and tweeted it to @VodafoneIN. As a response to the tweet, two lovely people at Vodafone, Ankit and Reema, kept on insisting that I send my phone number to them via a Direct Message on Twitter as they cannot find it! Weird, because the chat transcription has my full name in it and it is the same name that's on my Vodafone bill that comes in every month. Weirder, because they record the calls made by customers. So they have a complaint from the same customer on phone, email, online chat and twitter but they still want to know who the heck I am.

But I was born in the era of the typewriter and telephone (called landline these days probably because the other phone line we have is nothing but a lot of air). So I decided to visit a Vodafone Store last evening. It was a Saturday after all and getting my internet connectivity fixed is always more important than spending an evening with the family.

I enter the Vodafone Store at Hill Road, Bandra and begin telling my complaint to Manglesh Pal, Customer Service Executive. He hears me out and tells me that the server is down and I will have to come again some other time. Wow! I ask him if he can give it to me in writing. He says no, they are not allowed to do so. I ask him if he can send me an email saying the same. He says no, they are not allowed to send emails. Okay, can he send me an SMS? No again. I begin to suspect that he is probably illiterate and so I ask him if I can record him on video. To which he points at a sign on the door and says, no to that too. When I say that I will not leave the place until he finds a way around this, he shrugs and says, fine, wait. At this point another customer walks up to him and he leaves me, mid-conversation, to attend her.
After waiting for a couple of minutes I begin speaking to another customer service executive, Akbar. As I am talking to Akbar, Manglesh keeps butting into the conversation despite my reminding him that I am talking to Akbar and not him. Finally, I have to say to Manglesh that it is not polite to interrupt when two people are talking, he shuts up. When I say, why don’t I call the head of customer service, Vodafone India, Manglesh butts in again and says, go ahead call, I will speak to her. (Yeah, I have tracked down the number; the internet is a wonderful thing.) I call but there is no response. I guess she takes her weekends very seriously. Or is not paid enough to answer calls from customers. The latter probably because the last time I had an issue that kept going round in circles, I wrote to her, and there was no reply either.

So here I am. Vodafone India knows my name but cannot find a number to match. The same customer, that's me, has tried to get an issue resolved over the phone, online chat, email, twitter and a visit to the store but they who record calls and in-store record interactions and have a team of people to chat with customers and answer tweets, are still clueless about who this customer is.

Do you remember the pug the Vodafone TV commercials? I guess what they were trying to say is, "Vodafone – The network is a dog and the service is his wife."


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