Friday, April 09, 2010

Open letter to Airtel

I am still an Airtel customer and even a minority share holder inspite of this and this! Not just me, my entire family[family here means me, my mom, dad and sis] is an Airtel family.

Sis messaged, she wanted a prepaid recharge for 50 rupees.
Being an uber-cool techie and an airtel broadband subscriber, rather than going to a corner shop, logged in to airtel. Clicked "Recharge Prepaids"

It asks for my mobile number, amount to be recharged and the mobile number to be recharged.
It also has a image verification where one has to enter the string that is shown.

Even though I typed it right, it gave an error message that I did not enter the string properly.
It was throwing the same "string not matched" error even after several permutuations and combinations.

Okie, I will give it the benefit of doubt and I could be visually challenged, may be a sticky finger, or faulty key board, but once if i type the string wrong, shouldnt it give me another string rather than the same string??!!

Then it says, you are a first time mchek user and sends a pin to my mobile number.
I am supposed to fill this up in the website. Once filled it prompts me to enter a new mchek number of my choice.

Now i am clueless what should i do? No instructions on how many characters or could it be alphabets or numericals or alphanumeric!! Only after typing something wrong an instruction pops up enter six digit number.

Then it asks to enter my credit/debit card number. After entering, it asks for my expiration date and then the CVV number. Only to get rejected with an error message.[May be cause i was using a ICICI debit card and RBI said it is a foreign bank! :)]

Imagine, All this for the sake of recharging for FIFTY RUPEES, which I can do it in less than five minutes by walking across the street.

Whereas in their post paid bill payment, all it asks is how do you want to pay?
Once when you choose netbanking,it asks for the service[mobile or broadband], airtel number, and  the bank.

Once the bank is chosen, it is redirected to the bank payment gateway.
Why cant the same mechanism used for prepaid customers? Ask the number, amount, bank, take to payment gateway of the bank, get the money,give the talktime.

Dear Airtel folks, I really wonder who designs your systems, who tests them, and who signs off the user acceptance system and do you ever use what you created? Do you people ever heard of something called as "In simplicity there is no complexity"

Either get a new IT partner or make sure your current IT partner is worth the money  he is charging you.
Or stop investing money in building such systems, which could be used for acquisitions!

Let me run to the corner shop before my little sissy starts writing a open letter to my mommy about my insensitivity towards recharging her mobile!

P.S. P.S
Hope my current employer is not offering the IT services to airtel and have not put my foot where my mouth is!


Ramesh said...

Ha Ha.This is the problem when techies after watching Payyaa are drooling over Tamannah and writing code at the same time. The words "techies" and "customers" don't go together, unless you are uber cool like zeno :)

RamMmm said...

Maybe all those folks have not read the Occam's razor. You deserve it for doing something that could be done across the street with your Net savviness. :)

Are you and me happy with a simple interface in other things? Nope. We love menus and layers of UIs.

Your current employer does that to a competitor of Airtel. :)

They could do some random customer testing (bribe with some airtime or a discount, else no one would test for free) :)

zeno said...

@ Thiru K'ung Tzu
I am far from churning codes! ;)

Sometimes i even wonder do i qualify for the tag, "Techie"! :(

ana cycle gap la kalaikarathula neenga periya killadi pola

zeno said...

Well, Now I have read Occam's razor and wiki entry doesnt do justice to the razor :) Left my head spinning asking for a coffee.

I usually prefer simple interface for obvious reasons.[less work you see ;)]

Should i be happy that i am a customer for airtel :P

They could put up a proper[easily reachable] feedback form and read the customer emails. search the net for forums where there are complaints on them. set up some twitter account or FB page to talk to customer.rather than charging the customer for customer calls. Lots of ways to reach the customer or to identify issues!

RamMmm said...

Your last para is an utopian dream. :-) Customer care is costly. :-)

Deepa said...

:D:D zeno! you are incredible! Believe me, this has happened so many times with so many sites, that usually if I see some forms or registration on a site, I am out of it. These services are more repulsive than attractive to a customer!

zeno said...

@ Deepa, welcome. I guess we have to leave with pain. not all companies listen to customer. not all companies listen to their employees. not all have the best frugal designers. so ppl like us will suffer and crib!

Mohammed Riza said...

I found this site where you can get a prepaid recharge for Airtel as well as other service providers.
I have been using it for Airtel prepaid for over a year now. Found no issues at all.

zeno said...

tks riza shall check it out :)