I demand a public apology. You bungled up the BPL transition horribly, and you have to make amends. Face the facts: it’s been over two months since BPL Kerala went pink, and the customer experience has continued to be horrible. If there’s a way to acquire a controlling stake and then integrate a different operator service into your framework, you’ve shown us that this is not it, definitely.
Constant “network busy” errors, wacky billing errors, zero availability of the 111 customer service number (on purpose, perhaps?), changing helplines and recharge shortcodes without any definite intimation, taking down your value-added-services almost at a whim, and the best of all – forced re-submission of all registration data! Just because you are all pretty in pink (and orange and whatnot) doesn’t mean that customers will flock to you.
And what a letdown! The huge “Hutch is coming” feeling that permeated the state and the immense publicity of the launch-day gala made me think, “Wow, I’ll finally get to use a real operator.” Call forwarding, call waiting, put a call on hold, maybe even GPRS and some 2G VAS. But nope, you gave me hell on earth. If I want to make a call from my cell – to any other mobile operator, including intra-circle calls – I have to face on an average, on bad days, at least a 2 minute delay while I work out the network busy errors: there’s no clear-cut solution except to press “redial” again and again and again. And when finally the call does get through, bad reception and voice quality, crackling and interference and sometimes even connections to completely different numbers! We are not living in the 1980s any longer! And just because this state happens to be way down (geographically) doesn’t mean you get to play frisbee with us.
What I’d like is some kind of admission that there are problems. Some kind of data that says that you are working on these issues because on-the-road user experience is way worse now than two months ago. The only positive indication seems to be the way coverage has improved, but that’s such a small piece of the pie. Instead, every one of the bland customer-support personnel seems intent on regarding mistakes during the transition with an all-in-a-day’s work attitude. The axiom seems to be “The customer will always suffer”.
There was a particularly funny incident (in that sad but funny way) during one of the earlier days. Hutch (and earlier, BPL) provide a status SMS immediately after the call gets over which has the amount of money that I spent on it. That’s the useful information, the rest of it are ads. But I’m digressing. By design, these annoying messages are only delivered once after a call. On that fateful day, around every three minutes I would receive that very same message on my cell. Irritated, I called up, to face an irate customer-care rep who got angry at me for disturbing him in the dead of the night (It was around 1). While on a personal level I pity the customer-care reps, the technical bungling that had to happen for a frickin disaster like this only proves my point. Didn’t you have a plan before you ventured into the merger?
Do give me some indication that the tide is changing. Be (wo)man enough to admit that you made mistakes too. An SMS that I got today said I’ll have call-waiting and forwarding enabled finally. Is that true, or is it more promises not delivered? Or is it something like what I like to call the Hutch-recharge-loop: when I call 141 to recharge, it says “Call 500,” and when I call 500, it says “Welcome to Hutch. BPL Mobile is now Hutch. Call 141 to recharge.” How is any uninformed customer supposed to recharge his mobile connection?
Do not bungle up again. Please. I like the image that Hutch offers to the media a lot. The cool kid on the block, the cool ads, the really cool understated media presence. I’d really love to be a Hutch customer. But give me respect.