There can be no greater aberration than miscommunication in a sector that thrives on selling communication services.
Still, this is precisely what I experienced in India recently when I visited the Vodafone customer care centre not once but thrice in quick succession on different tasks. But each time I returned confused with messages not in tune with the industry they tap.
Miscommunication Number 1
First, I wanted to disable 3G data services on my India line from a future date – just three days from when I visited them. To my surprise, I was told that post-dating a deactivation is NOT allowed. So, she suggested that I call customer care on the date from which I want the service to be disabled.
That did not sound realistic as I do not live in India and my aim was to retain 3G services on my line till I leave the country.
The staff at the Vodafone centre in Chennai, however, insisted that it was not feasible to post-date the request. How can Vodafone have something as preposterous as this?
I was, therefore, left with no option other than calling up Vodafone from the Chennai airport for deactivation of the data services, prior to boarding the aircraft (notwithstanding the inconvenience it entailed). I was told that she would post-date this by a week for some administrative reasons. In other words, my request would be complied with a week later.
That nailed the lie that post-dating is not allowed – the message that was relayed to me earlier when I physically visited the centre.
Issue Number 2
The next request I had was to have my mother’s postpaid line to be converted to a prepaid service. My mother had passed away in September this year, so a postpaid line was no longer necessary. I still thought I would keep the line, instead of cancelling it, just to receive calls that my mother’s contacts may make – those who were not aware of her passing.
The customer service representative told me that this could be done only at the next billing cycle. I was fine with it but then came something that verged on the ridiculous. Her position was that she could record my request only when the next billing cycle is near, and not then and there!
That meant a wait for another 10 days after which I can approach the centre for the change. So, she refused to log my request in the system and initiate the change automatically. I found it ludicrous, but she then went on to say that after I make a request in the next 10 days, there would be an on-site inspection, which may take a few more days, before the change is effected!
I had no idea what this inspection was for as I had already provided all the required evidence – my mother’s death certificate, address proof, my credentials (PAN card, etc)
My visit to Chennai was a short one and I had no plan to stay there for another two weeks just to have this simple task completed. So I gave up the idea of line conversion for now, deciding to have it looked into when I go there on a longer stay next time!
Oh, Vodafone India!
G Joslin Vethakumar