Customer service done right (ACT Fibernet) Vs terribly wrong (Airtel Broadband)

act vs airtel

This month has been quite stressful with issues at work and at the new flat we finally managed to move in last week after India Builders locked us out of the flat. I was quite excited about getting an internet connection at home as I know that ACT was available. Positive reviews I have heard about ACT made me to take the jump to ACT though I have been a loyal Airtel customer for the last 12 years.

I took the ACT sales person number from my friend and after visiting the flat and discussing how to go about the line, applied for the connection. Was promised to complete installation within 4 days but for some reasons (getting it concealed, neighbor locking their place etc) it just got delayed and I was just too tired to fight (if you know the usual me) 🙂 and wrote them an email asking them not to deposit my cheque and cancel the connection or initiate refund.

Meanwhile, I called Airtel and they were happy to take the application without a feasibility check which later became an issue. After 2 days, I was told that some documents are missing and they are some delay. This after I called and asked what went wrong. They never gave a straight answer (not surprised) and they said it will be done in 3 days. I called Airtel customer support, but they do not have record of the application as it was outsourced. After 3 days, my application was logged and I got an SMS. I called customer care and tweeted and everyone just said they will get back with an update. No one ever came back. The engineer who was assigned to me never bothered to pick my calls (43 times to be specific) or return my calls. Ironically the Airtel engineer uses an Idea mobile. 🙂 Conference call after conference call after conference call, lies and more lies, the finally I met the engineer at the flat. The issue was straight forward. The builder has the concealed wire extended to the road at one entrance and the Airtel wire/box was available at the other gate. The issue now is to lay a cable between these two gates which is about 20 feet. I asked the Airtel engineer to lay a temporary cable who agreed and vanished. Few more days wasted. No one turns up. More calls and more lies. The most lethargic behaviour I have ever seen in the last 12 years from an Airtel engineer. This guy should 100% be fired. Sadly, he is the area engineer. Pity the Airtel customers in this area. I continue to use Airtel in my office and am very happy with their Kilpauk support team who always goes the extra mile to ensure that our work is not disrupted when we have any issues with connectivity.

Meanwhile, I got a call from ACT customer care executive Senthamizh. She knew the issue and apologised and requested a last chance. Likewise, the ACT team leader visited the flat and requested another chance and apologised for the mistake. I told both that we applied for Airtel and am sorry and that I look forward to use ACT soon. The team leader left his business card with me (which I left in my car) and the customer care girl wrote me an email and followed up with phone calls to refund my application fee I paid and in fact took my bank details to do a NEFT.

Fast forward from May 4 to May 12, I get a call from Airtel stating that it would take another 5 days for them to give the connection due to technical issues which he has no idea about. I was driving home when this call happened. I then decided to call the ACT team leader and Prema has his number on her phone. At 12:30pm she called ACT team leader Prem and check if they can give us the connection and how soon can they give. The team leader said he will check and revert ASAP. At 1:15pm I received a call from the sales guy who informed me that the whole team of Engineers, Supervisors etc are in my flat right now. I arrived at the flat in about 10 mins. At 3pm the connection was activated and these guys signed off.

In closing, my learning

  1. You can win a lost customer by been nice to them and sincerely accepting that there is an issue and taking all efforts to sort out the issue.
  2. Human to Human connection. In all this confusion, I just dealt with 3 persons with ACT (1 sales guy, 1 team leader and 1 Customer care executive) and all three knew exactly what was happening vs the seven guys at Airtel who had no clue what was happening.

For some reason, I felt that these ACT guys were genuinely concerned and took personal interest to complete the installation and set things right.

Now they have one happy customer trumpeting about their great services all over social media 🙂 unless they mess up something in the future which I hope never happens.


Note: Typed from phone (yah the same old iPhone). Please report any typos or errors and I will have it corrected. Thanks.