Customer Service and Vodafone – The sticky ‘ex’ story

For a country that swallowed customer service jobs across the globe, slapped multi storied towers on acres of land building call centers, and made people work through the night, you’d have thought they got one thing right – Customer Service!

“I will give you my personal number” said the lady at the Vodafone store on Mangaldas road, a quite lane in Koregaon Park. “I assure you, you will have no problems with the account again. Ever.” she continued. “Thank you” I said, “but I would like to close my account and terminate my number”. As she reluctantly filled the account closing form, I was happy knowing that I would never ever have to visit this store again or speak to another Vodafone customer care executive, whose only solution to my problems was – “Sorry madam, but you will have to visit the store personally”.

Have you ever been in a relationship where one person wants out and the other is willing to do everything to keep it going? Plead? Beg? And if you still magically got out, the begging turned to harassment and pestering? So much in love was Vodafone with me, that they just couldn’t accept that our relationship was over. Long after I had payed off the last bill and settled all dues they sent me another one! Yes, a bill for a period during which the number did not exist. I had left the relationship. Vodafone had not. They kept their end going, sending me bills and harassing my poor mom whose number I had provided as an ‘alternate’ (extremely bad decision).

I called the Vodafone customer care executive who told me “Sorry madam, but you will have to visit the store personally”. At least they were consistent.

I wrote to Vodafone customer care explaining my situation. They wrote back saying they tried calling me on this closed, non existent number but could not reach me. Poor things, in a corner of their heart they still believed that this number was alive.

One day, my dad received another pestering phone call from Vodafone. The person spoke with a voice of finality – “Are you going to pay the bill or not?’ My dad thought for a moment and decided he might as well give the 350 bucks and shut the matter. So, he told her he would do so, but she must give a clear statement saying that the matter was now closed. She thought for a while and then said: “Okay. Then will you pay 700?!”

We all know that the customer care around cellular services is a joke in India, but Vodafone seems to have taken this analogy quite literally!