Of Customers and Customer ‘Cares’

I have already spoken about the pitiable state of today’s consumer in one of my previous posts ‘Confusemerism‘. This post is in continuation to that, to showcase the apathetic treatment that is meted out to customers today. The text that follows below is the mail I sent out to the customer care of the DTH major, BIG TV and the response from their customer care. Specific details are withheld to protect privacy.

To Whomsoever it may concern –

I am availing DTH services from Big TV since December 2010. I have 2 registered STBs whose IDs are quoted below.
STB #1 [Parent] – <number1>
STB #2 [Child] – <number2>

I am one of the many consumers who are stricken by the incorrigible audacity of corporates who craft customer policies that eyewash customers as being beneficial but are authoritatively exploitive in nature.
It is indeed sad to note that a company like Reliance ADAG, coming from the house of one of the pioneers of Indian business, has succumbed to the herd mentality of abusing customers and not being customer friendly. I offer substantiation to justify my claims.

It has been 3 months since we got transferred to Biwadi [Rajasthan], from Chennai. Coming from a typical South Indian setting, language is a huge barrier for day to day communication. The apartment complex we reside in does not endorse setting up DTH services of our choice, the monopoly is held by BIG TV DTH providers. Every resident MUST install Big TV DTH in order to watch the very basic television. The incredibly customer-friendly TATA SKY DTH service was of no use when we shifted as we had to migrate to Big TV DTH.

The installation and choosing of the individual packs was done by the local salesman. On registering online, I was informed that I am availing a channel pack named “channel_pack_1” which costs Rs.300; along with “Tamil Pack – C” which costs Rs.5.

Since we are not comfortable conversing in Hindi, I assumed that my queries will be answered on contacting the customer care.
To my dismay, even on selecting the option for English through the IVRS, all customer care executives converse in very fluent Hindi, whose content we cannot comprehend. It is sad to note that the customer care unit of a business giant like ADAG has executives who cannot converse in basic English.

The customer care also wasn’t of much help as I only ended up getting more confused. I was informed that we are availing multiple STB discount. I was also informed that I could add/remove any channel pack of my choice online, over the internet.
However, I was unable to find a ‘Pack selection’ option either on the the BigTV site [http://www.reliancedigitaltv.com/home.html] or on the Reliance services site [http://myservices.relianceada.com/]. I only found an option for online recharge which is to recharge my account and increase the balance along with different PDF versions of the available packs.

On going through the packs available, I was able to conclude that they aren’t designed in a way a normal customer who stays at home wants. A customer will have to choose all possible packs to get his basic TV watching needs satisfied. Just to quote some examples –
Referring to “Add-on-packs” –
1. Infotainment pack includes Nat Geo, but doesn’t include Discovery Channel. I have to avail Discovery Channel via the a-la-carte option. However, if that is done; I stand to lose out on the Multiple STB offer that I currently get for having 2 STBs.
2. Neither the ‘English Movie pack’ nor the ‘Jumbo Entertainment pack’ include Star Movies. The same scenario with Discovery channel applies to Star Movies too.
The only option I have is to choose all possible packs to watch the few channels I want.
FYI, Discovery Channel and Star Movies were basic channels that we used to get from cable operators way before the advent of DTH.

In conclusion, a customer like me, who doesn’t expect much from service providers, ends up getting confused and is taken for a ride. A mail of this intensity solicits a response.

Ashwin

Response from the Customer care –

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Reliance Customer Care.

This is in reference to your e-mail regarding Reliance Digital TV services.

Thank you for taking time to contact us to explain the issue. We regret any inconvenience you have experienced.We treat each customer’s suggestion as a feedback to improve our DTH services.

In future if any changes made to existing pack and channel offering you would be informed

Digital TV aims to consistently deliver a professional service to our customers and we would like to state that on this occasion the level of service you received was unacceptable.

Further to your complaint regarding poor services received from our Customer Care, we are deeply concerned by the feedback provided by you and also regret the inconvenience faced by you while using our services.

Yours sincerely,

<Name>

Customer Care

Reliance Digital TV

Point to ponder upon – All this said and done, nothing will change for the time being. Just a couple of mails back and forth, and things will be back to square one again. Companies will get back to what they do, and consumers will get exploited as always is the case.

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