Friday, March 28, 2008

Airtel Customer (Don't) Care: As useless as ever

When does a person get frustrated to the core? Probably when he badly needs some help and no one around is ready to assist. Airtel Customer Care is one such call centre which is determined enough to put you in such a hopeless situation.
airtel depress yourself customer care
I do have reason to be spilling my anguish here about Airtel's customer care service. There are many incidents which clearly indicate that Airtel is much interested in cheating its customers.

Incident #1: Connection not deactivated
My friend, who had an Airtel corporate connection in Bangalore, got transferred to Hyderabad. Since he didn't need this postpaid connection any more, he filled an application to cancel the connection and asked me get it deactivated. I went to their office (none of their executives, who come running to give you a new connection, would come to take the disconnection form) around January 20th and gave the application form. They took the application along with the outstanding amount and stated that the connection will be deactivated within two working days. However, after about 20 days, a bill was sent for that connection. When I called the customer care, they told that the application itself hasn't been received! So I gave the bill number of the outstanding amount which I had payed and also told details about the office where I had given the application. They also gave a complaint number and assured the same thing: the connection will be deactivated within two working days. Then again, as usual, I got the bill for the month of February in March. I called the customer care again and censured them about the issue. Again the ready reply came: it will surely be deactivated within 48 hours. I am still waiting for the disconnection of that SIM.

Incident #2: Security Deposit not returned
Another colleague of my friend, who was also transferred to Hyderabad, had given an application to deactivate. But the Airtel people didn't deactivate it and in the next month, they deducted security deposit of Rs. 300/- and deactivated. As he is not insane to come to Bangalore by spending more than Rs. 300/- to get Rs. 300/- back, the money will permanently be with Airtel.

Incident #3: SIM Deactivated because of failed address verification
Airtel address verifiers are not Pizza boys to always find the correct address within half an hour. But don't be under the impression that they will try their level best to find the place. Airtel will simply deactivate your SIM giving failed address verification as the reason. If you call customer care you'll get the ready answer again: Sorry for inconvenience sir. Our person will come today evening and verify your address. This happened with my colleague just three days back and after calling customer care and getting the before said answer every day, today the concerned person came to our office, and gave the report as house address is verified. He told that the SIM will be reactivated by today evening, but you know, I have my doubts!

This is not the end of the list. There are many more similar experiences. According to Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Airtel is having maximum subscriber base in Karnataka. If it's customer care service is so useless here itself, I can't help but feel sorry for the Airtel customers in other places.

One more point to be noted is, it is not only Airtel which follows such a nasty purview with the customers. Apparently Hutch (now Vodafone) and other operators also do the same thing. Sometimes I feel as though having a mobile phone itself is a sin. What is the need of these helplines if they can't even resolve even simplest of the requests raised by the user, let alone extreme technical issues. In my opinion, such call centres should be referred as Customer Don't Cares instead of Customer Cares. They seem to know that the best service is no service. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bannerghatta National Park

Staying at home during weekends is one of the things I hate the most. I meet friends or go for shopping or jaunt around various places in and around Bengalooru (Bangalore). Incidentally, it happens that my roommate and friends are also like-minded, which makes us explore many different places around Bengalooru. Bannerghatta National Park is the first place we chose to mark the beginning of our expedition. Situated at a distance of 22 km from Bengalooru and covering about 25,000 acres of hilly region, Bannerghatta National Park is an important National Park in India one must not fail to visit if you visit Karnataka.

Bannerghatta, Karnataka

Deciding to go to Bannerghatta, we aggregated some information about it. We learnt that Bannerghtta National Park remains closed on Tuesday. One can go either by BMTC buses or by private vehicle. Since there are a lot of buses at regular intervals to Bannerghatta from Majestic, BMTC is preferable. On a fine Saturday morning of 24th November 2007, we left home at 8 in the morning and reached Bannerghatta at about 10:15. We had to stand in a queue to get tickets for the safari and the zoo. Since we had gone during weekends, we had to pay a little extra for the tickets.

Bannerghatta National Park

We started off with the safari. Meshed vehicles of the forest department do a good job of taking you to various parts of the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) amidst a myriad of wild animals like lions, tigers etc. roaming freely in the dense forest terrain. You might even get a feeling of being inside a bone in zoo and all the animals coming and visiting you from outside. Those 45 minutes were truly memorable!

Bannerghatta White Tiger

Bannerghatta Lion

Bannerghatta Elephants

After finishing our safari, we proceeded to the zoo where many other not-so-wild animals and birds are kept. It was an exhaustive collection. Later we moved to aquarium. Maintenance of the aquarium is good. Delighted by the diverse and colourful birds and fishes, we went ahead to the Reptile Park.

Bannerghatta Bird

Bannerghatta White Peacock

Bannerghatta Aquarium Fish

Bannerghatta Aquarium Fish

Bannerghatta Aquarium Fish


We had no idea that there are so many types of reptiles! I didn't know the names of most of the reptiles except snakes and crocodiles etc. We came to know why Bannerghatta is so famous for its Reptile Park. We literally got exhausted by the end of it.

Bannerghatta Reptile

Bannerghatta Reptile

It was already past 2 O'clock in the afternoon and it was time for lunch. So we thought of having food. There are shops and hotels just outside the National Park. We had a nice lunch. Our visit wasn't over since we hadn't visited the Butterfly Park yet.

Bannerghatta Butterfly Park


We took tickets to the Butterfly Park. Butterfly Park is is a kind of unique zoo I have ever seen. It's the first of its kind in India. It's a doom shaped closed space in which various class of butterflies are maintained. Informative paintings are drawn on the walls of museum adjacent to the park. You can learn almost everything about the butterflies in that museum. If you are still curious, you can even watch a video show which gives more in-depth information about these idyllic species.

Bannerghatta Butterfly Park

Bannerghatta Butterfly Park

Bannerghatta Butterfly Park


There are many other places if you want to trek. But we were really, really exhausted. So we decided to come back. All in all, it was an unforgettable outing. If you are bored of the intricacies of the city life and if you badly need to experience the diversity in flora and fauna of the nature without traveling too far, then Bannerghatta is the right place you should consider going to.

UPDATE:
My friends have asked for a few more details, which I thought are worth mentioning here (Some points are already mentioned in the article, but I've listed them here again for the sake of completeness):
  • BMTC bus service to Bannerghatta is very good. BMTC also provides Volvo (A/C) buses.
  • You need to pay a nominal fee if you want to take photographs in the Bannerghatta National Park as well as in the Butterfly Park.
  • Entrance and photography tickets are separate for the Zoo/Safari and the Butterfly Park.
  • Entrance fees are a more on weekends and holidays.
  • You get chats and cold drinks inside the zoo as well as outside the entrance.
  • On Tuesdays, Bannerghatta National Park remains closed.