Friday, July 24, 2009

Abject apologies to our CEO!

Sorry Abhimanyu. I know you will come after me with all guns blazing after reading this. After all, I am committing heresy by daring to point fingers at some holy cows (Yes, yes, I know… also BIG advertisers) of India Inc. Just in case heresy doesn’t become hara kiri, I have decided to join Lalu Yadav, Mulayam Yadav and Varun Gandhi and demand more security. But believe me boss, what I write below is not criticism; but humble supplication and earnest request to Chanda Kochhar (ICICI), Marten Pieters (Vodafone) and Ratan Tata (Tata Sky).

Being downwardly mobile, I decided to relocate to a cheaper house. Along the way, the magnetic strip in my ICICI credit card got damaged. My wife volunteered to take up the huge challenge of calling up the ICICI call centre. Aft er god knows how many minutes, I managed to request a duplicate card and a change of address. Within three days of my request, the credit card bill arrived. The card has not arrived, though it is almost two months! Just the other day, an early morning call jangled my nerves, I decided not to pick it up. But persistence pays and I was forced to. The caller wanted to know when and how was I planning to pay my outstanding dues of Rs.10,000 something. I told him a cheque of Rs.11,000 had been deposited in the ICICI drop box a few days ago. Two days later, the amount has been debited from my account; but my favourite ICICI man calls up again demanding payment. Madam Kochhar: I have taken three loans from your most esteemed bank and (touchwood) have never delayed or defaulted on any installment. Surely, with the marvellous technology at your disposal, your colleagues could identify me as a decent sort of chap and stop harassing me for payments after I have paid? Anyway, au revoir to that marvellous ICICI Platinum Credit Card.

And Marten Pieters sir. Welcome to India. I am very emotionally attached to your company because I bond with a pug called Chris in our house. He has been around with us much before Hutch unleashed that lovable campaign. Why, I am even thinking of adopting some zoozoos as pets. But I have a problem sir. Every month, a lady with a rough, grating and exasperating voice calls up and demands payment. For the last four years, I have been unsuccessfully trying to tell her that my address has changed thrice. But she refuses to budge. You know, I actually dreamt last night about number portability and Sunil Mittal and Anil Ambani chasing me with new Blackberry handsets!

And the most venerable Ratan Tata sir; hats off to you for taking customer delight to new heights. Our life has been totally jhingalala since we took a Tata Sky connection. We have no clue how and when some channels disappear. When wifey makes a valiant effort to contact the call centre, she is invariably asked to pay more. Like with ICICI, she also called your call centre when we moved house. We of course paid the relocation charges. Last week, my wife decided we had practiced enough austerity and bought an LCD TV. When she called up your call centre, she was told that we will have to pay relocation charges to move the set top box from the drawing room to the bedroom. But what the heck, the LCD TV came with a free Airtel Digital connection. I am now your humble customer too, Mr Mittal!

And Abhimanyu, I am taking unscheduled leave till your tempers cool down.