Amalgam of Thoughts

"Cogito Ergo Sum" - I think therefore I exist
-Rene Descartes

24 March 2006

Hello! How may I Hell you?

A major pie of the call centre outsourcing has been coming the way of India. Some say, it goes to show how benevolent Indians are. But are they as benevolent to our own people? Satwik just got a whiff of incompetent customer service from Airtel - one of the more popular cellular service providers here in India. Read his story (Nandan's comments display the irony I speak of!)

The Helpline employees of most of these Call Centres spend hours and hours on speaking fluent chaste English. But they forget to learn what they have to speak about. Just place a call to the Customer Service and ask some simple questions, you will be sweetly guided to wait for some moments and while you listen to some boring tunes, the customer service employee digs for answers on his terminal.
What was more ludicrous in Satwik's case was the attitude of the Service employees, who went as far as saying "Go ahead and complain to Airtel Head Office. Tell them people out here are incompetent". You dont know if you have to be enraged at the situation or pity them. So much for Professionalism. And Airtel's punchline is - Express Yourself

I've faced such un-professionalism with Hutch too. After having cancelled one of the Hutch connections at our office in Dec '05 we still keep receiving bills for that number. Last month, after visiting the Hutch shop to lodge a complaint something truly amusing happened. One of the irate customers started censuring one of the Hutch employees for misguiding him. Panicked, the employee ran behind the counter. The executive dealing with my complaint went to attend the enraged customer. After waiting for half an hour when the irate customer left, we could finally see the meek employee pop his head from behind the counter. I didnt lose the opportunity to lambast the executive who wasted my precious time.
It turns out that the Billing software most of these cellular providers use is utterly disgusting. The very fact that, after having disconnected Satwik's phone and our phone 3-4 months back, the bills kept being generated regularly goes to show how bad the software is.

Seeing all this incompetency one begins to wonder if Privatisation is after all the best answer. Ofcourse, it provides competition to Public Companies, but it is only in terms of Price. The ease of registration, Billing, Customer Service in these Public companies (e.g BSNL) is truly unmatched, least by Airtel, Reliance or Hutch. They have a lot to learn from BSNL or MTNL.

12 March 2006

A Precedent of things to come!

The First race of the Formula 1 season just concluded at Bahrain. If you glance at the winner and see Fernando Alonso you'll feel "Ah! This year's gonna be the same ". But take a look at the names of those who followed him and you get an idea of how the season might go.

Schumi & Ferrari - Back with a bang!
Michael Schumacher and Ferrari are back. The 37-year old Schumi managed to get the pole position, and his new partner Massa managed 2nd position. But a quick start and some amazing driving saw Alonso overtake Schumi for the top spot. Until the 2nd pit stop Michael was holding up very well, although his team-mate spoiled the show for Ferrari fans. In the hindsight, we can expect a lot more competition from Ferrari this season, who had a string of lacklustre performances last year.

Deja Vu?
For McLaren, especially, Kimi Raikkonen it seemed that his (Bad) luck followed him to this season too when his car gave away in the qualifying and he had to start from the back of the grid. But the fighter that he is, he just took one stop and kept creeping higher and higher on the race position and finally managed to hold his 3rd position from Button in BAR Honda. Juan Pablo Montoya, however, seemed very dull and sluggish although he finished 5th. On the whole, Mclaren managed to get both their cars in points. But seeing the manner in which Kimi was able to make most of the situation with his car, we can guess that Mclaren too has a competitive car.

Rookie of the year?
Rosberg of Williams was the person who got everyone's attention in todays race. On his debut race, he drove with determination and in the last 8 laps did 2 excellent overtaking manoeuvres to grab the 7th position. Apparently, as the commentators pointed out, his father was a world champion. That makes it certain that this is the guy who is going to grab the limelight this year. His teammate Webber finished 6th. So a good start for Williams too. Which means bad news for Narain Karthikeyan who with grave difficulty salvaged a 2nd test driver position at Williams.

Huge year ahead
If this race was a precedent of things to come this year, then kindly buy yourselves a seat belt for the chair you sit on while watching F1. Its going to be close, real close and we hope no team complains that they didnt have a good package to compete. Finally, it is possible that the race will be of the ability of the drivers and not the engineers! Good Luck to all the teams