Friday, November 23, 2007

He he he, Namskara!

I am in a meeting. Phone rings. Unknown number. I had just taken a new connection a couple of days back and the only my immediate family and friends knew the number. So I assume it must be important, excuse myself from the meeting room and answer the call. The voice on the line goes, "He he he, Namskara ..." Sounds like someone called the wrong number so I politely try to explain. But the voice on the line does not seem to care. That is when it occurred to me that it must be a recorded voice ad from my mobile operator.

After the meeting, I try to call up the customer care centre but all their executives are busy. So I try again and then again. But even after an almost a hundred attempts, all the customer care executives are still busy and I'm the only one having nothing better to do. That’s when I heard about the national do-not-call registry. After some searching, I finally find my mobile operator's do-not-call web page, filled it and click the submit button. That was two months ago.

I still get an average of three calls per day. If I don't answer it, they immediately follow up with an SMS. Very prompt. But then again, all is not as hopeless as it seems. I heard from a friend that he gets similar calls on his landline from a competing operator. Imagine dropping whatever you are doing and running to answer the phone only to discover that your mobile operator has a new ringtone for download. If that isn't bad enough, there is this other guy I talked to, and he actually got a call from one of those busy customer care executives offering to block unsolicited calls for only 99 rupees per month. Now that is the definition of the word - hopeless.

However, this experience has served to broaden my perspective. I now understand that people don't always think alike. My friends and I may not like receiving those calls. We may find it annoying. We may even consider it downright harassment. But there must also be more than one marketing executive and his manager who think that this is a great idea. Come to think of it, if it serves to broaden people’s perspectives, then certainly it must be a good thing. In fact, it is entirely possible that these telephone operators are trying hard to broaden people’s perspectives out of as sense of corporate social responsibility. And customers like me who have had their perspectives broadened should be thankful for that.

PS: Figured out a way to reach one of those busy customer care executives. Called the customer care number from my office phone. Talk about differentiated service!

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