March 2007

Cheap Tricks — Go Offline and Pretend as Busy

With enterprises now serving to address customercare round the clock, a lot of websites and callcenters are trying to a cheap route. They work only for the normal hours and during the off-hours, they put the message like ‘We are currently experiencing a  high call volume“. Truly customer-caring enterprises strive to address customercare needs even when there is a high call volume by taking the message and calling back the customer later in about two to three hours with a resolution.

I have three such callcenters/websites to quote as example, which stand testimony for such cheap tricks deployed to decieve the customers.

  1. GuestTek Internet Services in United States:
    1. Inspite of they addressing a Toll Free 1-877 line, you can never reach them in time. Your line would be on hold at least for two IVR repeats before a customercare agent is with you.  [2 minutes]
    2. Again the customercare agent would ask your first name, last name, full hotel address, extension number. Most of the time, the agent would ask and repeat to keep the call duration more, perhaps. [4 minutes]
    3. Actual Query [30 seconds].
    4. Transferring to supervisor. Repeat 2 again. [4 minutes]
    5. Transferring to another person. Repeat 2 again [4 minutes].
    6. Resolution: Zero. Unless you are lucky.
  2. Live Chat Services:
    1. claims live chat services 24×7. But during off hours, they have configured the OfflineURL to be ‘All customers busy’. See this URL:
  3. ICICI Bank:
    1. As we discussed in Thikkuvay Thandavayarayan.

Grievance Redressal Mechanism of Government of India

I came across this website, which seems to be a part of Goverment of India departments reading as “Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances“. No longer you can keep burying your grievances with Government departments deep in your heart and live with it in burden. Voice your opinions to the forum along with proper substantiating of the case.

However, admit that, even this being a government department and the processes involving government departments, this process might take a long time thanks the excellent bureocratic redtape procedures in place and high levels of corruptions that have seeped in every government department.

Internet Pipes Capacity — Ready Reckoner

With the mushrooming of private Internet operators, cable and other service industrialists attempting to pearl-dive into the ISP foray, we ought to take enough care and (pre)caution that the quality of services that are rendered by these folks are within good quality limits. We should’nt just get carried away by the false and empty promises, assurances and freebies given all such operators.

According to TRAI, an Internet connection can be classified as broadband, only if the throughput is more than 250Kbps. You can check out the press release, which contains the definitions over here.

You can simply calculate the pipe capacity of your Internet connection by visiting any of the following websites. To test the Internet connection, ensure the following simple rules of thumb:

  1. Test the connection under different time periods to gather enough data. It is possible that at a particular period of time, there is a peak congestion of the network.
  2. See whether the customercare is technically sound and knowledgeable to troubleshoot connection issues. It is not that Indian ISPs are totally zero techys and US ISPs are intelligents. I have solid examples from BSNL and Tata Indicom troubleshooting complex Internet issues meticulously and simple connection and modem issues just being disgustingly deferred for a week without a good resolution by GuestTek Internet Services. However, we have stupid creatures like Airtel in India who are blackmarks for Indian ISP fabric.
  3. Most of the following test websites give mirrors that are near you. Test the Internet connection from a mirror near you. The minimum is the distance between you and the website, the connection speed and throughput should be good:
    1. SpeakEasy
    2. SpeedTest
    3. Bandwidth Place (Limited Free Tests)
    4. McAfee Speedometer
    5. DSLReports
    6. Abeltronica Telecom
    7. Audit My PC
    8. InternetFrog
    9. MSN SpeedTest
    10. PC Pitshop
    11. Cable Modem Test

Bad Bad Immigration at Bangalore International Airport

As I have told that I would discuss my observations in Bangalore Hindustan International Airport during my trip from Chennai to Dallas, I would like to brief them over here. On a sharp contrast on the scale of 1 to 10, comparing them against other airport services in Frankfurt, Dallas Love Field and Dallas Fort Worth,  I could just rate them around 2 or 3, with my great gestures of magnanimity.

With my Views and Reviews investigation gap, after I entered Hindustan International Airport, Bangalore, I found the guy who checks and allows passengers to enter, almost just plucking the tickets with force. A more gentle request would be appreciated. Of late, there has been spurt of complaints on the lapse of security services by Industrial Security Forces deployed at Indian airports. Last week, Tamil Murasu was carrying a news that an unidentified man could carry an expired ticket without any passport, visa or related document and could successfully enter the Airport Premises, area reserved for passengers only and then was about to enter Security Checkin area. The first two tier security seemed to be in deep slumber snoring all the way.

Coming back to my experiences, I could find three issues:

  1. As I told, the entry security at Bangalore Airport keeps shouting all along and very harsh.
  2. The Immigration Counter is another just confusing and set of tyrants. Unnecessary questions on why you want to board from Bangalore when there are lot of flights are there in Chennai; What examinations you took for Visa or all types of intimidating questions. I would really suggest they should gather guts to pose these questions to real cheaters.I think he was expecting some undertable bribe too.

I have sent a report on this to Ministry of External Affairs. Let us see if they incorporate corrective actions. Other countries take pride in having a very polite, calm and composed Immigration services, since they are the window to the world and face of the nation. Government of India should do something to correct this malady.