A 360° Customer View can Ensure Lower Churn

Cell phones have become a necessary evil and mobile service providers seem to capitalize on people’s needs. I have multiple uses for my mobile phone – some typical and the others based on my personal needs, as a result, my mobile is to me, what a teddy is to a three year old. The thought of being without it gives me nightmares - I use it to finalize deals, order groceries, send emails, check social updates, buy tickets, check prices, calculate currencies, create reminders and lots more..

XTel was my mobile service provider for over 10 years, however, after a mammoth new mall popped-up near my building, I could only make calls from a particular balcony. "Wow!" I thought initially - no late night calls from friends demanding a designated driver for their ride from nightclub to home, no sales pitches at odd hours and so on.. Also, I’d started with XTel’s services shortly after entering college and felt a sentimental bond! The idea of switching to another service provider with a new mobile number seemed pointless for the first few weeks.

One morning, I read an email from a friend saying he’d tried calling me several times to ask if I’d like to accompany him to the Jazz Yatra, but could not connect to my phone. The realization hit me - I was cut-off at home without a functional mobile connection! I switched off Chet Baker playing through my headphones and called customer service from my father’s phone. The call was transferred from one IVR menu to another and was three minutes later answered by a customer service representative. I attempted to explain in detail the problem with network connectivity and internet access from my apartment since the mall had been constructed.

Unfortunately for me, they never stuck to their commitments. I called them almost every alternate day asking about the resolution to my issue and why the technician had not showed up – “We called you before sending the technician, but we got no response from your mobile phone ma’am!” I was informed.

“You obviously have not read my complaint – there is no mobile or internet service connectivity in my apartment – why would you want to call me?” I would say every time through minced teeth, “just send a technician any time after 6 p.m. on a weekday.”

Sometimes, I would receive calls on my office phone to ask if I was satisfied with their mobile services and customer support. Usually, I was in a meeting and just disconnected the call. A couple of times, details were shared about the complaint I had made several months ago, but the usual response would be – “Ma’am, we request you to call 121 and mention your service request number – they are very efficient…We also have a new offer for 3G connections, would you like one?”

XTel kept making empty promises to resolve my issue - I was their valued “Platinum” customer. I remained cut-off from friends and colleagues the second I entered my building – it was like I’d landed on the dark side of the moon! Their customer relationship management, customer data management, and internal co-ordination was intolerably poor.

After missing another important call to ask if I’d like to meet an old friend visiting from Scandinavia before she flew back, I decided to switch to a new service provider - TelKom. Before the switch, I decided to clear all dues with the current service provider. Which I did.

XTel refused to close my account, saying some dues had not been cleared. I decided paying would be easier than arguing with their executives or receiving numerous reminders by SMS.

A customer services manager from Xtel introduced himself a few days later over the phone and asked why I was switching to their “inferior” competitor.

I did them the disfavor of not accounting the experiences I had with their staff across teams - my opinion wouldn’t matter for a company focusing on profits not customer satisfaction. Though, I did tweet to my 218 followers about my customer experience with XTel. 

Since they were refusing to let me switch – “Ma’am, your request should come at least two working days before the billing cycle is completed”, and I needed to remain connected 24x7, I had no choice but to sparingly use the existing number till the formalities were completed. Finally, I cleared the supposed outstanding payments again and tossed my old SIM card into the trash.

A quick call to TelKom activated their services to my phone within an hour – no more connectivity issues or exasperating customer service from a mobile service provider that was a dinosaur. 

My mobile phone rang a little later – “Good morning, Ms. Chatterjee. I see here on our CRM software, you mentioned having a very negative experience with your previous service provider when you applied for a new number with us. At our organization, customers come first, we would like to offer you free internet surfing and unlimited SMS for one month, we hope this will allow you to share your new number with all your existing contacts….” I was thrilled and shortly after disconnecting the call updated my social profiles with the new TelKom number.