Here are some updates on [[http://airtelcallhome.com|Airtel Call Home]]:
* As others have noted, the website is completely broken. I had been getting the completely useless “There was some problem register your phone number” since Friday (when I registered). However, as of last night I’ve been able to register my phone numbers on the website. So give it a shot and it may work for you.
* The website doesn’t show me my call details (yet). And I haven’t been keeping close track of the duration of my calls. So I have no idea if they are honoring the rates. I’m guessing they are. But if you any conclusive data either way, please report!
* I still haven’t been able to reach the customer service. Frustrated, I even sent them emails at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. No response yet though. See more on the email below.
* One feature I truly love in Reliance (and earlier in Bigzoo) is the ability to setup short key codes for numbers you dial often. Its a real pain having to dial (and remember!) the numbers each time. This is an obvious feature, so I really hope Airtel is working on it.
* Surprisingly there has been no reaction from Reliance so far. I guess Airtel is not a threat (yet). But hopefully they will soon, and slash their rates a little bit.
* Largely the first impression of Airtel’s service is really bad. This doesn’t bode well for them and they should do something about it ASAP. That, or remove such claims from their website: //With our cost
effective service and dedicated customer care support, call home and talk as much as you like.//. Dedicated?? You have to be kidding me! Certainly dedicated to not giving any support at all!
Here are some other posts about their service, pretty much everyone saying how much they sucked:
* [[http://its4us2think.wordpress.com/2006/12/12/airtel-call-home-sucks/|Airtel Call Home sucks]]
* [[http://oktoberchyld.blogspot.com/2006/12/airtel-call-home-india-calling-service.html|A case of no action talk only]]
* [[http://www.jroller.com/page/abg?entry=airtelcallhome|Airtel Call home]]
* [[http://amanthan.blogspot.com/2006/12/airtelcallhome-sucks-big-time.html|Airtel Call Home sucks big time]]
As you can see, Airtel definitely better get their act together or they are going to quickly die out and lose this huge opportunity.
Here are some excerpts from the email I wrote to them:
* The customer service number is virtually UNREACHABLE. I’ve been trying the number since morning and haven’t got through even ONCE. I can understand that the number is busy, but this is not the first customer service I’ve called. At the very least have an automated message telling the caller to patiently
hold on while some agent becomes free.
* The website is just UNUSABLE. Fetching account info on the main page never works. Setting up registered numbers never works. The error messages are not informative and cryptic at best. Current balance shows up sometimes and some other times it doesn’t. The site doesn’t work properly under some popular browsers (read Firefox).
I forgot to mention one of the worst things about their system. The login ID is a string of random numbers. Why? Why can’t it be a regular user id that I can choose? Why can’t it be just my phone number? To their credit, they have pretty stringent rules for the password. But then I have a different 10 digit account number (which is different from my user ID). //And// I also have a 4 digit PIN number. So to use their service, they expect users to remember 4 random strings of numbers? Yeah right, dream on Airtel!