May I HELP you?



After walking for about 10 mins from my home, a brightly colored board attracted me. The color and the big logo along, which were visible from a distance, helped me to know that I was at the right place, I was looking for. As I reach closer and enter the plush center, I am greeted by the brightly colored ambiance and the matching desks and chairs across the room. The air-conditioners atop all the walls ensured that the temperature was kept much cooler than outside and it was quite a relief from the heat outside as well as all the sweat due to perspiration from my walk up there.

smiley exec
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A quick glance around saw many youthful faces dressed in crisply ironed uniforms. The women had white shirts and black trousers while the men wore white shirts and trousers with a tie complimenting it. The ladies had their hair tied in a bun and most of them adorned their lips with a bright coloured lipstick to match with the background they sat amidst. Each one had his name pinned on to his shirt with a tag on it “May I Help You”.




As I was admiring all this, a voice greeted me “May I help you?” I turned back to find a youth, in his twenties perhaps, smiling at me as he greeted. By now my mind was sure and certain that my query would be solved in a while. His name ‘HARSH’ shone brightly on his chest ‘pin’ and I put forth my query. It had been long since I was having trouble with the network in my area and also there had been issues in my mobile billing. Mr. Harsh assured me that I would be attended shortly and asked me to be seated comfortably on the sofas that were placed in the middle of all the counters that attended to customer queries. He gave me a token number and asked me to await my turn. I sat down and looked around all those who had come before me. Some of them were filling out details on forms given to them while others were in conversation over there mobiles or playing with the gadget to pass their time. Few of them were engrossed thinking and some chatting away with their partners along with them, as they awaited their turn.

Listening to the bell as it rang and viewing the token number being displayed each time, I was watching the clock tick. It was now almost more than half an hour and I was getting restless. But one needs to have patience at such centers is what I was told, so I was calm observing others to ease myself of the restlessness. Someone at one of the counters was irritated with the executive and was shouting on top of his voice creating a noise. The executive who sat across showed no signs of remorse and was blank in his expression. A girl at the next counter was smiling as she was explaining the mobile plans at the next counter uttering minutest details with quite ease. A man in his fifties, who seemed like a vendor or a helper, was getting his mobile Sim card for the first time and was eagerly watching the executive, across the desk, as he placed the Sim into his phone. He was delighted to have it and asked when it would be active for use. The executive told him that he would have to wait for 24 hours when he could start dialing from his mobile. He had a sign of great delight as he left the store.

The bell rang and the number ‘250’ popped and I was up on my toes, with a sense of having won half a battle, as eyes of those awaiting their number stared patiently. The executive who was to attend my query was a girl named ‘GANDHARI’’. We exchanged smiles as I explained my problem. She said that the network query would be attended by engineers in the next 48 hours. She then typed my mobile number on the keypad in front of her and her eyes rolled up and down the monitor giving me a glance in between. She saw the details and said that I was getting the bill as per my plan. I asked her why there was an extra charge that was shown in the bill. She told me that was as per my plan. I said my plan mentioned it was of Rs. 299 and why was I getting extra when the bill details showed that my call details were less than the amount. She made all the efforts to convince me that I had to pay the bill as this was what was on their ‘record database’. Not convinced with her explanation, I asked her to speak to her senior for a detailed discussion. She answered that it would not be possible to meet them as they were in a meeting. I asked her to give me his number, so I could speak to him later, but she said she could not do so and I would have to call the call centre to register any complain. By now, all my fancies and hopes of solution had burst and I was dejected by the entire episode. The cool atmosphere around felt no longer soothing and I was feeling hot within me even more(I now know another reason for keeping the temperatures cool… perhaps to cool all those customers as their temperatures rise after one such visit). I left the store staring once again at the board and logo that had welcomed me.

On my way back, while my mind was analyzing the entire episode and unhappy about the service, I got thinking, as to who is to blame for the service (rather disservice) that was meted out to many customers at such centers. I think it would be wrong to blame only the people who sit across and face the customers. They are just punch bags which are in front of us. They take the blow, that’s all… nothing more. There lies a lacuna in the system when catering to customer numbers as high as in India or Asia for that matter. Also most of the ‘Executives’ truly just execute as they are trained, making the least effort to use the big analytical and logical compartment that lies in their head on their necks… their brain!

call centre

The same holds true with the customer service executives at the call centers. They start ‘parroting’ out whatever information they are given right from our ‘Hello’, starting with suitable greetings to begin with and ending with all the details that are there with them along with a ‘Good day’ to end the call, irrespective of the fact that they were called at night!

And so as I reach home I put on the fan and relax to the tune of music and get back to my chores. The next 48 hours have passed and I have no sign of my network problem solved or any call to relieve me of my woes. May be I need to ‘Help’ myself and my phone with the circumstances that surround us!



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