Category Archives: brands

Adopt A Pothole: A Refreshing Yet Impactful Social Media Campaign from Apollo

While browing my twitter timeline, I stumbled upon a link about ‘Adopt a Pothole’ Clicking the link was totally worth it. “Adopt a Pothole“, is just as it sounds. Simple, Impactful and Social.

What is Adopt a Pothole?

Know of the potholes around? Want to fix them?

1. Start clicking pictures and upload them on http://adoptapothole.in/.

2. Get your friends (25 at least) to support/vote for them

3. Apollo Tyres will fix all the potholes with 25+ supports

adoptapothole

 

 

Adopt a Pothole is a refreshing example of using Social Media for creating connections,increasing brand recall/awareness and having an impact.

The Good

  1. Simple Idea
  2. Addressing a relevant pain point (apt for the brand and meaningful for the consumers)
  3. Low hanging fruit for qualification (just 25 supports)
  4. Inherently Social and Viral (Invite your friends to get your adopted pothole fixed, they can then invite you and others to get their adopted potholes fixed)

The Bad

  1. The site design/usability isn’t all that great. Lots of scope of improvement here
  2. Social Pluggins etc could be used better to leave more imprints on facebook/twitter etc.
  3. Very little engagement on the website. Despite checking it after gaps of 12+ hours, looks like nothings changed and all the data is static

 

From the looks of it, there isn’t much planned to spread the word about the campaign. I assume that the agency in question would be plastering the web with banner ads but a lot more could be done to increase the reach. Basic stuff like having a blog, sharing videos of work being done, user testimonials could be done.

How do you find this campaign? Let me know if you know of another interesting campaign using Social Media

Why only a few start-ups are able to create brands and most fail?

Brands like a few other things occupy a lot of my mind-space  more so since I got more interested in marketing, social media and start-ups. How brands are built and how in most cases even otherwise(including financially) successful businesses fail to build any brand.The bigger the brand a start-up has, the better it gets for getting more business, better employees, better partners/tie-ups so on and so forth. Clearly creating a brand is a wonderful thing for a start-up, which brings us to the fundamental question.

Why a few start-ups are able to create brands and most others fail/take considerably long?

I’ve been in the startup zone i.e working on, for and around startups for more than 5 years now (Haven’t made my millions yet *sob* *sob*) and have closely seen dozens of start-ups coming and going down. In my opinion here are the few things that work for startups that are able to build brands out of themselves(not in any order)

  1. Nature of business
  2. Positioning
  3. Personality of co-founders
  4. Customer Service
  5. Social Media
  6. Passion

Surprisingly I am unable to think of more things that determine whether a startup creates a brand for itself or not. Let’s take these one by one

    1. Nature of business: To drill down further what matters here is

      A. Size of the market: The bigger your potential customer segment, the bigger possibility their is to create a brand. A video sharing platform like Youtube/Vimeo will be a bit easier to build brands on that a document sharing platform like Scribd/Slideshare. Almost everyone I interact with (even the field boys)  know of Youtube and except for a few who run startups themselves, no one knows of Slidshare or Scribd.

      B. B2B vs B2C/C2C: Though it can also come under the Point 1 (Market Size) but I feel this should be listed separately.  B2C and C2c startups doing a decent job are more likely to be talked about than B2B startups doing about fine. A startup that sells insurance policies or gift items to corporates is less likely to be talked about as much as a startup that sells insurance and gift items directly to end users. Reason is obvious, the number of transactions, number of people touched, the viral aspect, the ease of referral and sale is higher in B2C or C2c.C. Nature of the product: Let’s say some products are more sexier than others. For ex: people would love to talk/share about buying a tablet/mobile more than buying a soap/washing powder or mosquito repellent. So if your start-up retails electronic items and people have a good experience with you, they’ll talk about it more than if your start-up sells detergents or sanitary napkins with an equally good experience. Also, because one might value or buy some products more (often) than others. People might buy more books/clothes than furniture in a given period. Thus more chances to talk about them.

      D. In built virality: Some startups have virality in their core. For example some social media sites like Facebook,twitter or even messengers like gtalk/bbm will make more sense once you have your offline network there. Thus, by default you are more likely to invite your friends over to them than let’s say do an app that takes care of your daily expenses or helps you record voice notes.

      E. Customer Experience:

      God is in the detail

      While it might come naturally to a few, most people won’t get it. A substantial component of creating brands lies in the attention to detail. The words on the new user registration email, the design of visiting card(mint picked Dialabook.in’s visiting card for a story), name of the company, the usability of your website/app, how well the search works, which products are promoted, intuitiveness in using the product (thanks to great design).

      EVERYTHING MATTERS and THEY ALL ADD UP

    2. Positioning:What your startup does and how is it different from others?”. The easier it is for people to figure that out, the better it is for them. What your startup does should be quite apparent.If you can’t explain what you do to your grandmom/parents, you *might* have a problem. How you are different from others off course is a criterion for an established industry. For example when the first few e-commerce websites were launched, differentiation was out of question but after a first few years your start up would be put to the differentiation test. “How is this different/better?”.Someone once told me(and I concur) “we do X better” mostly doesn’t cut it*You might have trouble explaining about your cloud based business or how your start-up is creating a genome database but that’s ok. In most cases it should not be that difficult to explain
    3. Personality of Founder/Co-Founders: Startups, their cultures and brands are a reflection of their founder/co-founders. Therefore whether a startup will be able to create a brand or not for itself is a function of the founders personalities. Just like someone who is more gregarious or glib talker will connect/network with more people than a loner their start-up will also be defined/limited by their own personal nature. Initially since it’s the founders reach that defines who all know about a startup, if a founder’s own network is small, very few people will know about it. Not only this, all of the following about founders have huge impact

      A. How active they are on Social Media
      B. How good can they express their product/service/ideas
      C. How good can they present in an event
      D. How good can they gel with new people (even if purely for the purpose of promoting their product)
      E. How well can they leverage their existing connections or previous job(s) and friend of friends

    4. Customer Service

      DO WHAT YOU DO SO WELL THAT THEY WILL WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN AND BRING THEIR FRIENDS. – Walt Disney
      Though this is the most obvious point, I’ll reiterate.  How you treat your customers will have a huge impact on your brand. Not only great customer service ensures that your customers stick with you for long, it also ensures that they talk about you to their friends and if you are good they’ll sell  you to their friends for FREE.  All of the following add up in your customer service ratings

      A. Response/Turn around time of customer service calls/emails. The tone and content of your communication

      B. Community: Having a community of users/consumers that get a kick out of using/dealing with you is extremely important. You’ll get a sense of this in initial months. Once you have this going, you need to make them your brand ambassadors by giving them more reasons or incentives to talk about you to their friends. I remember how when we were building kwippy.com we had a dozen odd super passionate users from across the Globe. Once we realized that we started involving them in our decisions about the product. Put them in an email list, gave them access to features in beta . We also sent an avid user in the US a hat which he could wear for a conference he was to attend

      C.  Picking up and the phone and trying to resolve critical issues instead of going back and forth on emails

      D. Empathy

      E. Surprising them: Every once in a while, you should surprise your customers in whatever capacity you can think of and afford. People LOVE surprises and Love talking about them to others

      surprise_tweet
      Link: http://ladynimue.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/friday-fragments/

    5. Social Media:Independently they might not mean much but together Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Blog, Flickr, Youtube, Quora, Foursquare, pinterest and Soundcloud can do interesting things to your startup’s brand. I vividly remember how we got our first big story on Mint thanks to twitter. You must remember that this is where people of today’s day and age spend their time. The distribution and usage patterns might change but people would still be spending their time here. Startups who are able to create brands, get this bit right.
    6. Passion:At core of every brand is Passion. Passion stems from believing in what you are doing and how useful/relevant it would be someone.  I could have included this point in the founder’s part but wanted to give it it’s dues. If the founders are super passionate about their business and somehow get their team to feel the same way it starts showing up in totally unexpected ways. Everything from how your team thinks of customers, how they build processes, how much hours they spend trying to make customers lives better, how they innovate and more comes from the magic pill called Passion. Most successful startups with brands have a bunch of passionate people showing up everyday for years with same energy and this is what translates into brands

Amazon’s Junglee.com joins the Indian E-commerce Party

 

A couple days back I read this article on Medianama which shared that Amazon will soon go live  in India as a marketplace with Junglee.com, but a tweet  today morning  announcing that Junglee.com is live caught me by surprise.

Amazon, of course was expected to test waters in India this year but the whole junglee.com gig is away from most people’s anticipation of how it will all unwrap.

Amazon for the records is the the biggest global e-retail/e-tail giant which posted $17.43bn in revenues in last quarter of 2011 (35% more than the revenue for same quarter in 2010). The company net sales were up 37% compared with 2010.

Amazon is India

There was a lot of speculation particularly for the last six months about Amazon’s entry to India. Amazon as countless sources have shared, already have development centers in India and had started looking for talent for their fulfillment capabilities.  As per the current regulations Amazon is not allowed to open an online Multi-brand retail store, and can not make FDI  in India except for a single brand retail business, thus Junglee.

Amazon’s Junglee

Here’s how Amazon describes it

“Junglee is an online shopping service by Amazon which enables customers to find and discover products from online and offline retailers in India and from Amazon.com. Junglee organizes massive selection and multiple buying options from hundreds of sellers, and leverages Amazon’s proven technologies and millions of customer reviews to help customers make smart purchase decisions.”

For the uninitiated Junglee is like a Huge Brochure which lists  millions of products from thousands of vendors. You choose the product that you want to buy and then go the vendor site or call them to order as explained here



Here’s a look at one of the category(Books) page

 

Just one book, also I am not sure why am I being shown featured jeans when I categorically chose books.  Bugs.

Here’s a sample product page(for Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist)


Amazon apparently relies of it’s own site for Metadata (Product Description for ex) which in some cases can be really screwed up like for the book ‘I Too Had A Love Story’

The product description is picked from http://www.amazon.com/I-Too-Had-Love-Story/dp/8188575704 and is as far from the actual book description as it can be http://www.dialabook.in/books/i-too-had-a-love-story_1_12247.html

Scrolling down further is the review section. Most part of this section comes directly from Amazon.com



List of Sellers

 

Junglee.com for now has about 5 sellers for Books which includes names that probably feature towards the middle(and bottom) spots of a list of top 10 online booksellers in India. Almost everything from the list except Flipkart and Infibeam can be expected to list here.

Using Junglee as a Seller: Win Some, Lose Some

 

Junglee let’s online and offline retailers to list themselves and their catalogues for free and without any ongoing commission.

 

What it means for suppliers (especially small time indies) is that they get a chance to  drive traffic and sales from Junglee’s visitors and will convert some customers to direct. Over a period of time as in an online marketplace set up their ratings and reviews will determine how they fare in the long run.

The picture however isn’t all rosy. For established players like Indiaplaza (unless there is some non-compete or alliance agreement) registering on Junglee will give them a temporary boost in terms of both traffic and eventually sales but once Junglee starts running it will break its shackles and given them a run for their money by listing Amazon.in as the default/first choice as a buyer. Once that happens the customers will make the switch to Amazon (in place of a retailer they found a few months back) with the blink of an eye.

(http://services.amazon.in has more details on how to set up ads on Junglee.com)

Using Junglee as a Customer: All Profit No Loss

Junglee.com is another (but branded) shiny object for the scores of people who spend hours daily on the interwebs tweeting or facebooking. They know have one more place to spend time and compare prices. It will be helpful in finding alternative vendors for particular categories and helpful in finding product categories that have been literally out of the online sphere, stuff like Pet Supplies.

Within a span of months you’ll find dozens of people selling Pet Supplies and the likes on Junglee. What this means is that consumers won’t have to wait for their favorite e-commerce site to add some category or a stand alone/vertical service around the category to launch.

What’s up with Amazon?: Junglee is the shortest(and smartest) possible path

To begin their tryst with India  Amazon is trying to be the front end(influencer) of the purchase funnel in stead of starting being a back end service provider. It wants Indians to log on to Junglee.com to begin their shopping journey (they can or cannot decide to buy from Amazon) but eventually they’ll make it their in house offers compelling enough to get a huge chunk of the pie.

Here’s how it could unfold for Amazon. Junglee is essentially the market place of Amazon.com abstracted and launched a special business for legal and other reasons.  In Amazon.com’s marketplace lot of vendors put their goods on sale and do most of the fulfillment too. Amazon however displays their products and collects the payment from customers (Think Ebay).

What Works Good For Amazon

  1. Junglee will create an incoming line for new retailers to tie-up. Retailers will flock and list products instead of the company finding them using direct/in-direct modes of advertising or marketing.
  2. User Data: Millions of people could potentially sign up and start using Junglee to discover new products and vendors. All the user and their shopping history details are now available for scrutiny
  3. All Junglee’s set up  can eventually be replicated for Amazon.in’s market place feature
  4. A sense of how business works. Deeper/Closer look at how the things work
  5. Later they’ll start people for accepting payments and maybe coordinating deliveries (Customers buy a third party product from Junglee and Junglee home delivers a product which the third party retailer had in their office and sent to Amazon’s fulfillment center once they get an order). They stand to earn 2-10% commission depending on the product category and services they offer
  6. Use all the Seller info to tie-up directly for Amazon.in
  7. Based on user preferences start offering competitive prices and eventually *produce* them domestically

Having said all of that, Junglee is an interesting piece in the Indian e-commerce puzzle and it will definitely have an impact on the existing market leaders. Most Indians from what I understand would give an arm(or probably) a leg to switch to another cheaper vendor especially if it has Made in America tag on it.

What do you think?

Memeology

It happened yet again. Facebook saw yet another meme apparently meant to promote ‘Breast Cancer Awareness‘. When I logged into Facebook day before yesterday I was unpleasantly surprised to see some female friends put statuses like these

I was caught off guard and didn’t realize for a while and it got confirmed when I saw this

If you are a regular user of Facebook you might remember a similar meme that surfaced earlier this year. While this meme is apparently all about places where women would like to keep their *purse* and not where they’d like to *do it*, the last meme was about women sharing their *Bra Colour*. I’ll not get into the discuss if such memes actually help spread awareness about Breast Cancer or not but what interests me more is the the “how & why” of these memes.

One of the first Memes I encountered was during my early days of Blogging a few years back was probably “10 things you don’t know about me” or something similar. The sheer fact that a trend needs to grow viral in order to become a meme is an interesting thing and it is worth exploring what makes a meme a meme.

A meme is in a lot of ways like a viral (forward) email/sms as it has the essential elements required to sustain and grow itself. Going back to the ‘Made To Stick’ check list for an idea to spread, a meme should also have certain features for it to go viral. Ideally a meme should be

  • Simple (To ensure maximum participation. For ex: Colour of your Bra, Name of your first Crush)
  • Unexpected (One of the parameters for a meme is also how unexpected/weird/double meaning/out-of-the-ordinary it is. For ex: Where would you like to “whatever”)
  • Emotional (It should be able to elicit a connect emotionally. For ex: 10 Things you didn’t know about me, 5 Things I can’t live without  etc)
  • Direct/In-direct call to action(A direct call like tagging people to do the same on their page/blog etc or an in-direct call to join them in the cause as in the case of Bra Colour meme)

Memes are a win-win situation for most users and the platforms(or the causes?) they spread in with users getting something different to talk/show off and the platform seeing more activity. However as someone interested in marketing I wonder if brands can leverage the meme phenomenon.  Your thoughts?

Customer Development Design

I’ve been a regular follower of Seth Godin’s blog and like almost all his posts. However there are some posts of Seth that I like way more than others. A couple posts that really caught my attention a few weeks back were on choosing the customer and training your customers respectively.

Posted at an interval of two days these two blog posts taken together offer a nice(different?) perspective of looking at things when it comes to Customer Development. Against the common notion that you should try to attract all kinds of customers Seth suggests that you choose your customers. Yes, you choose your customers for your business by your brand value proposition, pricing, customer experience and other things. All aspects of the way you run your business attracts or repels certain kinds of customers. You might wonder, why is it important to choose your customers?

It is especially important to choose your customers if you have a perspective/vision and you want things to happen according to that and not according to the terms defined by the market. For example sake, consider two product companies, one of which is very choosy when it comes to picking their customers and would rather prefer a smaller set of customers of the kind that they’d like while the other company is not really that choosy and is open to catering to all sorts of customers, the more the merrier. Assuming they both start from the same point, it won’t be difficult to imagine how differently would shape up after an year into the business. Company A which focuses of select customers will emerge out to be almost on the lines of the founder(s)’s vision while Company B which wants to get as much customers as it wants will have significant difficulty living up to the varied expectations and might just give in to the (un)reasonable demands of the majority.

Not only this, Seth suggests that businesses should also train their customers. Yes, training the customers by encouraging certain type of behaviour by rewards etc and discouraging certain type of behaviour. For ex: If you’ve priced your product slightly above the market standard then there’ll be lots of customers complaining about your price and trying to negotiate their way down(in terms of prices). Now there are two ways to go about it, one that you let customers negotiate and other is to don’t bother. Over a period of time if you follow the don’t bother policy you’ll observe how some price sensitive customers will move out and the remaining customers will get used to the higher than market price and stop complaining (This assumes that their is something that the business  offers to offset the high price).

Another interesting effect that this has is that it helps in building a culture among your customers that’s decided to a large extent by your terms and not the markets.

India: IPL, TV Industrial Complex and Social Media

That new technology, trends etc take their own sweet(not so) time to reach and permeate the Indian market is a well known and accepted fact, and Social Media is no different. While marketing and advertising companies/teams from other countries(especially from the west) might have already dipped deep in the Social Media waters, their counterparts in India are no where close.

When Pepsi ditched Superbowl and chose to spend their budget ($20 million) on a Social Media campaign there were celebrations amongst the Social Media folks world over and everyone(Including we in India) felt that Social Media has finally arrived and the game has changed from being Traditional Media centric to Social Media being equally if not more important. If you think that’s the same with India (transition from Tradition Media to Social  Media at a considerable level), think again.

In the course of last year or so I’ve met numerous Social Media enthusiasts/marketers/analysts and quite a few advertising/media agencies and some guys who are in-charge of marketing campaigns for the brands they represent. Little has changed since last year if we talk about how people who offer Social Media solutions feel and how those who should be using those Social Media solutions feel. Despite all the jazz around Social Media, in India particularly brands are spending a bare minimum percentage of their marketing/advertising budget on Social Media. Not just this, what’s particularly interesting is the fact that in India some brands have started spending more(and not less) on Traditional Media. If these figures are anything to go by

AD Rates for IPL3 and T20 World Cup 2010
you can get an idea of how things seem to be moving in the Indian market. We are increasingly spending more money on Traditional Media and it’s not just TV ads, the print media is also on a roll with Realtors and FMCG companies booking full page ads like anything.  It’s not just a co-incidence that there aren’t any remarkable Social Media campaigns around IPL despite all the hype and hoopla.

Keeping in mind all this and the response that these Traditional Media campaigns manage to get I would like to believe
that the days of TV-Industrial Complex are not yet over in India and it will be another few years before significant changes start to happen.

You Social, We Social

With more and more people from India jumping the Social Media bandwagon, local brands are not standing on the edges anymore and have slowly started to test the Social Media waters. Reliance  Mutual Fund seems to be a new kid on the block. I happened to get the following mail from them yesterday

“Accept Button”?
Curious, I tried to check out what they had to offer and here’s what how things stand. The link takes you to their MF site that has the same icons in the tiniest size possible in the most invisible place possible


And here’s what you get when you click the icons

Facebook:

Twitter:

Orkut:

These screenshots pretty much tell the Social Media story for Reliance MF, which is so typical for most companies that are trying to be there but are no where near the optimum experience. It will take them some time and effort to understand there’s more to Social Media than reposting links and hopefully they’ll get hang of things before they run into a Nestle Like crisis

Practical tips for handling a Facebook Fan Page Crisis

A couple days back the food giant Nestle(after being targeted by Greenpeace) stepped on the wrong side of Social Media by posting rude and insensitive status updates and comments on their Facebook page. As expected, updates like this

and comments like this

did not go down well with their existing fans and those who checked the page because of the brouhaha. Therefore, Nestle suddenly found itself in middle of another debacle courtesy inappropriate management of their Facebook page. The person handling their Facebook page obviously had no idea (nor does he/she have any now) of the blunder he/she committed.

Now that the mistakes have been made and realized, what next? I’ve read as much as ten posts by Indian and International bloggers/social media whatevers essentially either link blogging what others are saying or making the most obvious and superficial suggestions how the tone of the messages should not have been rude etc. Interestingly none of them offered a direction if not a solution of what can a brand do if it happens to run into a situation like this.
Possibly, it’s because none of those who wrote about the Nestle Crisis have ever managed a single Fan page by themselves.

Keeping that aside here’s a quick list of things that I would have done had I been in charge of the Fan page
( I have intentionally limited the scope of discussion to Facebook Fan Page and Off course I don’t expect everyone to agree with my method)

1) Admit you have made mistake(s):
One of the best ways to start your firefighting plan is by acknowledging your mistake and maybe promising that it won’t happen in future. A big brand admitting they did something wrong and apologizing gives everyone the signal that the brand is conscious of what it is doing and sets the expectation right. Also, most aggressive critics and fans turned critics an ego boost from this.

2) Remove offensive content:
Yes, remove the content that offended people. Irrespective of what others feel I am a strongly believer that you should remove offensive content to avoid it offending even more people. An offensive status message will keep getting more eyeballs with time and it’s best to take it out of the loop.

3) Change the Landing Tab:

This is what one gets if they go to the Nestle Facebook page

The deal here is that it shows you the same things irrespective of the fact whether you are a fan or not. This landing page could temporarily be changed to some other tab, say info.

Facebook Default Landing Tab settings.

4)Turn of “Auto expand” comments:

Slightly below the default landing tab drop down is another option that let’s you configure if the comments

on a status will be expanded by default(with top few comments listed) or will they just show up as *x comments*, only on clicking which one can see the comments. The idea here is to reduce the visibility of negative content so as to reduce others doing the same thing.

These are just a few things that can possibly be done to control the situation from flaring further and in case things go really out of hand temporarily stop fans from posting comments to your page all-together.

All the points mentioned above are just for firefighting a Nestle like crisis on Facebook and are obviously not the perfect solution. Some people for example might have issues with removing the offensive content or making it less/easily visible but then a temporary fix needs to be done to avoid things from spilling over. Also, once the basic firefighting is taken care of the brand must get back to doing the right things and work its way out of the Crisis.

Apple and The Irony of Social Media

It’s a great co-incidence that this post comes right after my previous post with a similar title. As I write this post Steve Jobs is presenting Apple’s next innovation ‘iPad’ which represents a new category between the smart phones and netbooks. This launch would easily be one of the biggest Tech events in the History with millions of people glued on to various nooks and corners of the World Wide Web trying to get a glimpse of Apple’s latest offering. Twitter as predicted by some is almost down and so are many other platforms which were experiencing heavy traffic spikes due to the event.

This post is not about Apple’s iPad, it is however about the Irony that I see. In today’s day and age where every Social Media Enthusiast/Evangelist/Consultant/______ in every SEO/SEM/SMM____ company talks about being “Social”, “Listening to conversations and participating in them” and a lot more, here is Apple, a brand that has been in the market for a good amount of time and is conspicuous for not being “Social” as per the standards but it’s still being able to garner ultra hype about a product launch that is capable of bringing many a social networks down and get almost everyone on the ones up talking about it.

All by just making remarkable products that people are passionate about

PS: I can’t think of any Social Brand being a part of any event/campaign of a scale this big, can you?

Aircel Sucks!!

Call it generalization but I’ve always felt that Customer Service is just lip service for most small and big companies in India. The bigger they(companies) get the ridiculous their customer service becomes. Talking about customer service or its non-existence brings me to Aircel.

Aircel is a joint venture between Maxis Communications (Malaysia) and Apollo Hospital Enterprise Ltd (India) and has more than 18 million subscribers(source: wikipedia). Those in India would remember Aircel from its awkward tune and TV ads starring Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni which were aired endlessly for months. Aircel apparently has a 200cr media budget and it shows by their massive ad spend both offline and online. Aircel is a typical case of  The TV-Industrial Complex which goes like

Buy TV Ads –> Get More Distribution –> Sell More Products –> Make a profit –> Buy TV Ads

While they maybe doing a a good job at buying more ads and getting more subscribers I seriously doubt if they are doing any good beyond it. In case you are wondering why do I think so, here’s the thing.

Last Friday(25th sep) I happened to buy an Aircel connection on a whim. Actually I was out to buy a vodafone prepaid connection for my brother but due to its unavailability we thought of giving Aircel a try and given the plans I was told it definitely looked like a wise decision. The new connection was activated in minutes and I was a happy man but that happiness wasn’t for long. When I reached home (about 5 minutes drive from the Aircel showroom/office) I was surprised to find that phone had no network coverage and putting the new sim in three different cell phones didn’t help a bit.

Freaked that I was I tried getting in touch with their customer service but despite hearing ‘we are keen to talk to you’ messages I couldn’t get through the customer care executives in 4 different(2 by my brother) calls that I made which lasts 2-3 minutes each. While cursing Aircel I thought of checking out their site for a possible solution and got to this page

aircel

(Aircel doesn’t think it’s useful to give phone numbers of its various offices/showrooms)

and immediately sent them an email

aircel_email

As you can see I wasn’t really hoping anyone at Aircel would read that email, let alone act upon it and Aircel lived up to its expectations. However that wasn’t it, I went to their store the next morning (10:30 AM) and got the executive there to register my complaint and on being asked how much time will it take to get it resolved and should I really expect any solution for my problem(I really don’t expect them to put a tower near my locality just because I complained) I was told complaints are addressed in 24 hours and they(Aircel) are installing 10 new sites a month based on customer feedback (like I will buy that).

That was Saturday morning and I waited in vain till evening to get a call on the alternate number I had given (Email reply is obviously out of question). I asked a local shop keeper about Aircel network and he too agreed that their network coverage is quite bad. Without wasting any time I bought a new Airtel connection(which is doing pretty good). Curious to see what others think of Aircel I did a search on Twitter

aircel_twitter

and a quick search on Google revealed

aircel_mouthshut

More Aircel Complaints can be read here and here. There’s also a post by Abhishek aptly titled ‘Aircel India: false start

Now that we’ve seen how bad things are with Aircel one can only wish if Aircel was listening and spending money on building better network/services instead of spending millions on roping in celebrities for lame TV ads.

How has been your experience with Aircel?

PS: Had it not been for a long weekend and some optimism on my side in hoping for a reply, I would have written this post on Saturday itself