Why Sify doesn't get customer service

My Internet Service Provider (ISP), Sify if you must know, doesn’t like me. I’m sure it’s not personal but that’s the message I get when they hang up on me, after making me enter a bunch of options and a ten-digit mobile number. It’s not a one-off incident either: this has happened to me more often than I have been connected to a customer rep. I’m not kidding.

I’ve spoken to Sify’s customer reps when I did get through but that doesn’t seem to have any effect. I’ve even written to the head of the customer service division at Sify, but apparently they’re too busy to respond to me either. And this seems to be a problem that they are aware of because one rep told me that “because of high call volumes, you may have problems”. He also said that if I was disconnected that Sify would recontact me but they never have. Now, Sify is part of the Satyam group which has been in the news for the wrong reasons. So, irritating customers is not the best idea for their business.

I cannot understand why Sify refuses to get it. Search for “Sify broadband” on Google and you’ll see the number of complaints that people have. Yes, leaving this ISP is an option but sometimes there are reasons why you have to stick with a provider (coverage, for example).

And, the funny part is that if I want to get a new broadband connection, Sify will put me in touch with a customer rep easily. No need to enter a phone number or anything. For existing customers, they make you jump through hoops. Here are the things you have to do, if you are an existing customer.

  1. Dial Sify’s call centre number.
  2. Listen to recorded message and press 1 for English
  3. Listen to another recorded message and press 2 for “existing customers…” (New connection customers stop here!)
  4. Listen to another recorded message and press 1 or 2 depending on whether your query is “non-technical or technical”. (I’ve written about this in another post)
  5. Listen to another recorded message and then enter 0 followed by a ten-digit mobile number.
  6. Pray that you’re connected to a customer rep and not disconnected.

What do you do in such a situation? I’ll be switching to a new ISP soon, but I wonder about the many people who will still be customers of Sify. Some may not be able to move. What do they do? My recommendation is to complain to the call centre people, to write emails or letters to Sify, to write to newspapers, share experiences on forums (like MouthShut.com) or blogs, or even contact the consumer courts (if you’re really ticked off). If enough people complain, companies will be forced to take notice.

That you have to do so much to get yourself heard makes me sad. Why don’t companies make great customer service their priority? Not lip service, not useless automation, not advertising, just great customer service.

Not crappy customer service, which we are all familiar with, but great customer service. That would really be something.


3 thoughts on “Why Sify doesn't get customer service

  1. I wish I could tell you Sify was an exception, but I think all countries have their pet ISP problem. Over here the one most commonly mentioned is Telewest/NTL/Virgin, although British Telecom gets a fair old pounding, too.

    I can understand the bigger players being complacent about customer service, but smaller businesses live or die by their reputation for good service, whether they be ISPs or any other kind of operation. I think the only way to push the point home effectively is humour – I loved the complaint letter about Virgin Atlantic’s in-flight catering, for example, which you can find here:


    Of course I wish a more traditional form of complaint got the same response, but until we live in a perfect world, or can vote more effectively with our feet, I guess this is what we’re left with.



  2. Yeah Melanie, I know that, sadly, this is not limited just to India. Humour is an effective way and Jasper Griegson’s The Complete Complainer does advocate that. Sometimes though, an angry letter is what’s required — it depends on the situation. Also, it’s not that easy to write humourous stuff especially when you’ve been wronged.

    I don’t think it should be that companies respond only in a perfect world. My thinking is that if a company’s inundated with customer complaints then they should start looking at their products or services and their processes for handling customers, etc. Of course, it’s not easy which is probably why companies don’t do that.

  3. Fortunately, I’ve never so far had a big problem with my ISP – Thanks to them. The minor problems (countable) have been answered/attended to immediately without delays.

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