The Enigma

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Phone On. Caller Tune On.

Make way Telemarketing, Reliance Communications is here with new idea of selling the time each of its subscriber's phone rings as a Classified space. Seems a nice business idea for Reliance ADAG, they have tried it and succeeded with their own in-house Reliance Power. In a step up to the Reliance Power IPO, Reliance Communications has gone ahead and set the default Caller Tune of millions of its customers to the Reliance Power tune. Call any Reliance customer who hasn't apriori activated his caller tune service and you would get to her the Reliance Power jingle. This has a two fold effect. First, if the customer likes the caller tune or just ignores it, his callers would get to listen to Reliance Power. Advertising for Reliance Power achieved. Second, if the customer dislikes the caller tune and decides to opt out of it, Reliance ADAG would ask you to be patient for 72 hours as your request is under process. So, the customer would, out of frustration or to save face, just dial * when he is listening to someone's caller tune he likes. That means one more customer for the Caller Tune Service, most probably! Some astute way of selling, I tell you!

The tune, unfortunately, is so incoherent on the phone and makes the caller feel low of the person he has called. It has happened to me, so its experience speaking. Reliance ADAG in an effort to maximise its chances at the bourses, has left no stone unturned. Somebody lists the onslaught here. It is agreed that Reliance Power is going to rewrite what DLF has written, and it is a boon for the retail customer and blah and blah... But, shudn't there have been some ethics come into play when they planned their advertising?

In the era of opposition to Telemarketing, and formation of DND registries, Reliance has just opened up a new door for vouyuer marketers. The customer was neither consulted nor given an option to opt out of the service after it had begun. It is ironical to see that to copy a caller tune, you just have to dial a *, but to remove it you have to wait 72 hours after calling the Customer Service by which time the due damage could have been done. It is intelligent marketing and money making strategy, but too much of an intrusive one at that.

Apart from the woes of being a Reliance customer at such a juncture, I must actually be awed by how intelligent Reliance ADAG is when using its businesses to brand one of its businesses. Radio, multiplex, Telephone initially might seem not in fit with Capital, Finance, Power, Insurance etc... but the value they bring to the table to build the brand of something relatively unknown like Reliance Power tells us the positivity of a diverse business basket. Thanks to the existence of so many channels of Reliance ADAG, the folks have been able to cut corners and keep the figure of ad spend for Reliance Power to just Rs. 20 Crore. Just 20C for something not less than 9K Crore. Now, that's RoI.

But from the customer angle, the woes remain. A customer care that doesn't help, a company that doesn't provide information of opting out, and millions of customers knowing not where to go. That is Reliance Communications for you!

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At January 15, 2008 2:47 AM, Blogger Prasoon said...

Your last paragraph just steals all the limelight you gave ADAG :P
Talk of it, there is nothing that is impressive about the group. the caller tune makes me believe that the whole company is a dud. Are you being charged for that CT - if so, that'll be the icing on the dessert kinda situation.

At January 15, 2008 3:10 AM, Blogger Saraswathi said...

That's really poor customer service. I don't know about the situation in India but the Reliance India Call card that we buy here in US to call India offers a great package of 7 cents per minute but then their website is always down. If you are fortunate enough, their website will be up and running on "some" day and we have to buy excess of the calling time so that we don't fall short of the calling time while speaking with parents. Probably we could shift to some other calling card service here. But we are sticking onto reliance because as the saying goes: "A known devil is better than an unknown angel" :)

At January 15, 2008 3:14 AM, Blogger Saraswathi said...

And the funny part is when we tried to register a customer complaint for poor service of the website even then the site was down :P and the number for customer service did not work :P

At January 15, 2008 11:15 AM, Blogger Syber said...

To remove the Reliance Power IPO Caller Tune, send an sms, "No ARBT" (without quotes) to 51234. No charges apply.

At January 15, 2008 6:12 PM, Blogger Sangeetha said...

Grrrrr.....Read my take on it!

At January 22, 2008 12:35 AM, Blogger ~Amod~ said...

Reliance always has its way in India. They tried to force Qualcomm to reduce royalty and handset prices immediately, and got a fair amount of success. Haven't you seen them recruiting our college toppers(seniors) for meager salaries? :D

They're king of cost cutting and finding cheap ways to promote their stuff.

At January 24, 2008 4:28 AM, Blogger Malavika said...

all in the name of business my friend :)

At January 31, 2008 4:22 PM, Blogger chandu said...

Gosh1 that's horrible service!

- chandni

At February 03, 2008 3:08 PM, Blogger revatechnic said...

just recently changed my caller tune.... enough of Shivaji!!!

At February 16, 2008 6:07 PM, Blogger Mirage said...

Which is why being single is THE best! :P


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