Airtel is one of the most reputed Mobile Operators in India and the largest in terms of mobile subscriber with more than 28% of the total mobile subscribers in India. While it offers many value added services and has very good network connectivity all across the country, it is also one of the most annoying telecom operators.
Airtel has many IVR services some are Value Added Service ( VAS), really useful for subscribers, some are promotional IVR services. Apart from that, Airtel also uses IVR service for many reminder services. One such reminder is, 3G Data reminder for pre-paid mobile subscriber which is an example of what is an annoying IVR Service.
Airtel has many 3G data plans available for both pre-paid and post-paid subscribers. Freedom of Prepaid subscribers is that, they can do 3G data recharge anytime which will give them few MBs of data usage as well as validity for few days. For example, if your recharge your mobile with Rs. 250/-, Airtel will give you 1GB data which needs to be consumed within 30 days. This recharge will not give you any talk time ie. you will have another balance for your talk-time. If you consume 1GB data before 30 days, and still try to use 3G data, then money will be deducted from your talk-time balance!
In order to inform subscribers about these charges, as soon as total amount of 3G data is consumed, Airtel starts bombarding you with SMS informing that your 3G data has been used up, either recharge more or balance will be deducted.
But most annoying is use of their IVR reminder, where as soon as you dial any other phone number using your Airtel mobile which has 3G data used up, Airtel will force you listen about how your 3G Data has been all consumed and how any further use of 3G data will cause deduction of balance from ‘talk-time’ balance! And it will continue for many days, many calls, what can be more annoying than this ? Think about the situation, you have just met an accident and you are calling police or ambulance for help, and Airtel in turns make you to listen to their warning as well as some promotional message! There are endless such annoying situations!
Airtel should stop such annoying usage of IVR as it gives bad name to IVR service itself! If they have to put such reminder IVR, they should schedule it at the end of the call, not at the start of the call where a person has option to disconnect the call!
Other way is to allow the subscriber option to cut through that voice announcement by pressing some key or some method which should be informed all subscribers by their outbound IVR campaign, SMS campaign or in their web portal.
I wish Airtel employs some IVR Usability Test for all their IVR Services so that they can avoid/reduce annoying their subscribers!