Airtel User Refuses Help From A Muslim Rep; Social Media Goes Berserk Over Airtel’s Reply!
This was a moment when Airtel could have become a hero!
Daily, we come across brands and representatives of these brands, who are keen to help us. When it comes to customer service, then religion or caste or language doesn’t matter for both the customer and the representative.
It is the task at hand which matters, and nothing else.
But it seems that there are some people, who are hell bent on creating a fake divide in the field of customer service and business as well.
Similar attempts were made in 2015, and then again in 2018 when Ola faced similar religion related issues, but they managed it elegantly.
Yesterday, Airtel too faced a similar high-tension situation involving religion, but instead of becoming a hero, just like Ola, they fumbled.
And social media went berserk after them.
This is what happened.
Airtel User: I Need ‘Hindu’ Customer Service Rep!
A Twitter user with the name of Pooja Singh happened to lodge a complaint to Airtel, via Tweet. As is the norm of most of customer service processes, the most readily available customer service rep was assigned to her.
He happened to be a Muslim with the name Shoaib.
As soon as Pooja received the reply from Shoaib, she refused to take help from him, saying that he is a Muslim.
This is her Tweet:
Dear Shohaib, as you’re a Muslim and I have no faith in your working ethics because Kuran may have different version for customer service, thus requesting you to assign a Hindu representative for my request. Thanks
— Pooja Singh ?? (@pooja303singh) June 18, 2018
At this point of time, Airtel had the opportunity to change it’s history, and do something positive which could have made them a superhero.
But instead, they chose the easy way.
Airtel’s Reply: Shocking!
In reply, they simply changed the customer service rep assigned (Shoaib), and brought a Hindu rep, just like Pooja had asked.
The next reply from Airtel stated:
Hi Pooja! As discussed, please let me know what days & time frames work best for you so we can talk. Further, please share an alternate number so that I can assist you further with this. Thank you, Gaganjot
— Bharti Airtel India (@Airtel_Presence) June 18, 2018
This outraged entire social media, as users started blaming Airtel for breaking the religious harmony of India.
After all, what logic says that a Muslim customer representative can’t be trusted?
Here are few Twitter replies to Airtel:
Sorry but I condemn your extreme prejudice which is a manifestation of your unfounded hatred towards Muslims! What if Shoaib is a good human like Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam? Moreover at a corporate call centre its company’s policies which is followed!https://t.co/tINblfvooe
— DarkKnight (@Nair008Nair) June 18, 2018
— Liberal & proud! (@ohiswear) June 18, 2018
Correct response. The best way to handle this despicable entity is to hurt it where it hurts most – financially. Let us appeal to all in our individual circles of friends and acquaintances (our individual network) to port out of Airtel and on to the competition.
— Shantiveer Kaul (@ShantiveerKaul) June 18, 2018
After the outrage and the angry tweets against Airtel, the company issued a statement and clarified that they don’t discriminate between Hindu and Muslim representatives.
The statement said, “At Airtel, we do not differentiate between customers or our employees/partners on the basis of caste or religion. If a customer contacts us again for an ongoing service issue then the first available service executive responds in the interest of time. We request everyone not to misinterpret and give it unnecessary religious colour. The said customer has been responded to.”
But it was a bit late.
What Should Have Airtel Done?
Airtel should have followed what Ola did, in 2015 and in 2018.
In 2015, a Twitter user named Seelam Veerapa Naidu made a similar demand, asking Ola to provide a Hindu driver, instead of a Muslim driver.
In a terse reply, Ola clearly stated that they don’t discriminate between Hindu and Muslim drivers.
This was Ola’s reply:
@SVeerapaNaidu Sorry, we do not discriminate against our drivers on the basis of their religion.
— Ola (@Olacabs) April 6, 2015
Then again in 2018, another person demanded a Hindu driver from Ola, and refused to board a cab with Muslim driver.
Ola again refused to comply with this weird request and clearly stated that they don’t discriminate.
This is what Ola said, “Ola, like our country, is a secular platform, and we don’t discriminate our driver partners or customers basis their caste, religion, gender or creed. We urge all our customers and driver partners to treat each other with respect at all times.”
Brands have a responsibility to stop religious divide, and promote harmony among all.
This should be a good lesson for Airtel and other brands, as to how to handle such situations.
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