After the row on Social Media against Bharti Airtel, the telco has clarified that it will train its staff to deal with sensitive consumers complaints which even distantly to caste, religion etc. On Monday, a matter surfaced on Twitter when a customer blamed the telco for giving in to religious bigotry. Later the issue went viral and garnered criticism from many people online. To tackle this issue, Bharti Airtel issued an official letter on its Twitter handle clarifying that the telco does not do follow such outrageous practices while dealing with consumers. A senior Airtel official reported to ET saying “We will have workshops to sensitise executives on dealing with such scenarios.” The anonymous official further added, "But our priority will always be our customers and resolving their issues, and we will continue to respond through the first executive available on the call.”
Airtel in its Twitter post said “We are still trying to wrap our head around how one colleague responding on behalf of another is misconstrued as our ‘acceptance of discrimination’. We did not and we repeat DID NOT change the advisor because of the unfathomable request from the said customer.”
Airtel iterated in its letter saying that the two executives must have learnt a “harsh lesson” that their “religious identities matter” and that “they should check identities before taking up the responsibility of a service request”. The letter further read “However, we will resist that. Strongly. We promise you that we will try our best to let them stay innocent and bereft of religious considerations in the path of their duty.”
Experts also spoke about the matter saying that even though the backlash from the online audience might be soon forgotten, it is in Airtel’s best interest to sensitise its customer care executives for future incidents.
Social Media analysts have also not shied away from making any comments on the incident. Aditya Gupta, co-founder of digital marketing solutions firm iGenero, said “Training its executives to deal with these sensitive issues is the best Airtel can do… A certain section will understand automation, how customer-facing industry works and calm down, while those who do not will wait for another topic to erupt on social media.”
Brand expert Harish Bijoor also said, “Airtel will remain in the pole position if it launches a campaign on how the brand does not stand for any discrimination.”
It remains to be seen how Airtel gets over the tarnished brand image which the social media row has resulted in. The growing unrest in the country, in general, has contributed to the backlash with the sensitive matter being pondered upon by more and more people online during present time.