Bharti Airtel Issues Letter Saying it Did Not Bow Down to Religious Bigotry

Late on Monday, a controversial matter spurted on Airtel’s turf to which the operator responded on Twitter saying that it did not bow down to religious bigotry. Airtel clarified on its Twitter response saying that their practices do not involve any kind of religious discrimination and also added that the organisation doesn’t hold any executive’s religious identity accountable for its work. The matter came into light when the telco was alleged of bending down to the ‘outrageous’ demand of consumers who called the customer service and asked to talk to a person of a certain religious inclination. The caller wanted his query to be resolved by an Airtel executive who belonged to a particular religion.

bharti-airtel-religious-bigotry

The matter caught fire over Social Media after Monday, and as a result, the telco has been heavily criticised online for its practices. The letter by the telco which it uploaded on Twitter read “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.”

The issue came into limelight on Monday, where the customer complained about Airtel’s service on social media Twitter. However, during the interaction, the customer demanded that she wanted an executive belonging to a certain religion to escalate the issue. Unintentionally, another executive responded to the tweet and he coincidentally happened to be from the same religion that the customer had mentioned.

In its letter, Airtel made its stance clear by saying that the complaints in customer service are transferred automatically and not based on any other factor whenever the previous agent is logged out. The telco also took a jab in the letter when it said that the executives must have learnt a “harsh lesson” since they got to know that their “religious identities matter”.

Airtel clearly mentioned that their practices do not involve checking the executive’s identity before transferring the call to them and it further added that their training manual also doesn’t dictate any similar practice. The letter said “That they should check identities before taking up the responsibility of a service request. Maybe from here on, they will. 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.”

Social media analysts have also made their comments on the controversy saying that the companies who are resolving complaints on social media should have a team of expert who can identify and act quickly based on the situation. Since the escalation of these matters might lead to a tainted brand image.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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Kirti | DelhiGirish Gowda | BengaLuruKaushik IMAQuickSilver Recent comment authors
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Girish Gowda | BengaLuru
Girish Gowda | BengaLuru

Airtel itself is a huge bigot. No wonder it has to justify a stupid comment made by some random person and specifically in this one case at this particular point and not the hundreds of others all through the years. Lets see them handling the real issues of customers and then we will see. Until then Airtel itself is the biggest bigot in the playground.

Girish Gowda | BengaLuru
Girish Gowda | BengaLuru

No wonder it has to issue a statement against a stupid comment*

Kaushik IMA
Kaushik IMA

TBH the bigger controversy was not Airtel’s response but rather the attitude/tone of the customer. Airtel did not need to issue such a big statement, and it appears to have been written by a young person in haste. Since I followed the original tweet thread it seems quite obvious Airtel was not doing it intentionally. Every reply is handled by a different advisor anyway. But Airtel signing off on that letter with “name withheld so you don’t have to think about religion and caste” seems to me more like a PR strategy than an actual letter. Airtel is a media… Read more »

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