Service struggles


While I need to keep reminding myself that we have only been in India for 3 weeks, it is frustrating that we are not fully up and running yet. The local ex-pats smirk and say that it takes a full month to get settled here, but with only four months in our stay, that is a frustrating experience.

Some tasks have occurred very quickly. For example, my mom went to register for TV service and they arrived within ours to make the installation. The WiFi has been another story. One company  came on Wednesday and said they would come to do the install on Friday. So we waited all Friday. He never came so we called another company on Saturday. They came, took 2200 Rupees, promising to install the router on Monday. We waited Monday.  Finally at 5:30 Tuesday they arrived, but did not come with equipment to install a wi-fi network but instead just one direct line connection that doesn’t work very well. We have no idea if they will every come back to install the proper network.  We are thinking we need to start over with a new company and just eat the costs paid to the last company. There really is little recourse when this kind of thing occurs.

We have also had issues with bees. There was a four foot by two foot bee colony on the adjoining apartment’s balcony. Of course, the bee guy came to remove the hive at the same time that the tv guy and the wifi guy arrived, which was all right when the kiddos were coming home from school. We sit and wait for days and then everyone arrives at once.

We talked about our service dilemmas with our Bangalore family, and concurred that it definitely is a different approach to customer service here. It is a “labor intensive” economy. While in the U.S., there is a tendency to understaff, here most things are overstaffed. People travel in twos, threes, fours. As our friend joked, one guy does the installation and another guy has the job of handing him the tools, much like a surgeon. With our wi-fi issue, the technician could not install a router because there is a separate service person in charge of routers instead of the direct line connections.

Here are a couple of photos I’ve taken of this phenomenon in the past two days. One are some workers here at our villa complex—two security guards and two of the workers who do landscaping and odd jobs around the property. They were all collectively knocking on the door of one of the tenants. I’m not exactly sure what they were doing, but it’s so common and usually it is for something that in the U.S. would never involve more than one person—even when it would be easier if it did.

Also note that the youngest kid in beige can’t be more than 15, but he is already working full time.

In this other photo my mom and I are buying an internet data stick at the mall. Four service people were working together to fill out the paper work. Four.


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