Saturday, April 19, 2008

State owned Vs the Private companies


I came across the line "BSNL losing 8% market share to private companies" on the e-paper yesterday. This reminded me of something that happened very recently and I said in my mind again "It's obvious and it should happen".

It should happen not because I favor the private companies but, it should happen for those who cannot connect with their customers in the right way. It should happen for those who cannot change with time. It should happen for those who think that their monopoly would continue because they are a state owned firm. It should happen for those having employees those who cannot understand the customer's needs. It has been heard very often about the functioning style of the the state owned firms when compared to the private sector firms.

I have been a bit addicted to internet surfing in the past 2 years of my life at a B-School and it’s a bit uneasy to be without internet to chat with friends, to read a bit,... When I reached my hometown, I enquired immediately about the availability of internet, but could only find one cafe in the town that too with a speed that is too slow and would atleast take 2-3 minutes to open a page completely. And someone told me of the availability of a broadband connection with BSNL.

Day 1: I got up in the morning and went to the BSNL office to take a broadband connection. I am invited into the office with an empty chair in the first room leading into another room with a person busy in reading the day's news paper. I asked him for information about the connection and he could only say "you need to apply and we will give the connection. Come at 3'o clock in the afternoon or tomorrow and AE (I don't know what it means, might be Asst. Engineer) will give you the details. I asked him "what are the plans and speed available?" and still he gave me the same reply "Come at 3."

Day 2: I went back to the office again and I came to here again that the concerned person is not available for the day and this time I found 2 people in the office with both of them busy in reading the news paper. I tried asking him about the speed, plans etc and the other person replied it is 2 GB. And I couldn't get anything out of it. I asked him "Are you telling me about the speed of the connection?" and he replied "Yes. 2 GB" I was shocked. How come in such a town is a connection with 2GBps available. I though either he must have bit a dog before coming to the office or the vice versa must have happened.

Day 3: I went to the office at around 3'o clock and I was asked to first apply for a telephone connection. This came as the second shock to me as, I was informed that telephone connections isn't required for the broadband connection. I took the application form and nothing to do as it is evening and we need to do the payment before 12 noon, I returned home.

Day 4: I went back to the office and this time I found an uncle (family friend) in the office and he assisted me a bit about the details. He asked us to take the telephone connection on the name of my mom as it would cost us less and we would get a caller id phone and many other benefits just at a deposit of Rs.200/- And as it is a limited time offer, the department people haven't informed me of this offer the earlier day. I immediately got the form filled and was asked to go to another office in the same town to pay the money and get the form signed from an officer of the same department and was told to do it immediately as they will not accept the payments after 12 noon as it was Saturday. I rushed to the office, and requested the officer for the same and he just simply replied... keep the form there and take it back on monday. We requested him and he said "It will only happen on monday." We left the form there and returned back to the first office, told the uncle about the same and gave the money for payment to him and came back.

Day 6: We returned to the office and found that the line is granted and the payment is done. And we were informed that the line would be fixed by evening. And immediately I got a 3rd shock. There is a policy in BSNL that any broadband application should go to the Bangalore office for approval and sent back to the town inorder to get a connection. And this would simply take one week said the gentleman at the BSNL office. And when my dad contacted the AE he said that they require a very thick cable for the broadband connection to be given and they might not be able to give a connection immediately even after the application gets back from bangalore because, they don't know by when they can get the cable. We retuned back to home and waited for the telephone but couldn't get it on that day. By the way my search for information on broadband was solved today after 5 days when my uncle made me talk
with a Joint Engineer in the near by city working with BSNL. He gave me all the information and it seems it is 128 kbps or 256 kbps speed with 2 GB download limit. I thought this is absolute shit speed but there's no other way out and I decided to opt for it.

Day 7: We waited for the BSNL person to come and fix the line but nothing happened.

Day 8: We waited till afternoon and then went to the office to know the problem and they said that our home is a bit far away from the existing line and they need to find out a way to give a line till our home. We told them that we will find a way for that and asked the person to reach home immediately. And he finally fixes the telephone and says you will be able to get the connection by tomorrow morning as it is already dark and we cannot fix the number system in the BSNL box on the road. And he absorbs 200 bucks as he puts it in his own way that "It's a fixed amount for a new line."

Day 9: We waited for the connection and a couple of calls to the person haven't got any results.

Day 10: Finally after a couple of calls again, we got the telephone connection and I was thinking of applying for the broadband connection the same day itself so that I can get the Internet connection by Day 18 atleast. At the same time I heard from my cousin that the BSNL broadband was worst and there's a new cable broadband connection in the town and it is far better in speed, download limits, etc.. than BSNL. I immediately contacted the person in charge for the cable net in the town and got the information about all the available plans immediately. I opted for a plan and told him that evening that I need a connection of 500 rupees plan (browsing speed 100Mbps, download speed 128Kbps, unlimited download). He told me that I will get the connection next morning.

Day 11: In the morning we had the cable net guy at our home. He immediately pulled the cord from the nearby box and he connected it to my system and he took the address proof, money and it's done... and I have left the idea of going for BSNL.

18 plus days to get a BSNL broadband connection Vs 2 days to get a private broadband connection with better features and less cost.

An employee who needs something personal(atleast 200 bucks) to give a sanctioned connection Vs an employee who does his work on time and doesn't expect anything personal.

An organization with employees who doesn't have any idea of the plans available, who make customers run between offices Vs an organization with employees well trained to handle queries.

An organization with employees who doesn't even let the customers know of the best offers of the day Vs an organization with employees who keep their customers informed of the latest offers.

So, whom would you prefer and definitely such companies are set to lose their market share and should loose and will loose.