Airtel - Postpaid Bill Payment
I recently switched my telecomm operator from Airtel to Vodafone due to network issue in Bangalore. On evening of 14th of May, I received an SMS from Airtel to pay bill of Rs. 497. I use Paytm app for the postpaid bill payment. I went to Paytm app and started the journey. After the payment, I was redirected to a screen where I saw “Airtel Bill payment is taking longer than expected”. It has never happen in previous bill payments. I was amazed and then I thought it would give me an update, once the payment would happened. However, after sometime, I received message from Paytm that it failed. It was a bit surprising. I tried for another time. But, I had same experience. Ultimately, I was unable to pay.
After 2 days, I received a call from Airtel. The representative said that you need to pay the last bill and that can be done through airtel.in website. I was happy to hear that. Then the journey started and glimpse of conversation is mentioned below.
Airtel Representative: if you are on desktop, I would assist you to complete the payment process.
Dhaval: Yes, let’s do it now.
Airtel Representative: You need to open airtel.in website on chrome and click on “PAY POSTPAID”.
Dhaval: Yes, doing.
Airtel Representative: Now click on left bottom clink to pay for inactive account.
Dhaval (thinking): I was a bit surprised why I could not simply enter my mobile number in Enter Number filed. But, I continued the journey with the other link.)
Airtel Representative: You have to enter account number. It’s *******.
Dhaval (thinking): What’s this account number? Why does it required? It also asks for email. It looses a context in this screen where It does not say that it’s payment for inactive SIM.
Dhaval: I would follow the rest of the process. Thank you.
I clicked on SUBMIT and reached to a page where I could Pay in various ways. I wanted to pay through Paytm. But, this time also it did not work. So, I decided to pay via debit card and successfully paid.
- Ambiguity about process could lead to bad user experience. In this case, It was not explained by Airtel that there would be a different process for paying last bill and this is only applicable for customers who have switched their SIM operators.
- If solution is not streamlined then the company has to put a lot of efforts in reaching out to customer and explain the journey. In this case, Airtel could have avoided this situation by simply explaining process for paying inactive SIM via SMS or sharing a direct payment link via SMS.
- If users are introduced with a new field then that would definitely create a confusion. In this case, I was able to see a field named “Account Number”. Till date, I was not aware of account number and also could not identify logical reasoning of having a need of Account Number for the final payment.
What could have been improvised:
- There should a direct provision for paying last payment of postpaid connection when you switch your telecom operator.
- The process of payment can be better explained in advance through SMS or Email.
- If Airtel needs Account Number than it would be next to impossible for users to pay for last bill as they would not have Account number available with them. Airtel could have explained why they need account number and also where user could find their account number. It could improvise self serve for paying last bill without human intervention.
- Airtel is having my email id. So, it is not required to ask again for bill payment journey. Though the field is not compulsory in the form.