An Open Letter to the CEO of Knowlarity from a Knowlarity Customer and Exotel Investor

Dear Ambarish Gupta,

Our company holds a very unique position between Knowlarity and Exotel. You see, we invested into Exotel when it was in its infancy, but we took up Knowlarity for our communication needs due to a better priced product. They were two different business decision(s) at the time and since we were very new to the investing game we hadn’t really given thought to investing as a customer into our investee companies.

We always wanted to move to Exotel, as the lower priced product from Knowlarity came with an even lower standard of service, especially your team’s lack of:

  • People’s Skills (we were abused by one of your staff during contract negotiations)
  • Lack of Follow-Up
  • Missing Deadlines (it took your team 3 months to change the greetings on the corporate number)

Unfortunately, when you start off you don’t think of the long term implications of having your corporate number given off to a 3rd party – they have you by the neck as that number is all over your business cards!

However, backed by the people at Sequoia, we expected that your team would at SOME point become more professional and the systems would be better suited for SME’s. We always wanted to make the switch but we didn’t have a good enough reason.. now you have given me one.

First, I got the email from Shivku on how Knowlarity was allowing (if not condoning) the use of fabrication and white lies to win over customers. That got me quite upset and made me want to send you a personal email to iron out whatever it was that was irking you two. Then, your absolute horrific reply to the serious allegations levelled against your company was the limit. Your reply was misleading, high handed and just dumb.  I’ll dissect my issues with your reply right here:

As for the recording, we fail to understand the connection with us. The only “Anurag” we have in Bangalore is notoriously bad at Hindi. We are still searching for this elusive “Anurag”.

So, I took up the simple challenge of finding this elusive Anurag by doing a search of the Anurag’s that have Knowlarity listed as their current or previous employer (I am sure you didn’t have the time to do the same as in 450 employees an Anurag can always just slip away?) and I found 6 of them! Here is the list I could find

link

You may be right that the ‘Anurag’ in Bangalore doesn’t have good English speaking skills as none of these guys listed their current location as Bangalore (or maybe one of them was lying?). Anyways, 3 of them – Anurag Nagar (Varanasi), Anurag Verma (Gurgaon) and another Anurag (name hidden as he isn’t in my network) list Knowlarity as their current place of work. I suggest you start from there.

We do not have any policy about responding to market intelligence but we are not surprised if some customers care about this and one salesperson (out of 450 employees) furnished this information.

So you say you do not care what 1 out of 450 people says… hmmm… Are you even listening to yourself? What gives you or anyone in your company the right to slander another company in the hope of winning business? Does your company have a team that monitors its 450 employees email communication sent or do you just let open your network and pray for them to do the right thing? This actually maybe the reason you feel your customers are being poached… if someone from the sales staff can write what he pleases, then what stops him from sending whatever he pleases?

The fact that there is an email out there conveying misleading market ‘rumour’ (NOT intelligence) from an official Knowlarity email address should have made you as the CEO and the leader of the company dig really deep into the culture that led to such an email. Not having a policy to have fair competition may not only stem outside the organisation.. it maybe rotting your own organisation too. Infact that is exactly the sign of an aging business not an “older” and what should be wiser one.

With a similar product you will have the issues of copying and being copied. That is going to happen and it can be accepted to a certain degree (read Samsung vs. Apple vs. Samsung) but lying to customer, slandering your competition and just misleading the public with “holier than thou” response just stinks. Infact it stinks so bad that we are going to stop using the Knowlarity services immediately and shift our business to Exotel. Since you don’t have a policy in your company on what is right and what is wrong.. tomorrow one of your staff may tap one of our conference calls and give the information to our competitors and you will write another ridiculous email defending his actions versus taking action against him.

We cannot continue to associate with a business like that. I really hope that you dig deep and understand the implication of defending something that is wrong… but then if you are defending someone who is guilty… what does that make you?

 

Good bye and good luck

Best Regards,

Anirudh A Damani