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Continued from It's a Sad State of Affairs, part 2: Rogers was Predictably Useless:

Since Rogers' head office is in Toronto and in a time-zone three hours ahead  I got up an hour and a half earlier than usual today to call in at 9:00 a.m. their time in order to get a hold of a someone with some authority and have something done about my phone.

It took an hour and half.

I called up and initially spoke to "Anne." I started out by explaining that I had already spent a great deal of time with customer service yesterday and was calling back to speak to a manager. Anne did not simply put me through to a manager, presumably because she was trained not to in order to screen out people who ask for escalation before they have actually talked to the lower lever representatives at all (which, admittedly, I do routinely when getting tech support since, without fail, I know more than the tier-one monkeys.) Anne was very nice, though, and while it was a waste of time, it was not unpleasant talking to her.

Upon the revelation that my account was a business account and not a personal one, Anne passed me off to Sonya in the business department. Sonya was a bit more frustrating. She maintained the same line as Blair from yesterday. She told me about how it was "physically impossible" to send out a new phone until the one I had been sent was returned because the fields in the almighty "system" were "greyed out" until the other phone was received.

As I had with Blair, I explained that I wasn't at concerned with what limitations were programmed into the system, and that those simply represented an artificially imposed and flawed process that could be circumvented. She maintained that it could not. I proposed several hypothetical situations on how she could send me a "new" phone and credit me back for my mistaken "upgrade" and the difference in price between the "upgrade" and the "new phone."

Eventually I proposed that I would be sending back the Nokia 2660 I was sent, keeping the SIM card and buying third-party hardware to put it in, but nonetheless I would still like to speak to a manager to suggest changing "the system" to facilitate correcting problems like this one.

Sonya put me on hold to find a manager - this was somewhere over an hour into the call. After I had been on hold for a while she came back and asked if I could be called back on my cell number. I asked her to stop and think about what she just asked me. She did and put me on hold again.

In a few minutes I was connected to "Noreen." I was in fact ready to do as I had suggested and buy third party hardware and really only wanted to talk to Noreen about fixing "the system." But before I even got that far Noreen proved that what I had been proposing to Blair yesterday was, in fact, possible. Unprompted, Noreen offered to send me out a new Blackberry 8900 prior to receiving the return on the Nokia, and that for my trouble I would have the new phone for only $75 rather than the $449 replacement cost I was happy to pay last week. She further explained that I would actually only be paying $50 for the phone, and $35 for the processing fee, at which point I chose not to question what universe she lived in where 50+35=75, because, frankly, $85 is still a crapload better than $449!

So, in the end, having saved $364 on my replacement phone, that works out to "making" about $120/hr. for the time spent getting to that point. But doesn't it make you wonder what kind of profit margin a company like Rogers has where, in the end, they'd rather sell me a phone for such a tiny fraction of the "full" price (which is actually $599 without a plan) rather than not sell me a phone at all?

Continued in It's a Sad State of Affairs, part 4: I Have a Phone Again


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
I think a couple of things go in to that calculation - first off, while the retail prioce fo the phone is $600, odds are Rogers wholesale cost is more like $300.

If you've got the phone, odds are you won't switch somewhere else (and the longer you've been their customer the more likely you are to stay) so they can amortize that $300 over a couple of years at least (so $12.50 a month).

Since you're a pissed off customer, if they don't sort you out odds are you'll leave and, from a revenue perspective, they'd have to replace you with a new customer, which likely costs a couple of hundred bucks.

On top of that, you're the kind of customer who makes a fuss and won't jsut give up so if they don't sort you out, you're complaint will likely end up on the desk of a VP or somesuch. His time is likely worth $150 an hour, and if he sees it then his subordinates have to do a bunch of work.

So when you put all of those costs together it makes sense for them to make nice to you.

the fact that your request is reasonable and sensible just exarcabates matters.

Odds are, their system doesn't lend itself to doing what you need but the smart ones can figure out how to get around it (which is likely why Noreen is where she is) but corporate call centres do lend themselves towards people who want stick to the script, do as your told jobs which is why I'm not surprised the people closer to the front couldn't figure out how to help you.

What I don't get is why you weren't escalated faster. 'cos those guys should be held to pretty aggressive handle time & sales targets and your call wouldn't get them either of those things.
Feb. 1st, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
The flip side, as you may be aware with your employer since it is pretty standard in that industry, is that "fussy" customers like myself get flagged for the extra time we take up and are *intentionally* driven away to become a burden on the competition. Strangely enough, bad customer service is essentially used as a weapon. Good customer service only goes to those that don't cause out-of-band problems and don't need it.
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
True. It depends on how good their software is at figuring that stuff out and how expensive you are to service as a customer compared to your revenue. I gather Roger's internet channel is pretty good at figuring that stuff out from a bandwidth usage perspective[1].

If you have a business account odds are you're more profitable then if you were a residential so they should be more willing to put up with you.

[1] The Project Manager behind their bandwidth throttling system was in my group work team on one of my PM courses a few years back. They seemed to have some pretty solid metrics around figuring out which customers were bad news for them.
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
I'm sure that's true. Both with my Rogers wireless account and with my Telus ADSL there is always a perceptible shift in attitude when the rep at the other end clues in the I am a business customer.
Feb. 1st, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
bulldogs are we.
Feb. 1st, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
The silly thing that nobody attempting to help you seemed to have really thought through, is that you were already a customer, already paying for a phone and plan, and asking only for another phone (read: another sale). No one has really taught these people how to SELL. Think about it: you'd already bought their product, so you were already on their hook making them easy money. So, they already had your name, address and business details. If they gave you a new phone before the wrong one was sent back, they'd know where you live and could bill you accordingly should you fail to return it. No big deal! *And* they could have used the opportunity to upsell you on upgrades or accessories while they had you standing there, paying for your replacement phone!

In fact if they WERE acting like real salesmen, what they should have done was merely smile apologetically, sold you the replacement phone, and told you to call billing on Monday to sort out the details (so you could sit there for 4 hours and deal with sending back the wrong phone and the aggravating paperwork fallout yourself). It's totally assholey, but at least you would have walked away happy, they would have got their commission for the sale, and have passed the buck on to the head office staff who actually know how to deal with problems!! *sigh*
Feb. 1st, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
As it is though, you can't knock the low ticket price of the phone. My only hope is that when the bill comes, that low price is actually honoured, and that's the end of it.
Feb. 1st, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah. That's why I'll be writing a "part 4" when I see what happens. Hopefully there will be no "part 5."
Feb. 1st, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
What's even worse is I suggested exactly that scenario to the guy at the franchise store on Robson, the guy at the kiosk at Pacific Centre, "Ken", "Blair", and "Sonya" !
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
Perhaps a series of 'see? / you can DO this in the future if anyone comes to you with this problem' visits might need to be made, if not only for some meager personal satisfaction ...
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
I plan to send my whole chronicle of this debacle to higher levels at Rogers and let *them* filter it back down, which I expect to have more effect.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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