Bell Canada for years has been my choice for home phone service. After all, if you’ve been doing telephone services for a century or so, you should be really good at it. Plus in the major blackouts of 2003 and the more recent blackout that I lived through, my phone service has always worked. So I really saw no reason to switch.
This weekend gave me a reason to switch from Bell Canada. Their customer service…. Or more accurately their total lack of customer service.
I got up on Friday morning and discovered that my DSL connection to the Internet was down. I rebooted my router and DSL modem and it came back. I didn’t really think anything of it and started about my day. About 2PM that day I had the need to get back to my computer from a customer’s location and discovered that the Internet was down again. My wife was home sick so I phoned home. When she picked up the phone it was nothing but static. Clearly the phone line had an issue, so I phoned her on her cell phone and tried to have a conversation with her as the reason why she was home was due to the fact that she lost her voice. We collectively phoned Bell and got their repair call center (that was clearly based in India). While we tried to get the problem resolved, the call Bell Canada call center rep accused us of having a bad phone on our line and our issue wasn’t their problem.
The first rule of customer service: Never accuse the customer of anything as it leaves a very bad taste in the customers mouth and sends the interaction between your customer and yourself downhill. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with that accusation.
The next thing that the Bell Canada call center rep did is try to sell us WireCare which “protects” the wiring inside our residence. Because if they find that the problem is my fault, I’ll be charged $85.
The second rule of customer service: Never try to sell a customer anything until you solve their core issue. That really ticked me off.
Only after I blew him off about buying WireCare did the Bell Canada call center rep book an appointment. Get this, a tech would show up on Saturday between 8AM and 5PM. So I would have to cancel all of my appointments (two of them) with my clients on Saturday so that I could wait all day for a Bell tech to show up. Now to be fair, their main competition Rogers books their appointments within a window. But the window is 4 hours to my recollection which is much fairer to the customer. But I was willing to work with that to get my phone fixed and to get Internet service again. Plus my wife was in no shape to really deal with them.
Too bad Bell didn’t show.
At 2:30 I called Bell to see where they were and I was assured that they would show by 5. So at 5 when they didn’t show I phoned them again to ask WTF? That’s when I was told that someone had shown up on site and there was “major trouble” with the line that fed my residence and they would have to replace it. Since Bell Canada techs don’t work past 5PM, it would be fixed tomorrow. It was also being escalated to different group because of that. That’s when I told the Bell Canada call center rep to type this into his customer relationship management tool. I wanted a working phone by Sunday at 5PM or Rogers was getting a phone call on Monday and I would be moving my telco services to Rogers. This was due to the fact that I had to phone THEM to find out this information rather than they phoning me to tell me the status of my repair request. All the call center rep could do is say “I’m sorry you feel that way.” In fact, every interaction I had with Bell Canada in terms of this issue, the call center rep that I was on the phone with would say some form of “I’m sorry.” Don’t be sorry, FIX MY ISSUE as your scripted apologies really aren’t doing much to make me feel better.
So you can imagine that I am not a happy camper at this point, so lets fast forward to Sunday. The Bell tech shows up at 11AM on Sunday and determines that the problem isn’t in my home, which shoots down the bad phone theory that Bell Canada call center rep accused us of. I asked him about the “major trouble” with my line. The tech said he knew nothing about that.
That means that Bell Canada lied to me. You can imagine how I felt at that point.
But the the tech went down to the telephone room in our condo and got to work. It took him almost two hours, but he got everything working. Plus I got a slight increase in speed in terms of Internet access. That was due to the fact that according to the tech “my telco services weren’t hanging on by a thread” as the wiring in the telephone room was really old. So a big thanks to him for getting things working again.
But that doesn’t stop me from being really mad at Bell. My feeling is that Bell Canada failed in terms of customer service in the following areas:
- They accused me of causing the problem: FAIL
- The tried to sell me something without solving my core issue first: FAIL
- They didn’t show up as promised on Saturday after I waited all day and canceled customer appointments to do so. Which means I didn’t make any money on Saturday: FAIL
- Bell lied about why they didn’t show up: FAIL
- Bell wasn’t proactive about keeping me informed about my repair request: FAIL
So as a result of all of that, I am seriously considering moving to Rogers for my home phone service. I must admit that I have some concerns about Rogers Home Phone. The biggest one is that Rogers Home Phone has a battery backup for their services that lasts about 18 hours if power is cut. Seeing as my residence was without power for 36 hours earlier this year, that is a concern for me. There are others, but that is the main one. Perhaps “my best friends at Rogers” can make me feel better about that point and my other concerns which I can communicate to them by e-mail if they’re interested. Even better, perhaps “my best friends at Rogers” would be kind enough to let me test drive their Home Phone service against Bell’s for a month and have me write about it in this blog. How about it Rogers? Sound like a plan?
As for Bell, I really want Bell Canada to explain how this repair could have gone so badly and what you plan to do to make sure this never happens to anybody else. I know that Bell Canada employees read this blog, so I challenge you to contact me via e-mail and tell me what you have to say. But from prior experience, I’m reasonably sure that I’m not going to hear from them. Which won’t exactly help Bell Canada’s cause to retain me as a customer. Which is too bad because it’s not Bell Canada’s infrastructure that failed, it was their customer service.
Without customer service, you will have no customers. Bell should keep that in mind.