Teksavvy Long Hold Times – Not Good For Business [UPDATED x2]

One of the things that I do is not only solve the technology challenges of businesses and individuals, but I also do call centre consulting. That is, a company will hire me to look at their call centre processes, technology and sometimes their staff, and I tell them how they can improve. If they want, I can then assist in the implementation of whatever plan we come up with. As a result of that I am sensitive, perhaps too sensitive to any call centre that can’t deliver customer service in a timely manner. Case in point, Teksavvy.

Yesterday at 6AM my wife woke up to us having no Internet, I did some troubleshooting including swapping my router and concluded that the issue was someplace other than our home as no matter what I did, the modem would sync up to the DSL network, but it would not connect. So I called Teksavvy. I got through to an agent in less than 5 minutes which I found odd given that it was 6AM and you’d think that at that time of the morning the response would be instant. But I dismissed that from my mind. The agent was very pleasant and she went about troubleshooting my issue. She first noted that I had been bumped off the Internet at about 1:30 AM and had not connected back in since. She also noted that I had a bit more noise than I should on my line which I noted as a problem, but it may not be the core issue. What was more of a problem is that nothing that we did would connect my DSL modem to the Teksavvy network despite the fact that it could get a DSL signal. She concluded that I must have a defective modem. That to me was a reasonable assumption since the modem was several years old. I suggested that the last time I had an issue like this it was a Bell problem. She was reluctant to open a ticket with Bell as if it wasn’t a Bell problem, it would cost me money (almost $88). Thus she suggested I exhaust other options like swapping the modem. She offered to keep the case open if I needed to call back. Foolishly I neglected to get a case number. But the flipside to that is that I train the customer service agents that I am hired to teach that you should always offer up a case number to the customer and let them decide if they want it or not. I dismissed that too as it was 6AM and she likely worked all night. After hanging up with her, I reset the modem to factory defaults, set it up again, and I was able to log in and surf the net. To me that sounded like a problematic modem. So I planned on getting one on my way home from my various client visits that day.

Fast forward to 5:30 PM. I got home with a new modem as well as new phone cable as I wanted to see if the phone cable was responsible for the noise on my line. I walked into my home office to find that the Internet was out again. So I figured that I should just replace the modem and the phone cable, so I did that and within 15 minutes I was up and running. Or so I thought. An hour later the Internet went down again. So I called Teksavvy and waited online for over an hour with nobody answering. Okay, so it was dinner time and it was likely one of their busy times. But an hour is just plain unacceptable. So when I was offered the option to leave a number for a call back, I took it. I left my number and hung up. Within 10 minutes the Internet was back. It stayed that way until 9PM when it went down again. So I called Teksavvy again. And once again I was on hold for over an hour. That’s when I decided to do what I did the last time I ran into a problem getting a hold of a live human being at Teksavvy. I resorted to Twitter. Since I was far from being a happy camper at the time, my Tweets were very pointed:

Just like the last time, I got a very quick response via Twitter and this conversation took place:

Here’s what’s wrong with this interaction thus far:

  1. I’ve called twice in the same evening and nobody ever picked up my call. The advice that I give my paying customers is that the gold standard of answering calls is 60 seconds or less. Answering calls that quickly makes any interaction easy to deal with for the customer service agent. Not only that, it scores a bonus point for the business. However, the reality is that unless you have a call center the size of a Rogers or Bell, you can’t do that. Even they have problems doing that at the best of times. Thus the next best thing is to get to callers in less than 10 minutes. Why 10 minutes? Simple. Most people are willing to wait that long and still have a positive feeling about the company they’re dealing with. The second the wait time crosses 10 minutes, that positive feeling declines rapidly. By the time the phone is picked up, the interaction between the customer service agent and the customer is going to be far less positive. Plus, if that is the experience that the customer gets time after time, they are far more likely to take their business elsewhere.
  2. The fact that Teksavvy answers Tweets faster than their phones is a problem. Twitter should supplement call center activities. In this case, Twitter is clearly being used to mitigate whatever issues Teksavvy has in their call center. That only works for so long before it becomes an issue that’s in the public eye. More on that in a second.

Back to my issue. Teksavvy called me back at 11:18 PM and started to look at my issue. After giving my customer information and re-explaining my issue to the agent that called back, he noted that my line stats were not good and I was on a DSL profile that was much lower than the speed of service that I was paying for.

For those who don’t speak nerd, here’s what I’m talking about: When you get DSL, the provider will give you a maximum speed that you can get. But depending on your individual line conditions (the line stats I mentioned earlier), and the distance from the central office where your line terminates, they can and do adjust the down and up speeds to give you the best service that is possible under those conditions by assigning you a DSL profile. An ISP will usually have several to choose from to fit most situations.

When I pointed out what line stats I’ve had and should have to him, he did a fair amount of investigation as what he was looking at didn’t make a whole lot of sense. What was also worrisome was the fact that he couldn’t find a profile to put me on. Thus, he put me on hold to speak to a manager. After he came back on the line, he made a couple of attempts to change my profile to account for the line stats he was seeing. When that failed, he concluded it was a Bell issue and he was going to put a ticket into Bell. I agreed to that after he read off some boilerplate that made me responsible for almost $88 if Bell didn’t find a problem and went to bed with no Internet. By this point it was midnight.

I got up this AM and found Internet access is live, but I’m getting 9.5 megabits downstream rather than the 12.5 that I used to be getting. But it is unstable as it disconnects and reconnects frequently. But it allowed me to type this blog entry. We’ll see what happens as it may take Bell up to 48 hours to resolve this.

Now, I am okay with what happened after I got on the line with someone from Teksavvy. In fact, I would describe the efforts of the customer service agent I spoke to as “heroic” and if he were one of the agents that I’m paid by my customers to evaluate, I’d give his efforts, customer handling skills, and temperament an “A”. What I am not okay with is the fact that it took a Twitter rant to get to that point. I was completely unable to dial them up and get to someone in a timely manner. What’s worse is that this appears to be a ongoing problem with them based on the fact that if you do a Google search for “Teksavvy long wait times” you get similar stories. What’s worse for them is that they’re dealing with ticked off customers on Twitter who have the same complaints as the ones that come up in Google searches. Plus my Twitter rant was favorited and retweeted other Twitter users. If someone is looking for a telco and searching either of those to see what they find for Teksavvy, the results will not be good and they’ll likely go with another company.

This is a major problem for Teksavvy and one that threatens their business. Why? Landing a customer is the easy part, but after sale service is what keeps them coming back. When they stop coming back because your after sale service isn’t that good, that affects future sales which affects their bottom line. I will give them some free advice. They need to not only acknowledge that they have issues with their customer service, but they also need to figure out why and remedy it quickly. Judging from my experience, the Google and Twitter searches, and the fact that I’ve posted this, the clock is clearly ticking for them.

As for my threat to look for another telco. It wasn’t a threat. It’s on my task list for today to see what’s out there in terms of service, price and customer service. But I will say that if Teksavvy makes clear improvements to their customer service, I can be convinced to stay with them.

Stay tuned for an update.

UPDATE: A voice mail was left on the home phone line just before 10AM today. A Bell tech is being dispatched on Sunday September 1st between 12PM and 6PM. I was planning to do a server upgrade for a customer, but I’m going to be rescheduling that since my wife will not be home. But seeing as I depend on my Internet connection to help me to make a living, I have little choice. More updates to come.

UPDATE #2: My wife suggested that I call Teksavvy to see if they could get Bell to move my appointment. They can, but it would be the third of September. I need a reliable Internet connection long before then, so I am leaving the appointment as it is. That’s not Teksavvy’s fault as they are at the mercy of Bell. But it doesn’t create the best optics for them. At least the customer understands and I am able to push this upgrade to Labor day. Still, this doesn’t create the best optics for me and what I do.


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