The Honeymoon Is Over With Bell

Now when I punted Rogers to get Bell’s Internet offering, I was under no illusions that they were the best telco. Sure they have a great Internet offering that destroys what Rogers offers by a lot. And their fibre footprint is massive compared to Rogers as well. But the one thing that Bell hasn’t got its head around is customer service. It’s pretty bad and likely isn’t helped by the fact that they outsource and offshore their customer service. And having a quality customer service organization might have helped in the situation that I found myself in this past Thursday.

On Thursday I went down to the car to get something that I had left in it. On my way back I encounter a Bell tech who was going into the building’s telco room. Now this really didn’t get my attention at the time because Bell since the Rogers outage on July 8th has been in this building a lot flipping people over from Rogers to Bell. But once I got upstairs and had my Internet and home phone go down within a minute of my arrival, the encounter with the Bell tech sprung to mind. Clearly he did something to take me offline. Instead of running downstairs, I phoned Bell. And that’s where the adventure, if you want to call it that starts.

The first person I got after waiting for seven minutes hung up on me when I started to explain my issue. That was rude. But I had heard that their call centre agents are known to do that when you phone in for technical support. So I called back and got another agent after waiting for another seven minutes. And I explained to him that I was seeing these error codes on the modem, along with the fact that a Bell tech was in the telco room of the building moments before this happened:

Now error 1201 is something that requires a Bell tech to fix. It’s the fiber signal failing somewhere along the chain, and not necessarily at the physical connection point to the modem. Error 2000 is the modem being unable to connect to the network.

In short, I needed a tech to come out and fix this. Or the dimwit from Bell who was downstairs to undo whatever he did. But the call centre rep didn’t see it that way. After accusing me of not knowing what I was talking about, which was very insulting, and trying to “boost” the signal according to him from his end, he gave up and booked me for an appointment for “maybe” Friday between 5 and 9 PM.

So let’s think about this. A Bell tech enters a building, and within minutes I lose Internet and home phone, and instead of going down the path of figuring out who was in the building so that they could fix the problem quickly, they’re going to leave a customer without Internet access for a day or more. Maybe. I guess that makes sense to Bell, but it sure didn’t make sense to me. So I escalated the issue and got a woman who tried to hold the party line. But when I pointed out that I have been a Bell customer for just over one billing cycle, and I came over from Rogers, and right at that moment they aren’t looking any better than Rogers, she changed her tune. It did take her 20 minutes, but she got me an appointment for 5 PM on Thursday which I took.

Let’s fast forward to 5PM. Or more specifically 5:10 PM when I got a call from the Bell tech to let me know that he was en route. After I hung up with him I realized that without a home phone, there was no way for me to let him into the building. So I went downstairs to meet him. When he arrived I identified myself and explained why I was down there. That’s when he told me that since the Rogers outage, he’s been in the building so often doing installs that the property manager gave him and three other techs proximity keys to the building.

Rogers should be freaking if that’s the case.

I escorted him into my unit where he ran some tests on the modem, and the fibre cables in my unit. All of them were fine. He then went down to the telco room and came back 10 minutes later. He said that “a cable was disconnected and I all did was plug it back in.” I told him about my encounter with the Bell tech earlier in the day, and how my Internet went out minutes later and his response was a nervous laugh and he didn’t comment further. Now while I don’t want to climb inside anyone’s head, I am going to guess that he wasn’t surprised by this and he knew who it was that did this.

A few minutes later, I was back on the Internet. But unfortunately the modem had reset itself to factory defaults. That wasn’t a big deal as after thanking the tech and sending him on his way, I set it up in this manner again which only took a few minutes.

So, I will give the tech who fixed my issue top marks for both actually fixing the problem, but being professional which is a backhanded way of saying that he didn’t throw his coworker under the bus. In fact, any Bell tech I have ever dealt with either personally or on behalf of a client of mine has been great to work with. But their call centre reps on the other hand get a failing grade from me. One hung up on me, one really didn’t listen to what I was saying and kind of insulted me, and the last one is the only one who came close to understanding my issue and getting the resolution that I wanted.

Frankly, Bell has to do way better on that front if they truly want to take out Rogers.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. If I were Mirko Bibic the CEO of Bell, I’d be doing everything possible to improve the customer experience as my experience with their call centre reps was not that good. And improving the customer experience should include ending their practice of outsourcing and offshoring their customer service staff. I say that because Rogers doesn’t have outsourced and offshore staff, and their customer experience is far better than Bell’s. And that was enough for my wife and I to hang in with them despite the fact that their Internet offering was substandard in comparison to what Bell offers. That is until their outage issues forced us to Bell. But to be clear, if Rogers somehow is able to get their act together and comes up with an Internet offering that is actually competitive with Bell and actually reliable, and Rogers customer service continues to better than Bell, then they may have the means to lure us back. Because having great customer service is what matters. And right now, Bell doesn’t have that. At least not at the call centre level.

5 Responses to “The Honeymoon Is Over With Bell”

  1. I find the actual service (e.g. the Fibe internet) far far superior to Rogers, but have been very fortunate not to require any repairs yet – as similar to your experience, I have heard from others getting a tech out and getting service is not often a fun process. Rogers seemed to be the opposite for me – their internet dropped often but when repairs were needed they came quickly

    Our 1 year anniversary is coming up soon and I’m not looking forward to calling Bell to try to maintain a a reasonable price after our credits run out.

    • You are correct. Fibe (or Fibre To The Home specifically as Bell loves to use the word “Fibe” for all their Internet offerings including ones that don’t include Fibre) destroys Rogers offering with ease. There’s a couple of things that Bell does that are dumb, but only matter to a nerd like me. But Fibe is a great product. Good luck with getting a deal from Bell. I think given the current environment that you’ll get something.

  2. […] for outages, we had one due to a Bell employee doing something stupid. But other than that, there have been no issues with […]

  3. The worst thing about Bell is that their support people will refuse to help you unless you reset your modem to factory default.

    I have my modem bypassed with a fiber to ethernet converter and they wanted me to undo everything and return to factory default when I hung up out of frustration. Luckily, the service was restored later that day.

    They had an outage and didn’t tell me, instead they wanted to go through a full debug process as if nothing on their side was wrong.

  4. […] Something that has been a constant with my stories about Bell Canada has been the fact that they have a great product in terms of their fibre Internet offerings, but their customer service sucks. In fact, I have previously said this: […]

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