A Final Follow Up To Dumping Rogers And Moving To Bell… With Some Advice For Both Companies

Let’s recap what’s happened when it comes to our move from Rogers to Bell.

After having an outage a week after the national outage in July, which was the latest in a string of Rogers outages this year that my wife and I have experienced with Rogers, we decided to move to Bell. Which turned out to be “entertaining” to say the least because of how aggressive their outsourced and overseas based customer service reps are. But in the end we got Bell installed. And because I never, ever use the telco supplied hardware to power my network for these reasons, I managed to get it working with my own equipment after taking two cracks at getting it done. In short, we are Bell customers. But there was still an outstanding item to deal with.

We checked our Rogers account and found that there was Rogers owed us money. $144.60 to be specific. We assumed that Rogers would send us a cheque at some point, but on the advice of a backchannel contact that I have at Rogers, we called into Rogers. And that’s when the fun, if you want to call it that began. My wife sent me a play by play over iMessage that looked like this:

I’ve redacted the name of the contact in question. But in any case, this seemed weird to me as I had heard rumours that Rogers had curtailed their retention activities during the pandemic. And what was weirder was that we were expecting a hard sell to try and keep us as customers, but we didn’t get it. The rep that my wife got after a 12 minute wait said that the account would be closed automatically now that we have returned the Rogers equipment. And that we would get our $144.60 via a cheque in four to six weeks. So I am not sure why getting this information required a trip to Rogers retentions, but this is the answer we were looking for. Though it took us a total of 25 minutes to get that answer which is a bit of a #Fail. And as for that “four to six weeks” part, that was closer to eight weeks based on the fact that the above conversation happened on August 14th and we didn’t get our refund cheque until October 12th.

Now over to Bell. Many people who have Bell services have warned me that Bell has a “habit” of overcharging customers, or customer having billing issues. And doing some searching on the Internet, I found some posts in a variety of places that support this view. But In my case, that didn’t happen. At least not so far. The price that I was quoted when I signed up was the price on the bill. So that was positive. Thus I set up Bell as a payee in my bank account so that I can pay them easily. And did so without any issues as they received my money a few days later. Making my first billing cycle with Bell a total non-event. And every other billing cycle since then has been a non-event as well.

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

To close this out, I have some advice for both Rogers and Bell. Let’s start with Bell.

My wife and I are customers of yours now. But only because you have the best Internet tech available for a lower price than Rogers. However your customer service needs some serious improvement as I’ve documented the tactics that your outsourced, overseas, and hyper aggressive customer service reps use. Those tactics don’t paint you as a company in a favourable light. You seriously need to look into that and make some changes as this is the sort of thing that will turn people off from dealing with Bell. Just like it turned us off from dealing with you when we tried to switch to Bell last year. In other words, if your Internet reliability degrades, we’ll likely switch because there’s nothing else that incentivizes us to stay with you. So if you want to retain us as customers, you’ll need to improve your customer experience ASAP.

Though, to be completely fair, here’s one area that Bell does much better than Rogers. I got this via email a couple of days ago:

I like the fact that they warned us via email about this upcoming outage due to an upgrade that they are doing as Rogers doesn’t warn their customers about this sort of work. When my wife and I were Rogers customers, we would find out that Rogers was working on something when the Internet went down without warning and I complained to Rogers either on Twitter or by phoning them. And then stay down for an extended period of time. All of that is not the way things should work and Bell clearly gets that. Now, I am guessing that this 10 minute outage is related to rolling out Bell’s new 8 Gbps service live in my area so that they can put one more nail in Rogers coffin. But I guess I will find out after the work is done and I will update you accordingly if I see anything that is worth reporting to you on.

Now over to Rogers. Beyond the national outage in July and the fallout related to that, Rogers has larger issues. Not the least of which is the fact that Bell is taking their breakfast, lunch and dinner by aggressively rolling out fibre and aggressively bumping up the maximum speed that Bell customers have access to. Which is something that I’ve documented in the past. Whether you actually need that speed or not (I say not) is a completely different discussion. But it does place Rogers on the back foot because the majority of their infrastructure is this mix of fibre in the backbone with a coax cable last mile which severely limits what they can do in terms of delivering Internet access that is competitive with Bell. So what that means is that beyond regaining the trust of Canadians by proving that they can be a telco that Canadians can rely upon, Rogers needs to quickly get to a place where they are competitive with Bell on a spec sheet because at the moment they are not in most places that they operate in. And coming out with press releases that talk about faster speeds which the majority of Rogers customers can’t get access to isn’t going to get the job done. Instead, Rogers needs to stop providing “fibre to the press release” and start rolling out fibre to the majority of their existing customers who have a copper based last mile connection to their network immediately. Just like Bell did several years ago when they went all in on fibre. If they do that, they have a fighting chance to survive. If they don’t, I am pretty sure that Rogers will be headed for oblivion in a few years as they will not be able to compete in any meaningful way against Bell.

Now I know a number of people who work for Rogers. They’re hard working and talented people who do their jobs well. And when I’ve called into Rogers for help on behalf of clients, the people at the other end of the phone have gone above and beyond. Take this for example where a Rogers rep went above and beyond to help an elderly couple get access to their email back after being hit by a scammer. Clearly Rogers have the people to pull this off. But the real question is do they have the will to do so at the C-level where these decisions are made? Or are the C-level types at Rogers trying to simply weather this storm and go back to business as usual and hope that most of their customers don’t do what we did which is switch to Bell? I guess we’re about to find out. And that starts with their Q3 results which will paint a picture of how much of a challenge they will have to regain the trust of Canadians. I say that because their Q3 results will show what their churn rate (the rate of people who leave a telco) is. My guess it’s going to be ugly as I suspect a whole lot of people left Rogers in Q3, but I am free to be surprised when it comes to that.

2 Responses to “A Final Follow Up To Dumping Rogers And Moving To Bell… With Some Advice For Both Companies”

  1. I think a lot of folk are leaving is because if the aggressive ground turning installing the fibre to the home. I find both companies web sites quagmire to get info on. I did find that for the same amount of tv that my costs after taxes are so close. But the 1.5g vas 500 is mind blowing, add to that with the Amazon fire family you can have the Bell TV without having multiple boxes on each tv. As soon as the reps start to cruise the houses with sales info I’m making the move. The csr said that might be Jan as they just buried the cable to the house 4wks ago. I have the big green box with the whole streets cables in front of my home. Thanks for the great articles to make my journey of going back to Bell hell less painless.

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