Archive for Rogers

Current & Former Rogers Employees Say They Are Coached To Agressively Upsell

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2018 by itnerd

Earlier this week I brought you a story were it came to light that Rogers employees in their call centers were told that they had to make a sale on every call and managers turned a blind eye. Since that report, CBC has been in contact with present and former Rogers call center employees who go into detail about what goes on at the telcos call centers:

An employee who worked at a Rogers call centre in Brampton, Ont., for four years before leaving in 2015 says he and his colleagues were instructed not to mention cancellation fees from other providers when a customer switched to Rogers. CBC has confirmed his employment history, but is not identifying him — or some others in this story — because they fear they will lose their jobs.

“Because these fees were not charged by Rogers itself, we were told to gloss over them as quickly, vaguely and incoherently as possible,” he writes. “Often while the customer was speaking at the same time.”

Another trick, he says, was to secretly reduce certain services — such as the number of television channels a customer received — so he could add new services, such as a home phone line they didn’t necessarily need, but that earned points toward his monthly sales target.

“It was a calculated game of misery,” he says. “How much could you lower their existing services so they wouldn’t immediately notice, while at the same time adding as much in new services as you could?”

He says when he expressed concern over these practices, his manager reminded him that he worked in sales, and said, “It’s not your job to care.”

That sounds pretty bad. But it actually gets much worse than that:

When those customers would ask to speak to a manager, he says agents would just transfer the call to a fellow agent, who would repeat claims that there was nothing they could do to resolve an issue.

“The goal,” he says, “was for the customer to be so frustrated, speaking to someone who couldn’t do anything more than you, that they ended the call.”

Now this is something that I have heard before. I know two former Rogers call center employees who years ago told me that this was a common practice within their call centers. Thus I am not surprised that this is being mentioned in this article. But it still gets worse:

Debbie Sears handled Rogers customer calls from her home in Kingston, N.S., through a third-party company.

“We were constantly being threatened that we would be fired if we did not upsell — add a home line or a cellphone to the account,” she says. “It was a pressure cooker.”

“They expected you to sell on every call. And you were told time and again, ‘Never take no for an answer. Push, push, push!'”

“I have a hard time selling something that’s useless to them [customers],” says Sears. “I told them right from the start, and they said, ‘Oh well, you’ll get used to it.'”

She didn’t. Instead, Sears says she started having panic attacks before starting work, and her blood pressure went “through the roof.”

“My doctor was very worried I’d have a stroke,” she says. “When I got laid off [for not selling], they did me a favour.”

I couldn’t imagine working in an environment like that. But as bad as that sounds, There’s still worse. There are claims that “senior leadership” knew about and encouraged this behavior:

A former Rogers manager also contacted Go Public, admitting he was one of the people who put pressure on workers in the Ottawa call centre.

He says the pressure to upsell was so intense in 2015 that a Rogers memo (provided to Go Public) directed senior leadership to put more than two-thirds of all the call centre workers on a “performance improvement plan” — to encourage them to sell more, or risk getting terminated.

“Every day we’d have a meeting about sales targets,” he says. “A big part of my job was to manage out the low performers. Witch-hunting those people.”

On the other hand, he says, top sellers were protected — even if they behaved unethically.

“Senior leadership would often issue directives to the team managers to protect their top-level performers by turning a blind eye,” he says. “Protect the tops.”

Now you can read into whatever you want when it comes to “senior leadership”, but all of this makes Rogers sound like a horrible place to work. Now Rogers denies all of this and they’ve circled the wagons by sending out talking points to their call center staff since this story first hit the press. But given what I know from people who speak to me on background, as well as my interactions with the company, I suspect that all the claims that are here are more fact than fiction. Which is a problem if you are Rogers. I think that simply denying these accusations won’t get them very far. What they need to do instead is fully and robustly investigate these claims, then come out to the public and say what they found and what they’re going to do about it so that customers don’t feel like the telco is going to rip them off, and what they’re going to do to make sure their employees don’t feel like they’re going to hell every day they’re going to work. Because right now I can say that since these stories have surfaced, the public perception of Rogers, which wasn’t very good, is far worse now. And that’s not a good place to be if you’re Canada’s largest telco.

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Is This A Scam Or Is This A Legitimate Text From Rogers?

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 15, 2018 by itnerd

Earlier tonight I got this text from “Rogers” on my iPhone:

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Now the only time I have ever received a text like this is when a carrier sends one. Thus my first thought was that It was legitimate. Then I thought about it and it dawned on me that I haven’t travelled since I went to India in November. Thus there is no way this could be legitimate. I soon got a second text message. Here’s what the two of them look like:

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Now I didn’t respond to this text message as I am pretty sure it’s a scam. But just to make doubly sure, I sent this Tweet over to Rogers:

So far no response. So in the absence of Rogers answering this question, I’m going to use the wisdom of the crowd to find out what the deal is. Is this a legitimate text from Rogers or is this a scam. Please leave a comment below and let me you and I will update this story when I have confirmed things either way.

UPDATE: Rogers says it’s for real.

But the thing is, I only have one line. I will be phoning them on Tuesday to find out what the deal is.

Rogers Employees Say That The Telco Tells Employees To Jack Up The Pressure On Customers To Buy Services

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 14, 2018 by itnerd

First it was Bell Canada who was accused of telling employees to aggressively sell to customers. Now the CBC is reporting that Rogers employees are saying that they’re being forced to do the same thing:

“You’re supposed to look at a customer’s account and sell them cable, home phone, home security, a credit card — whatever is missing,” says an employee who currently works at Rogers’ major call centre in Ottawa and has asked CBC to conceal his identity to avoid retribution in his workplace.

He says even when people are off sick, their sales targets aren’t adjusted unless they go on short-term disability, “so you’re at home, trying to get better, but stressing about how you’re going to keep your job.”

He admits when he is “desperate” to earn sales points, he signs up seniors for internet service, and then tells them a technician is going to come to their house “to install a modem for their TV” — modems are required for internet, not TV.

“We’re giving internet service to customers who actually do not have a computer,” he says.

Well that’s not good. And not surprising if this is accurate. Which given that CBC decided to run the story, they thought it was accurate. Another hint that there might be something to it is Rogers response:

No one from Rogers Communications would give an interview, but in a statement to Go Public, spokesperson Paula Lash wrote, “While we do not believe the concerns raised represent our values or sales practices, we take them very seriously and we will work with our team to respond to these concerns.”

Lash also wrote that sales targets are achievable and that employees may be placed on performance improvement plans, which can lead to termination, for a variety of reasons including low attendance, concerns about behaviour, customer feedback, low sales, or a combination of reasons.

It’s because of Bell and now Rogers that I recommend to my customers that they check their telco bills closely, aggressively go after telcos to get the best deal possible, and fully understand what a telco is offering. The reason being is that you have to assume that telcos are going to try and slip one undertone goalposts so to speak. Stories like these seem to back that up. And that makes this call for a public inquiry more relevant to Canadians.

A Follow Up To My Latest Rogers Gigabit Internet Issue: Is It Resolved?

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 8, 2018 by itnerd

The title of this post is a bit of a different one, but it will make sense as I go along.

Since encountering another issue with my Rogers Gigabit Internet service and toying with the idea of going to Bell, something strange happened. It resolved itself. I documented what I saw before and after in the second post that I linked to. And it has continued to work flawlessly. In fact, I have checked the modem as early as this morning and found that signal strength and signal to noise ratio are all within spec. That wasn’t the case when I was troubleshooting the issue. Another data point is that Rogers sent out a senior tech and found nothing wrong.

So, since I am not a believer in things fixing themselves, I have to believe that either:

  1. Someone moved out and took some problematic equipment with them. Which in turn solved my issue.
  2. There was another type of issue within the Rogers network in my area that caused this, and has since been resolved.
  3. The issue is intermittent and will reappear at some point.

You’ll note that I am not saying that Rogers fixed this specific issue because I have no evidence that they did. Plus they wouldn’t have had time to investigate and fix this over the New Year’s weekend. Thus whatever I saw, may still be out there. I will simply have to keep an eye out and see.

Now I was dealing with Rogers Office Of The President and after a chat with them, I agreed to monitor things and reach out if the issue reappears. To that end, over the next few days I will be installing a Rasberry PI 3 running this software that I wrote about in the past couple of weeks with some custom hooks to pull the modem stats and do speed testing several times a day. I am going to start with four times a day and see how that works out. Seeing as I have had success with using this method in the past to troubleshoot other issues on my network, I am hoping that it will capture whatever it is that I am seeing.

Now some closing thoughts. Starting with a word about the Rogers Office Of The President. These people are rockstars. But the fact that you have to get an issue escalated to this level to get access to these rockstars doesn’t seem to make sense. Something that I preach to my contact center clients is that you have to put your best trained and best prepared people on the front lines. Because if you do that, you’ll get customer issues resolved quicker and get better customer satisfaction. At least, that’s what the clients who take my advice say to me. So, if I were Rogers, I’d find a way to do that sooner rather than later. Which brings me to my last point. During this latest go round with Rogers, 41 people emailed and Tweeted at me to tell me their stories about issues they’ve had with their Gigabit service. That’s not good if you’re Rogers. But I have some free advice for them. If I were running Rogers, I’d start proactively testing the connections of customers who have Gigabit service. And if they find anything amiss, then they should reach out to those customers and say something like “We see that you have a potential problem with your service and we’ll going to work towards resolving it.” That would make those customers feel better as they didn’t have to report an issue. Rogers found it because they are looking out for their customers. Right now I don’t know how the emails and Tweets that I have received relate to their overall customer base, but unhappy customers will eventually lead to bad press. That’s something that no company can afford these days. Thus I’d advise Rogers to take a proactive stance on this to address those people (and whomever else is out there who isn’t emailing or Tweeting someone) to make sure that this doesn’t snowball.

An Update To My Slow Speed Issue With Rogers Gigabit Internet….. We’re Looking At Bell

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 29, 2017 by itnerd

When I last spoke about the fact that my Rogers gigabit Internet connection has been half that speed for the last week and a half, and it appeared that this issue was bigger than just me, I was trying to work up the courage to phone Rogers. The reason being that phoning them tends to be very frustrating. Thus it requires courage to pick up the phone and call them.

I’m not there yet.

But my wife and I did start looking at the competition. Namely Bell. Now if we were going to switch telcos, we’d switch everything. TV, home phone, Internet. So we started to look at Bell Bundles for all of those services. This is what we saw:

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Hmmmm…. No bundles with gigabit Internet. No problem, they have a build your own bundle tab. So we walked through it and configured a Bell Bundle that matched what we’re getting from Rogers. Here’s the price:

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Now we were paying about that with Rogers until the last time we had a problem with our gigabit Internet service where Rogers cut the price down to $155 a month to retain us as customers. Thus this price wasn’t a shock to us.

Another option is to just get Internet from Bell and keep or TV and home phone service with Rogers. At least for now. Here’s what they’re serving up for gigabit Internet service:

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Well, $99 a month is not a bad price. So you’re likely wondering why we didn’t pull the trigger. Two things. The first being this:

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Bell discounts their services for a period of time to get you in the door. Then the price goes up. We’re not fans of that. A company should just give you their best price all the time without playing games like this. The second reason why we didn’t pull the trigger is that Bell was caught using extremely high pressure sales tactics on every call. And this was coming from current and former Bell call center employees. Of course Bell denied this, but the scale of customers who were reporting the same thing made it clear that Bell has a serious problem. And we’ve experienced a version of this before we dumped Bell several years back. This is giving us a reason to question if we should go back to them.

So the bottom line is that we’re continuing to look at options while working up the courage to call Rogers and see if they can fix this issue, which we wonder if they can seeing as this is the third time we’ve had speed issues with them.

One last thing. If reps from Rogers and Bell are reading this, you’re free to reach out and convince us why you’re the choice to go with as we’re open to hear what you have to say. If you can show that you can provide consistent speed and great customer service, we’ll sign on instantly. Because all we want are services that deliver what is promised at a reasonable price with great customer serivce. No more, no less.

UPDATE: Just after 5PM today, I got a call from The Office Of The President at Rogers. Clearly my posts got their attention. I had a quick but productive conversation with them and they noted that a couple of my downstream channels were out of spec. Whether this could be responsible for what I am seeing, he wasn’t sure. In any case, a tech was going to come out on Tuesday afternoon. But what he said about my channels being out of spec sparked my interest. So I put my IT Nerd hat on and logged into my modem. This is what I saw:

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Generally speaking the signal strength for down stream channels should be between – 10 dBmV to + 10 dBmV. Ideally at 0dBmV. What I notice is that the signal strength for channels 29 and 30 (look under the Channel ID column) are just outside the upper limit of that spec. In terms of the signal noise ratio, it should be in the 36~40 dB range. I notice that a lot of my channels are just outside the upper limit of that spec. But neither of those should cause the sort of issues that I am seeing. The reason why I am pointing this out is that in previous go rounds with this issue, I could find clear and convincing evidence that something was up with Roger’s network. I’m not seeing that here. This merits further investigation as there’s something weird going on here and I am not 100% sure that this is a Rogers issue. Thus my weekend is going to be spent really digging into this to fully understand what is going on here.

UPDATE #2: Last night I spent a couple of hours digging into this and I couldn’t come up with a reason why this was happening. But I could see that there was a problem. That was highly frustrating. Thus I decided to park my troubleshooting and pick it up the next day.

Today at 7AM I did another speed test and to my surprise my speeds are back to normal. With normal being something north of 930 Mbps downstream at the Rogers modem. I thought that was weird because things just don’t fix themselves. So I logged into the Rogers modem to see what was going on. This is what I saw:

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If you look at my signal strength, every channel except channel 30 is within spec. That was different than the picture of this same screen that I took yesterday. That was weird. It was about that time that I heard the sound of a truck backing up. I took the liberty of going out to the balcony to take a look outside and I saw two moving trucks. That made me wonder if the cause of the issue was one of the people who was moving out today. You see Rogers Internet is a closed loop system. What that means is if someone has a bad piece of equipment like a cable splitter on their connection, it could affect other people. Thus using that logic, it is plausible that one of the people who moved out today had something bad on their cable connection and I was collateral damage in terms of whatever havoc it was creating. And the second they disconnected the problematic piece of equipment, things returned to normal. Either that or something else that’s customer facing changed inside the Rogers infrastructure that I am connected to that accounts for this. Another data point is that it is unlikely that Rogers had the time or the ability to send someone out to the condo development overnight to look at any of their equipment on the property. Especially on a long weekend.

I’ve reported all of this to the person at the Office Of The President that I was talking to and suggested that instead of sending a tech out to visit me, that tech might want to poke around the equipment outside to see if something is up. In the meantime, I will continue to monitor this to see if this is just a fluke or if all is good going forward.

Rogers Seems To Have Widespread Issues With Their Gigabit Internet Offering…. Sigh

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 27, 2017 by itnerd

Over the last ten days or so, my normally fast gigabit Internet service with Rogers has become problematic again. To give you some perspective, I normally get about 900 Mbps downstream from a wired connection on the modem. Now I am lucky to get 450 to 500 Mbps. I was going to say that I had a problem with my area as this unfortunately is not the first rodeo when it comes to dealing with substantially slower speeds with Rogers gigabit Internet offering. But on a hunch, I decided to look at Twitter to see if I was the only one with these issues. It turns out that I am not:

Now if I scroll back through Twitter, there has been the odd Tweet about Rogers gigabit Internet being slow. But the pace of complaints via Twitter seems to have picked up right around the time I started to have problems again. Thus this implies that Rogers has a widespread issue of some sort with their gigabit offering.

Seeing as this is my third go round in just over a year with not getting close to gigabit speeds with Rogers, I am seriously entertaining switching to Bell. Sure they have problematic customer service and have been accused of being a bit shady at times. But everyone in my condo who has their gigabit Internet offering is getting gigabit or better speeds all the time. Having a service that delivers what is promised all the time is increasingly looking appealing despite the risk of going with a company with questionable customer service. When I work up the courage, because it does require courage to call Rogers, I will do so to see if I can get this resolved. If I can’t, I know where my next call is going.

Updates as they come.

UPDATE: In the last ten minutes, I’ve gotten emails from Rogers customers who have experienced what I have experienced. That’s pretty telling and illustrates that Rogers has a problem with their gigabit Internet service that extends beyond yours truly.

The IT Nerd Award For The Best Accessory Of 2017 Goes To: Rogers Smart Drive By ZTE

Posted in Products with tags , on December 27, 2017 by itnerd

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I have to admit that this was a very competitive category which had a lot of strong contenders in it. But in the end, I went with Rogers Smart Drive which is made by ZTE. The reason being is that this device brings smart car tech to any car. Installation is trivially easy and you get WiFi, location services for your car, monitoring of things like fuel economy, fuel level, and if there are any diagnostic trouble codes that the car has, and alerts if you car has been hit or if someone is trying to break into it. And you get all of this info on your iOS or Android device. The price point is a winner as well as the costs to buy the device and the monthly data charges are well within the reach of most. I will note that ZTE has also partnered with Telus and Bell to bring the same device to their networks. Regardless of which one you choose, this is a worthy winner of an IT Nerd Award for 2017.