My Escapade through Customer Service

This post is a little divergence from the usual content of Digital U but I had to write it. I just got off the phone with three different telecoms in my city. Why three?  I signed up with Bell Canada and got my first bill.  Wow.  So I switched to a competing provider, Primus, because they had a great ‘unlimited long distance package’.  After some insanity (described below), I’m on the search again. 

Here’s my story in the not so wonderful world of telco customer service…. 

I switched from Bell Canada becausetheir long distance plans suck. Primus hasa great package with long distance. They also said that I would keep all my existing features and seperate ring tone for the Fax.  So I switched and life was going to be great!

Turns out Primus couldn’t offer two featuresI had.  Even worse, the Fax interfered with my voicemail! No one can leave me a voicemail at home, but they do get blasted with the fax shreek when they least expect it.

So, I’ve been dealing with Primus for three weeks to get them to resolve the issue. During the first week (after I contacted them twice to follow up) they told me the fax problem would be resolved in 48 hours max.  Week 2, I call back and ask why it hasn’t been resolved.  They tell me that “it wasn’t escalated properly”….so the guy from Week 1 lied to me.  Just for fun I spent time trying to get the Week 2 guy to agree that I was lied to by Week 1 guy.  He finally did. Then the thing that would rank as the worst customer service process….

I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that no one was available and if I wanted then a supervisor would call me back in 24 to 48 hrs!! 

Wait, when a customer isn’t getting proper service and wants a supervisor, isn’t it because they want an issue dealt with NOW?  I have to wait 24 to 48 hours to even talk to someone?!?!?!   I call back, talk to another CSR and get the same story.

Now its week 4 and the fax is still annoying my callers.  The unlimited long distance isn’t worth it.   If someone from Primus reads this I would be happy to discuss your CS process (and I’ll be happy to write a recant if you can convince me).

I call my cable company, Rogers, to ask why their On Demand service isn’t working (ya, cable issues too…hey, atleast my web connection is working (Rogers)!).  They can’t pull up my account and say “it doesn’t look like you’re a customer.” I tell him that I am a customer. He says he doesn’t know what to do.

I explain that I am, at that moment, watching T.V. with their cable service and on the web through their internet connection.  Still, the guy says that “the system can’t find you”.  He puts me on hold and goes away.  After 20 minutes on hold I hang up and call back.  I get another guy that finds my account easily and helps me out.  The problem with this is that every time I call Rogers I have to call twicebefore I get someone that even finds my account!  In fairness, Rogers always has great service. It’s the CS process that needs work (at least according to my experiences). I didn’t even ask about phone service.

After looking at the plans online, I call Vonage.  They have two plans that look the same…

Residential = $40, add a fax line for $13 = $53  or Entrepreneur = $70, which looks like its the same at the Residential plan with a fax.  So makes sense to do the Residential with a fax line and save money, right?  I call them in case I’m missing something that gets provided with the Entrepreneur plan.  The Customer Service Rep answers and this is how the conversation goes…

ME: “What is the difference in service if I just add a fax to the Residentialplan. Won’t I then have the same thing as the Entrepreneur plan and save money?”

CSR: “Residential is for personal use and Entrepreneur is for business use.”

ME: “Ok, but is their a difference in service, features, etc. if I add a fax to the residential plan?”

CSR: “Like I told you, the residential is for personal and entrepreneur is for business”. 

ME: “Buthow would you know what I use it for?  Can you just tell me if its the same service and features? I don’t see what the difference is.” 

CSR: “Well, Vonage will know if you’re using a residential plan for business and cut you off without warning.” 

ME: “You mean, they will know how I use it…”

In mid sentence I hear the ‘hold music’!!   No lie, she simply cut me off by putting me on hold.  She didn’t tell me, just did it.

Two minutes later a tech support guy answers and asks for my Vonage number. I explain that I just called to ask a question, told him what happened, and have no idea why I was routed to tech support.  I ask him what the difference in the two plans are.  He puts me on hold! WTF.

HUGE QUESTION:  Does anyone out their know if it’s true that Vonage monitors how you use their service?  How is this possible with eaves dropping?  I can’t see this happening and being legal.  (Vonage, can you clear this up?)

I hung up and wrote this blog.  The worst is that Bell Canada, the guys I was with in the first place have the best customer service. Always knowledgeable and responsive.  For that reason alone I’m looking into their long distance plans again. I’m going to give Vonage one more chance. Depending how it goes I’ll either sign up or switch back to Bell Canada – even if I have to pay more.

Moral of this story for service providers, companies, and virtually anyone running a business or aspiring to do so one day….Priority #1: YOUR CUSTOMER.

This is just one mans experience. I’d be interested in knowing if you’ve had similar experiences, or faired better.  Would be a good test of what the public feels about how much they are valued as a customer and knowing who really cares about keeping their customers happy.

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