a failing grade for some.
CBC News had an item this week on a customer service survey they had run.
The survey look into the level of customer service provided by 40 of Canada’s top companies through their call centers. In the survey, Sears Canada came out on top. Eleven other companies scored 80 per cent or better in our ratings. These companies were quick to answer their calls, and we found their interactive voice response systems easy to navigate. The results may go against the conventional thinking that a telephone-based customer service experience is usually a bad experience.
The written summary fails to mention that three of the worst companies were Bell, Rogers and Telus. How can it be that the three major suppliers of telephone services are so poor at using the very service they provide? The survey results are no surprise for many of us have been affected. The Your View item had 381 comments mostly within the span of 36 hours, after which comments were closed. Many of the comments were lengthy and quite naturally related to our friendly telecommunications suppliers. Here’s one that could well apply to any of the three.
I’ve had really bad experiences with XXXX for customer service, mostly in terms of billing. I’ve been over billed based on the regular monthly rate vs. the “promotional” rate that I was promised when signing up for their services more than once. I’ve had multiple cell phones over the years and with XXXX it had happened twice. It’s not a big deal but straightening it out takes up my time and the agents are only so-so when it comes to knowing what they are doing.
There is lots of food for thought for Bell, Rogers and Telus in the comments if they are looking for ways to improve. Here’s just one that caught my eye.
I had occasion last year to order some electronic parts on-line from Digi-Key, an American parts supplier. It was ten pm when I sent the order via Internet. Imagine my surprise when fifteen minutes later I had a call from a CSR who suggested a small change in my order that would save me a small bit of money.
The rep then said that they would process the order and ship it right out. What did “right out” mean? I received the order from them the next afternoon. (This from a company across the border) With service like that, its no wonder they claim to have grown their business by taking good care of customers. If only one company of the big three (Telus, Bell, Rogers) would figure this out, they would smash the competition.
Isn’t that so true? The three of them are like the razor blade suppliers. They give you the razor for free and make their money in selling you expensive razor blades. The zinger in the cell phone case is that the packages in all cases are incredibly complex. Often different agents will give you different interpretations of what particular packages include. It’s really very disappointing from companies that are technically very expert.
Much of the customer dissatisfaction comes from those complex rate packages. That Tim E story suggests a way they can really be seen to be helping their customers. Their computers contain all the details of each customer’s calling experience. It would be no great computing feat to calculate each month which package would have best met the customer’s calling needs. In other words, what would have been the cheapest package given the calls the client made? If this was say 50% less than the actual bill, as can easily happen, then the client would receive an e-mail message pointing this out. The client could then choose for the future to adopt a different plan. Of course they would get less money from that particular customer but in essence the existing contract was a gotcha. How much better to create customer goodwill than to create resentment when the customer eventually realizes they have been hand.
The idea is offered freely to Bell, Rogers and Telus. If one of them should pick it up, then I’m sure the other two would match the action within days. It’s that kind of approach that will help to move the three of them from the bottom of the league on customer service.