January 21st, 2009
This is part 5 of a multi-part post on my battle to get an iPhone for myself and a Blackberry Pearl Flip for my wife from Roger’s wireless. At the time of this writing, the saga is still on-going so I cannot say how many episodes there will be… Previous episodes: Episode 1: The Phantom iPhone, Episode 2: A Lack of a Phone, Episode 3: Revenge of the Pissed, Episode 4: A New Phone.
I look back on those first few days with my iPhone the way I look back on a beautiful summer day from the dead of winter. I finally had my new phone and it was awesome. There was nothing I needed to call Roger’s about, nothing I was waiting for. I was downloading apps, checking email, surfing the web, tweeting…it seemed like it had all been worth it. Those days came to a quick end when my next bill arrived.
Now, I was not expecting my bill to be perfect. I knew that there were going to be some issues as the credits which had been applied to my account had been done so after my bill was printed and placed in the mail. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was it to be so very wrong. The main issue was that the charges for the hardware upgrades on both phones were significantly higher than they should have been. It looked like the credits which were supposed to go on my account when I added data plans were not actually added. So, the charge for my iPhone was $50 more than it should have been and the BlackBerry was $250 more than it should have been. It was time for yet another call to Roger’s.
Eleven digits, some one-word answers to the automated assistant, phone number, name, postal code and birthdate. The whole sordid story recounted for yet another front-line Roger’s grunt on the phone. I explain that I was missing the credits on each phone that should have been applied when I added my data plans. Some humming and hawing on the other end of the line assured me that there was, indeed, someone listening to what I was saying. I was expecting a quick resolution. After all, the prices for the phones were listed all over the Roger’s website, how could they argue? I finished my tale and politely asked the man I was speaking to to fix things for me.
“I’m sorry, but you aren’t eligible for those credits. Those credits must be applied at the time the phones were purchased. You need to order the data plans when you order the phones to get those credits.”
Now, before I explode here, a little flashback. Way back in Episode 1 the very first Roger’s employee I spoke to advised me (in fact, completely refused to discuss data plans with me) to not order my data plan until I had the phones in my hand. Otherwise, he said, I would be paying for my plan without having access to the service. It sort of made sense, in a way, but I figured that they must have some way of putting a plan on my account but only activating it when the phones were activated. That was the reason for my call back a few minutes later, starting this whole saga on its way. Over the course of the weeks that followed, this same advice was given to me by several more Roger’s employees, including one Supervisor who went through the trouble of putting all of the details of what I wanted into the memo of my account…details that were magically unavailable when it came time to really order the data plans. I’m digressing into past episodes, but the important message is that they repeatedly told me to not order my data plans until I had both phones in hand and being activated.
Dark Side Descent Part V
It was well before this whole story began that I began to notice how good customer service is becoming harder and harder to find these days. This might be limited to Saskatoon as our city is growing faster than the job market can keep up with. Fast food joints were the first places where it really became obvious. They have never been known for good service, of course, but in recent months it has become much worse. As wages have increased to keep pace with the demand, everyone seems to have shifted up a level. People who used to work fast food, you know, the low-end of the teenagers willing to work, have moved on to the retail positions that the more intelligent/friendly teenagers willing to work used to fill (they have moved on to yet higher positions). This gap is now being filled by those teenagers who were never motivated enough to work before (but the wages are high enough to attract them now) and were never desired by employers (but beggars cannot be choosers now). Perhaps this is happening all across the country. Maybe this is what has happened at Roger’s.
All of this has made me wonder if we need to re-adjust our thinking when it comes to service. Tipping, for example, used to be reserved for service that was above par. It was a reward for exemplary service. Recently tipping has been seen as a necessity and not a reward that service providers should work hard to try and earn. Perhaps this needs to change. Could that help turn the tide of poor service?
The Score So Far
- Three months unlimited local calling.
- Three months unlimited data usage.
- $10 credit / phone / month for 36 months.
- $50 goodwill credit
- $25 goodwill credit
I exploded. I raged. I ranted. I informed the guy I was speaking to that I had been trying to order a data plan from the very first moment this whole deal began and I was told again and again to wait. So I waited. Then I had the phones in my hand, and I called in and activated them. I ordered my data plans. Now, I wanted my credits. There was no way I was going to pay more for these phones than every other Roger’s customer because I had actually followed their instructions. Once again it was time to speak to a supervisor.
This was one of the bad offices I was on the line with. When you call the Roger’s 888 number you get routed to one of their call centres. There really isn’t any way to tell them apart or tell where exactly they are. You can, however, tell that there are multiple centres by the on-hold music they play. There’s one that plays a short snippet of classical-esque music on a constant loop. Another plays a loop of some pseudo-rock music. The worst plays a loop of a Michael Bolton album. Specifically, Time, Love & Tenderness, released in 1991. Before you even think it, no, I am not a Michael Bolton fan. Far from it. However, I have heard that album enough times on hold with Roger’s to track it down on Amazon. Sad. Infuriating.
After between ten and fifteen minutes of music which was probably intended to sooth angry people, I was beyond angry. I was so tired of dealing with Roger’s and so very tired of Michael Bolton. The supervisor came on the line and, of course, they had not used any of the time I had spent waiting to pass along any details of the situation. Once again I had to explain everything that had gone on and was going on now. Thankfully, this time the person on the other end of the line understood and realized that the current situation was their fault and not mine. Credits were placed on my account to bring both phones down the the advertised prices. I didn’t even need to ask and a $25 “goodwill” credit was placed on my account as well, for “all of the trouble”.
I wish that this was the end of my billing problems with Roger’s but it wasn’t. That’s another story for another episode. Not the next episode, however.
Update 02/10/2009: Episode 6: Return of the Mad Guy has been released.
Update 07/06/2009: Episode 7: Seeing Red has been released.
Update 07/13/2009: Episode 8: Resolution has been released.
Update 07/27/2009: Roger’s Wars Epilogue has been released.