Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Bell tolls for me

Is there any a time when "customer" and "service" go hand in hand? Today is certainly not the day.

The lady on the other end of the phone at Bell Canada was certainly pleasant enough. I had called in to upgrade my present mobile phone. I had waited what had been the alloted 18-month waiting period to get new hardware - a mobile phone and hopefully a new Bluetooth headset, given the new rules of the road in Ontario. A long-time customer (on the Bell accounts receivable list since the mid-90s), I was loyal to a fault. Despite many offers of upgrades by Bell's competitors, I was happy with the products and the services. Until today.

I was thanked for being a loyal customer. Yay me. But, I was then told that I would have to wait another six months for my loyalty to be rewarded. Boo Bell. And, there was no bargaining room. She had checked her computer and that computer was god. She then proceeded to tell me that my past 18-month rule had never been in effect and that I must have been mistaken. The customer was wrong, wrong, wrong. She then asked if there was anything else she could do to help me. Really. No.

I am a reasonable person, a little too reasonable at times. In the past, I would have accepted the two-year wait as a viable answer despite having an upgrade every 18 months since my first Bell cell phone. So, when she asked if she could do anything else to help me, this was my answer: Since your track record today is zero, there is nothing else you can do. "Oh, what else would make you happy," she asked. My answer: a new cell phone.

I hung up with a "Have a nice day" retort.

It's a small issue, having to wait until June to be more technologically connected. That's not the underlying issue. The real issue is that the Bell lady operated under the guise that she had actually helped me in some way. She answered the telephone and checked the computer. She did not take any steps past that to see if a supervisor could help me past her area of expertise.

I've worked in customer service and still do to this day. It's about customer retention. It's about going above and beyond. It's about making more of an effort than answering the telephone.

It looks like Bell's competitors will enjoy my loyalty once my contract is up.


  1. Good on you Scribe! The best thing about Canada though is at least they say 'Have a nice day.' Come to France where pure indifference has been relegated to the status of art form! Love

  2. Oh Ange, I'm afraid I'm the exception rather than the norm at times. While Canadians are known for their politenss, that seems to be going out the window these days.

  3. It's definitely about retention. I have a friend who works for our cable company and she's given me lots of tips on getting free services and channels, simply by calling up and saying I was going to switch to satellite. ;)