D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Telus: Great Customer Service…well, for a cell phone company

Saturday, January 30, 2010 10:16 PM

Today I broke up with my Windows Mobile phone. Well, it wasn’t so much that I broke up with it as much as it became defective and unusable…which makes me sound like a jerk when I use a “breaking up” context, so let’s just forget that…and save the gory technical details for another post.

The main point: I have no usable phone and I need a usable phone. So I went to my local Telus store to see what could be done. The guy I spoke to (Darnelle sp?) was awesome and knew quite a bit about Blackberry’s (which is what I was looking to get). In fact he used a Blackberry Tour personally, which he had on him so I was able to see what it was like (Telus FAIL: You should have at least one working model of each phone for customers to see. Those fake plastic ones have 0 value). He checked my account and informed me that on Feb 6th I was up for phone offers from Telus. Basically I can get a credit towards a phone if I renew a three year contract (I was only 1 year into my current 3 year contract).

This was a problem. I can’t wait a full week to get a replacement phone! So this morning I called Telus and got a very nice rep named Karen. I explained the situation and Karen said that normally I’d have to send my phone to warranty first since it was within the first year. That would mean going to a Telus store where they would try and get me a “loaner” phone…but that might take a few days. I explained I couldn’t wait. She put me on hold and when she came back I was escalated to Sam (as in Samantha). I went over the situation again, and she wanted to make it clear and understood that I’d be signing up for a new 3 year term and that this was just a credit off the full price of the phone. I made it clear I realized this and just wanted to be able to sign a new 3 year contract one week earlier and take advantage of the credit I’d be getting anyway. After another minute on hold, she came back to say that yes they would put the credit on my account today so that I could get the deal.

We hear customer service horror stories all the time, and I want to thank all three of the Telus employees that I dealt with for helping me out. Greatly appreciated!

So why the “…well for a cell phone company” in the title? Because while the employees were great, the structure they have to work in doesn’t make sense.

Why is it that Telus store employees aren’t empowered to help customers the way the call center staff are? Why did I have to go through 3 people when I was already dealing with someone in the store…twice (the first time I went in, and the second time today…two trips)? This process is not customer focussed, as it causes the customer to do a lot of work while Telus benefits.

And seriously Telus: you’re going to make me pay a $20 fee because I’m switching phones? You give me an “option” credit to get a different phone, then stick me with this fee at the register? For switching phones?! Meanwhile, you force me to give up the unlimited data plan that I originally signed up for because you no longer offer it and you see this as a *new* contract that I’m entering into.

Of course I didn’t have to renew my contract with Telus. I could have gone to Rogers or Fido or MTS (local provider). But the rub of course is in the clause the cell phone companies include which states that terminating a contract early requires x number of dollars for each month remaining. In Telus's case its $20/month or $100, whichever is GREATER. So to cancel my 2 year contract would have cost me $480 and I would have had nothing but freedom from a contract.

So in the end, while I did experience great customer service from individuals, it ended up feeling like I got the three nice guards at a POW camp. Canadians are frustrated with the level of cellular service in Canada, from a cost, offerings, and service perspective. It’s nice to see that at least when it comes to truly meeting customer needs they’re hiring the right people on the front lines.


# re: Telus: Great Customer Service…well, for a cell phone company

"Why is it that Telus store employees aren’t empowered to help customers the way the call center staff are?"
The Telus store is actually run by another company with a license to sign up Telus customers. Their employees don't actually work for Telus. 1/30/2010 11:07 PM | Aaron

# re: Telus: Great Customer Service…well, for a cell phone company

Same goes for MTS, on that note why did you decide to stay with telus. To me they are the weaker of the carriers in MB. Do you do alot of work out west ? 1/31/2010 2:16 AM | John Bain

# re: Telus: Great Customer Service…well, for a cell phone company

Aaron: Sure, but that doesn't mean Telus couldn't implement a process that ties them in. For instance, why doesn't Telus have a special line for their brick&morter stores where employees at those stores can call and get expedited service for customers (as opposed to the customers having to call seperately).

John: I was only one year into a three year contract, so going to a different carrier wasn't an option. I've had bad experiences with MTS in the past and when I was at Rogers they didn't impress me. I've generally been happy with Telus though. I guess its like Canadian federal politics: no party is the outright winner, just lesser degrees of evil. 1/31/2010 1:08 PM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: Telus: Great Customer Service…well, for a cell phone company

telus customer service sucks big time!
this "higher than usual volume of phone calls" thing
makes every one laugh
though it's not funny.
every time you call telus you get to be on hold over half an hour at least!
currently i've been on hold for 27 min and counting!
they don't have enough customer service reps so the big guys could receive a big paycheck. they cimply don't care about ordinary people!
here should be government's regulations on wait times!
and if a carrier is not able to provide fast service it should have it's license revoked! 9/11/2010 4:49 PM | alex

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