Thursday, August 23, 2012

Customer Disservice

This story started last week with the entry I made about upgrading my connection from normal DSL service to Aliant’s FireOp service.  Getting nerdy for a min, it means in increase in my service from 7Megabits Download / 512 Kilobits Upload to 15 Megabits Down/Up.  A really, really nice increase for the service.  So I get off work at 8am yesterday and come home and make sure that the house is ready for the install and the tech won’t have any access issues.  My landlord even temporarily pulled back the siding on the house for access to where another cable comes into my apartment so the tech just needs to slide the FibreOP wire in alongside it.  So far, so good.  Then the fun began.

My appointment was from 12pm to 5pm so I didn’t go to bed just in case the tech might be early (cause that’ll ever happen) and I waited.  Around 1:30pm I decide to check on things and make sure that all is well with the appointment, so I call Aliant.  I picked Technical Support and then Internet from their IVR and managed  to be routed to the Phone Support department… They transferred me to the Internet Department and the agent told me she could see the appointment but needed to talk to another department to confirm and put me on hold.  18 minutes I hold, I’m a patient guy but that’s a bit much, no refreshes, no checking on me, just 18 minutes on hold and when she came back she told me that she’d have to call me back because she couldn’t get a hold of the other department.  

After that I hop on the online chat option they have and the agent tells me that my appointment is for the 23rd, not the 22nd as I know it should be. I tell the agent this and they transfer me in chat to another chat department. The agent I get there confirms what I know that the appointment is open for the 22nd and that the tech will be out for my install.

At 2:51pm, Brendan, who identified himself as a manager called me.  The appointment is open he tells me, the work order was scheduled, but there was no tech ever assigned to it and it’s completely an issue on their end that this happened. I explained what the chat agent had told me and he tells me that’s incorrect, no tech is assigned or coming.  He tells me, per his process, he left a voicemail with the Service Quality Manager and emailed that person to get a resolution and they would be calling me back in 1-2 hours.  Now, it’s 3pm, so two hours from then would be 5pm and I know there is no way a tech is coming after 5pm so I do the only thing that I can and ask to escalate to his manager. I let him know the position I was in, I work nights and had given up a night’s work, given up sleep to wait for the tech and that I was fully expecting a tech as promised and I wanted to talk to his manager, please.

For the next hour, yes you read that right, THE NEXT HOUR, Brendan and I go around in a circle of him telling me that he has followed process and me asking to speak to either this Quality Service Manager or his Operations Manager. When I asked for the former I’m told it’ll again be one to two hours before that person calls, when I ask for an Operations Manager I’m told “That’ll never happen.” “That’s an unreasonable request.” “They don’t talk to people on the phone.” “I am a manager, you’re not talking to Operations.” At 4:09 Brendan disconnected the call.

I worked Technical/Billing Support for 11 years at a call centre on behalf of an American cable provider, I know how the game is played. I only raised my voice once, and that was when he told me about that I’d be waiting 2 hours to hear from someone.  I didn’t yell, I didn’t curse, I didn’t let my tone get insulting, didn’t give him any cause to hang up on me, I kept him talking and running in the same circle for over an hour.  It’s not a case of “The customer is always right” that line is bullshit anyway, it’s a case of I asked to escalate my issues to the next Operations level and he flatly refused. You don’t do that. Ever. When I took escalated calls, yes I did my letter best to not have it go to Operations, but you know what? Sometimes a call has to go to Operations.  You don’t tell an already irritated person, “That’ll never happen.”

Thanks to the wonders of caller ID, I know the name of the outsourced company he works for, the address of the company in Halifax and the phone number. I could have called back and pretended to be someone working for them and asked to talk to the Manager for the project because I was calling in sick or some such nonsense and then verbally blasted them, but I didn’t. I behaved.  I tried the chat option that Aliant offers.  From the chat I learned that there was nothing the chat people could do, they couldn’t access the scheduled appointment and I’d have to call the Customer Service line again.  So I called again. They didn’t see any notes from Brendan, they saw my notes from the Chat and they told me that the window for a Quality Service Manager contact is 2 hours to 2 days. I still didn’t yell.  I thanked the agent and ended the call. 

Then I called again.  This time I must have hit an Aliant centre instead of an outsourcer because the agent could see the work order, see that it wasn’t assigned to a tech and called dispatch to see what was going on. It was after 5pm at this point so I had no illusions about a tech coming. The agent was very nice and got the work order assigned to a tech for today, the 23rd, and for the morning timeslot so I’m not (hopefully) wasting another day home.

Overall I have to say this, with the exception of the last agent I talked to, this was the worst customer service I have ever experienced.  I stared calling just over an hour into my appointment. When I worked for that American cable provider, if a customer called in and it was discovered that there was an appointment open but no tech assigned, it would have been escalated and fixed that day. Especially that early in the appointment window.  Instead I was strung along for 3 hours until it was impossible for the issue to be fixed in the same day. To be refused the lines of escalation and shut down by a so called “Manager” representing the company in that way and hung up on. Needless to say I’m mad.

Yes the appointment is for this morning now, and I will undoubtedly love the service when I get it, but I’m calling in to complain about the Customer Service I’ve received and I’m demanding an apology and a credit. I’m not being an ass about the credit. I gave up a day’s work, well a night’s work, a full day of sleep because I stayed up to wait for the tech. I had a Manager refuse to escalate and hang up on me and because of what Aliant admits is a fault of theirs, I didn’t get my install yesterday as had been originally scheduled.  I’m not going to yell, I’m not going to scream, I’m not going to yell, but I am going to firmly make some demands and they will be met, I don’t care how far up the ladder I have to escalate, I’ll go to the CRTC with my complaint. This is not how Customer Service is done. Except as I said, the last agent I talked to.

And to top it all off, I’m using my cellphone to post this right now. When I got up this morning I found I don’t have any internet on my regular DSL modem at all. So I called again, and again must have hit an Aliant centre because I got another competent agent. She could see the work order, not only is it scheduled and open, it’s already assigned to a tech and printed. The reason I don’t have internet right now is that they cut the DSL lock on their end when a FibreOp install is scheduled so that there is no conflict in signals.  Fair enough, I can live with that. 

I do feel sorry for whatever supervisor I’ll be talking to this afternoon.

Later (hopefully from a FibreOp connection)


1 comment:

Steve Lake said...

Have to post a follow up to this, and instead of making a new post or updating the original one, I'll post it here as a comment.

FibreOp is installed, Tristan and Jim, the install techs were awesome and did a stellar job.

I'm getting about 20 Megabits Download and 15 Megabits Upload and I love it.

They weren't gone five minutes and I heard from Pam at BellAliant. She's been following my ordeal here and on twitter and Facebook. She was a great person to talk to, she sorted out my billing concerns and requests and even went beyond my expectation in that regard.

Between the service from the techs and the call from Pam, I am satisfied with the resolution to this and my faith in the company has been restored.

Thank you again Pam, Tristan and Jim


- Steve