his call may be monitored for quality control purposes.”
It’s a common, automated recording that customers often hear as they are transferred (finally) to a live person at a telecom call centre. Customers feel somewhat reassured that the employee will be helpful since that worker’s responses are being recorded and reviewed by supervisors.
But, instead of being assessed on the degree of helpfulness to customers, the employee is often reviewed on the degree of resourcefulness in stalling and stonewalling — disturbing prerequisites for telecom call centre workers.
Most call centre employees are helpful and do the best they can; and the companies that hire them are really concerned about customer service. But apparently, not so much at telecom call centres, especially those engaged by Bell, Rogers or Telus — the three singled out in a damning Go Public investigative segment recently aired by the CBC.
Hundreds of current and former telecom workers have gone public with claims of misleading and unethical sales practices. Those allegations prompted the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to order a public hearing on the sales practices of telecoms, which was set to get underway Monday, Oct. 22. It’s part of an inquiry ordered by the federal government as a result of those numerous complaints.
Many Atlantic Canadian television, telephone and internet customers are nodding in agreement. It’s about time.
As detailed by Go Public, most telecom sales reps earn points towards commission for every product and service they sell and lose points every time they cancel or reduce a customer’s service.
So, employees are encouraged to do everything possible to delay the downgrade and frustrate a customer.
In despair, many customers reluctantly pay up and keep services they don’t need. Inexorably, monthly fees go up and changing bundles is next to impossible. Only as a last resort, when angry threats are made to cancel outright or switch to a competitor, does the customer finally receive service.
When will these big telecom companies clue in that you can only push customers so far and any lingering loyalty is going out the door and not coming back. Telecoms are their own worst enemy. They presume that Canadians will continue to accept getting ripped off and ask for more.
An Angus Reid poll released Oct. 18 suggests otherwise. It found that millennials in Canada are increasingly willing to opt out of traditional television and phone serve for online streaming. Many have no need of landlines; and others are cancelling cable or satellite as too expensive. Telecoms should be offering bundles that are cheaper and more flexible to keep customers and attract new ones — not driving them away in droves. Incredibly, many don’t seem to care.
Atlantic Canadians have a long list of telecom horror stories to tell and now is their chance. Don’t waste it. Pass them along to the CRTC and let’s hope that substantive changes might finally come.
Oh, yes. This editorial may be monitored by Bell, Rogers and Telus for excessive criticism purposes.