A quote by Charles Darwin really resonates with me as I look back on 2015; “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
I often get asked if Rogers is really changing or if the promises are lofty and wishful. While there is a long way to go, I can tell you that the change is real. We’ve been working very hard to change the way we operate as a company, all centred around doing better by our customers. I am very encouraged by the action being taken to improve customer service.
In my role as Ombudsperson, I get to watch the progress from the sidelines and take in the landscape through the eyes of the consumer. We didn’t get it right every time (we are human!), but I’ve been impressed by the follow-up that takes place immediately after an interaction with a customer in a way that’s fair and balanced and treats the customer with respect. There’s a laser focus on improvement and accountability that I think can only lead to making things better.
Rogers was given “MVP” status for the sharp reduction in the volume of complaints that reach the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), which were down 65% in the 2015-16 mid-year report for Rogers and down 50% over two years in the 2014-15 annual report for Rogers and Fido combined. I am also reporting a reduction in the number of complaints to my office from Rogers’ customers for the first time in my five year tenure as Ombudsperson.
There’s a lot going on our industry, and a lot for consumers to be excited about. The CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV decision is beginning to take effect, giving people more TV choice, and the Television Service Provider Code of Conduct that comes into effect in 2017 will level the playing field for consumers across the country, just to name a couple. That’s in addition to a very competitive market that is driving the quality of products and services higher and has competitors fighting over who has the best customer service.
It’s a pleasure to be part of this movement, especially when I see the impact it has and will continue to have on customers. I can feel a dynamic shifting and I am optimistic that the journey towards a better customer experience has a very clear and steady path to success in the marketplace.
Story in Numbers
In 2015, Ombudsperson office completed 505 investigations, a decrease of 16% over last year. Rogers was also given “MVP” status for the sharp reduction in the volume of complaints that reach the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), which were down 65% in the 2015-16 mid-year report for Rogers and down 50% over two years in the 2014-15 annual report for Rogers and Fido combined. This dramatic change reflects the efforts of Rogers to help customers with their services, such as DeviceAdvice, DeviceAid, and the new Facebook Messenger help option. It’s important to us that customers know there is an impartial body ready to help with any issue they may have.
CASE STUDY 1:
Mr. J contacted the Ombudsman’s office following a suspension to his wireless phone service due to overdue payments. Despite making two payments towards his account in recent weeks and calling in to request a travel plan for his wireless phone, Mr. J’s account was flagged as delinquent for no payments after more than 60 days. When Mr. J expressed that he had in fact made the missing payments by credit card over the phone, it was discovered that the payment had been applied to the wrong account. This was attributed to an error caused by Mr. J when entering his information into the voice automated response system (he was one digit off). Mr. J was surprised to hear that Rogers would have allowed more than one credit card payment to be applied to a random account to which he had no connection, and that he spoke with Customer Service regarding travel plans but received no warning as to the status of his account payments. Mr. J was completely caught off guard by such an aggressive tactic as a payment suspension where there was no history of payment problems and was left questioning the fairness of the treatment he received.
The Office of the Ombudsman investigated the method by which credit card payments are received and processed by the automated phone system. It was discovered that although Mr. J had likely made an entry error on the account number during the first occurrence of mismatched payments, the automated system automatically set this number up as the default destination for future funds. Because his subsequent payments were routed to the same incorrect account, Mr. J was placed on a collection path by the Rogers Credit Operations department which should have helped signal the problem. Although several calls were made to alert Mr. J of the pending service suspension, no messages were left when the virtual dialer calls reached Mr. J’s voicemail system. The Office of the Ombudsman supported that such an unfortunate outcome could have been avoided and recommended changes to the automated payment system to avoid a recurrence of such an experience. Mr. J accepted a resolution which included complimentary services for the inconvenience and embarrassment caused by the collection treatment.
CASE STUDY 2:
“Principle of Age of Majority”
When Ms. R’s daughter lost her wireless handset, she was grateful and relieved that her daughter (who is an authorized user on her account) had opted to sign up for the Device Protection program with her purchase. Now that she needed it most, Ms. R’s daughter filled out the required form to submit her claim, pay her deductible and wait to receive a replacement device. To her shock and surprise, Ms. R’s daughter’s claim was denied because she was not 18 years of age at the time of her claim. According to the Device Protection Program’s terms of service, all claims must be made by a person who is of the minimum age of majority. Ms. R’s and her daughter were left confused at how Rogers could allow the purchase of a device by a person under 18 but not allow a claim to be submitted for a loss under its own program.
During our investigation, the Office of the Ombudsman found a clear contrast in policies which caused the gap experienced by Ms. R and her daughter. While the Device Protection Program’s terms of service include a clear provision for claims submitted by a person of minimum age of majority, the eligibility criteria required become an authorized user who can purchase a wireless phone does not have a minimum age. The Office of the Ombudsman recommended a change of policy to ensure fairness in such a scenario and proposed a replacement phone be provided to Ms. R’s daughter in lieu of her denied claim.
CASE STUDY 3:
“Causing a Promotion”
Mr. C contacted the Office of the Ombudsman to request an investigation into his dispute regarding the unfair change of rates for his consumer residential service account. Mr. C had been extended a promotional rate for the last two years for which he was satisfied, however he had been recently informed that the special price would soon be expiring. Despite escalation to the highest levels of Customer Care, Mr. C was not satisfied with the lack of comparable promotions on which he could renew his services. Mr. C expressed that his loyalty was not being appreciated by Rogers and that it was unfair to expect him to pay more for the same services.
The Office of the Ombudsman reviewed the circumstances of Mr. C’s promotional offer and found clear and transparent parameters regarding the original’s promotions term length and expiry date. Mr. C also confirmed that he was not mislead nor misinformed regarding the timeline and availability of this same promotional rate beyond the initial two year term. Upon review of the current promotions available to new customers, the Office of the Ombudsman observed that the replacement offer presented to Mr. C was significantly better than the advertised rates. Based on these findings, the Office of the Ombudsman concluded no unfair treatment was imposed on Mr. C and supported the loyalty offer that was already presented by Rogers Customer Care.
Your feedback is important to improving the customer experience at Rogers. I am thrilled to contribute to this process by elevating the visibility of issues that I uncover through investigations. In the last year, a number of initiatives were implemented to improve the experience for customers. Here is a sample that I consider amongst the biggest wins for consumers:
- No More Paper:We’re simplifying things for you, as well as our store employees, with the launch of Digital Contracts which will replace paper copies. Our employees told us that the new solution is intuitive and easy to use – you’re going to love it.
- Need Advice for your Device?: DeviceAid for Rogers customers and DeviceAdvice for Fido customers are like having a personal smartphone expert in your pocket. This new self-diagnoses software provides quick and personalized advice so that you can get the most out of your phone. This feature allows you to quickly and easily solve issues and maximize the performance of your devices which makes it easier for you to self-serve. You’ll now be able to diagnose and resolve technical issues right from your device 24/7. DeviceAid also offers smart tips, tutorials, recommendations, app suggestions and alerts using data captured from your device settings. DeviceAid will even alert you, and walk you through the steps, to turn on the Time Zone feature in the event you forgot to turn it on automatically. If, by chance, an answer doesn’t come up when you launch the application or if it doesn’t meet your needs, you can choose to contact a billing or technical live chat agent straight from your device.
- Message Me: Rogers and Fido customers can also now interact with one of our service reps via Facebook Messenger on your devices. Facebook Messenger has already launched for Rogers customers, and now Fido staff will be on-hand to help with any queries between 8 a.m. and midnight daily. This customer care service on Messenger creates a continuous chat where you have the ability to respond from anywhere.
- Making price plan changes easier: It’s no secret that data and voice charges for part of a month is one of the biggest causes of wireless bill confusion. We’ve recently changed our systems to make it easier for you to understand billing and self-serve on Rogers.com. Anyone doing a price plan change before their next billing date to a Share Everything + price plan will automatically receive; unlimited local voice minutes for the full month, the largest data bucket between the old and new price plans, and the ability to monitor data usage online on MyRogers 48 hours after the new plan takes effect. This allows you to make changes to your price plans worry free.
- Live Chat enhancements: We understand you’re busy, and it takes times to seek the information you need. Our live chat agents are now more empowered to help you. They can see your previous chats with us, share their screen, and co-browse to help you find what you need and fix things faster.
In 2015, we surveyed all customers serviced by the Office of the Ombudsperson.
Here are some key highlights:
- 70% of people were satisfied with their experience at the Office of the Ombudsperson, and 70% gave the rate of responsiveness and timeliness of the office a “satisfied” or “very satisfied” rating
- 80% of customers surveyed said the Ombudsperson handled their complaint in a professional and courteous manner, while 70% of people said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the quality of customer service by the Office
- 65% of the people surveyed actually didn’t know that Rogers had an Ombudsman in charge of investigating their concerns
“I was surprised by the professional handling of this, I really did not expect any kind of positive outcome, this is based on my experiences with Rogers as a corporation (and large corporations) to date”
“The Ombudsman handled my case in a professional and timely manner and I was very satisfied with the resolution which made me change my mind about switching to another service provider.”
“Thank you. I have already recommended your office to a client who is facing a problem with Rogers.”
“My experience with the Office of the Ombudsman was exemplary”
“I was impressed at the level of commitment to seek fairness for all customers. I was very happy with the outcome and process”
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June 27, 2016