Learn from this customer service nightmare. My wife originally called Bell customer service to inquire where the iPad they promised her was. It was part of a signing bonus for coming on as a Bell FibreOp customer from Eastlnk. We had it on paper thank God. Here’s how the story unfolded and some learning points from this experience.


The first Bell employee, ID #25630, told my wife that no such deal existed and that she was wrong. There was no iPad coming to her. He pretty much called her a liar. My wife was gracious and was going to hang up after the Bell employee told her that there was nothing more that he could do for her. He said there was no such deal. What we had experienced at the Bell store was not an actual offer at all. He told use we got a better deal, and that was it. No iPad.

Something stirred within me and I decided to check the contract/order. As I read the order, I came to the section referred to as “Additional Notes” and it said… “Customer coming from eastlink. Qualifies for the ipad promo and giving them 6 momth at $119 for the BEST package with the free LD for one year and 50% off the receivers as well.” The staff at the Bell store were awesome. They treated my wife very well. My wife eagerly waited for the iPad, and asked me over and over again if the iPad had come in the mail. To have my wife berated by the Bell employee struck a chord in me…. and OFF Chord one that is.

I called “Customer Retention” to experience a top customer service experience. After all, I was a little upset over what #25630 had done. I told the guy on the other end that my wife was basically called a liar. He said that was terrible. As he looked quickly, he found what the original customer service rep had failed to notice, in a matter of seconds. We did qualify for the iPad. I wonder what the originally #25630 guy was looking at. #25630 had been so busy telling with my wife that the iPad deal was not for her; and he had failed to check her file closer.

The guy at “Customer Retention” next lost me when his computer rebooted. He later called my wife back after 15 minutes or so. He said he put an order in and that we should call back tomorrow to make sure that everything was OK. I was hoping to receive service that wowed me, and instead, I felt like I just encountered an episode of the “Keystone Cops”. By going through “Customer Retention”, I was expecting to see great customer service in action. After all, these are Bell’s “Top People” in charge of fixing customer concerns. The guy I got had to get help from a “Mentor”. This is customer retention folks, not the Amateur hour. I know employees are always learning and training, but this is supposed to be customer retention.

I walked away disappointed by Bell. I left @Eastlink to try @Bell. And now I am scratching my head. I liked how @Eastlink delivered customer service. They were always great with me. Now I am starting to think I made the wrong choice. Sure I love the higher speeds, but customer service is important to.

So what could have Bell done better? I never bring a problem to light without trying to deliver good actionable advice. So here it is:

  1. He guy at “Customer Retention” should have apologized right away for the way the first customer rep #25630 treated my wife. It might be good for those involved to go over the recorded conversation to see what could have been done better.
  2. I was amazed at how fast the guy in “Customer Retention” found the Contract/Order. Some training for the original customer service rep #25630 might be required. Solving the problem first time and getting access to all the information could have created a WOW customer experience, instead of a FAIL.
  3. I work with computers everyday and know how they can act up. The guy in “Customer Retention” should have gotten back to me faster, and at least put me on hold. He could have reassured me that getting me back on-line and waiting on me was his top concern. Apparently getting wisdom from his “Mentor” trumps getting back to the customer. When a call gets dropped, it is important to get back to the customer and reassure them that they are important. This prevents them from getting more irritated.
  4. The guy at “Customer Retention” put an order in with an other department for the iPad. He told us to call Bell back to make sure that everything has gone well. I have to ask myself… where the customer service follow through process was. When is it the customers job to make sure that the process ends well. A good customer service guy would have owned the problem to the end. Someone has to own the process of fixing the customer’s issue. That should not be the customer job. After all, how hard would it be to put  a sticky note on a computer as a “To Do” task. Don’t let your employees pass the buck. The need to walk with the problem to the finish line. After all, this is customer retention. They are supposed to be the top guys.

So what have we learned? Wowing customers is important. My wife was not wowed at all. My wife is not a complainer, or someone trying to get something for free. She is actually a good customer who pays her bills on time, or even ahead of time. She needs to be valued and allowed to experience a great customer service experience. Bell robbed her of this.

I know first hand about great customer service. I worked 6.5 years as a Chrysler customer service adviser. Good customers need to be rewarded with great service. As a customer service rep, I had experienced all the customers from Hell. Many of them, I turned into my best customers. But I always wanted to give my good customers more than the ones that complained all the time. It is critical to reward your good customers when you are able.

In the back of my mind I am wondering how @Eastlink would have treated my wife. That’s not good for @Bell. Don’t to this to your customers.

Final note:

As I walked this morning, I wondered why “Customer Retention” had to go to a mentor. The thought lingering in my mind is that the customer service department tried to make the save with escalating my call to Customer Retention. The Mentor for the guy I talked to was really “Customer Retention”? It also occurred to be that the rebooted computer excuse may have actually been the guy losing the call. If this is what really happened, this is a major fail in customer service. Talk about a break in trust?

I will have to call Bell today to make sure that customer service did their job. This is kind of backwards if you ask me. If this is how Bell is going to continue to work with their customers, it may be time to switch, high-speed or not! I might even check to see if I made Customer Retention at all.