@RogersHelpsRogers, a Canadian communications company providing services like Cellular phone coverage, internet, Cable TV and Land line phones experienced an outage recently on two of its services, Cellular and Internet. I was personally affected as Rogers is my internet provider, but thankfully not my cellular service provider.


I reset my modem, then reset my router, which are the normal procedures that an individual customer can take to ensure the problem isn’t local.

Since that failed to fix the problem, a service call was placed to Rogers’ support line. It was impossible to get through. If you did get through, you received a message: “Sorry, due to unforeseen circumstances right now our offices are closed… goodbye”.

Due to unforseen circumstances, our offices are closed.

Rogers clearly was not prepared in its support facility to handle the volumes of calls. But for those who got through, Rogers could have used the Voice Response Unit that front ends their support line to inform customers that they were having difficulties with their cellular and internet services and that they were working on it. If they had some idea of the expected time frame for it to be fixed, they could have provided that information as well.

But the Voice Response Unit, if you could get through to it at all, had no information for customers that could have reduced their anxiety.

Twitter became my source of information.  Customers who could access the internet through their cell phones (IE they had another cellular provider or another internet provider) were informed that there was a wide spread outage – from other users. But there was no communication from Rogers for quite a while on what the issue was and when it might be fixed.

@Rogerhelps finally sent out this tweet.

Look at the language used. They don’t describe the problem in user terms. The cellular service and internet services were down.  Rogers used the term ‘wireline’ as if customers are supposed to understand what it means.

They promise to provide updates but I didn’t see any until they posted another tweet several hours later:

Rogers tweets that its outage is fixed.

In this tweet, Rogers refers to Internet issues and again they use the term wireline.

In the intervening time frame, the Twitter universe was lambasting Rogers. It appears that some customers had no service for over 5 hours

One tweet was re tweeted over 800 times

Customer complaint retweeted 850 times

I personally engaged Rogers’ twitter support with the following tweet, asking Rogers to provide an update to their status and an estimated time for restoration of service.

In fairness I did get a response from Rogers but it was the next day, about 16 hours after I tweeted my request. Here’s what they sent back to me.

Rogers response to complaint tweet concerning outage

 What Rogers should have done.

1. Invest in a more robust telephone support system that can accommodate calls in a crisis.

2. Rogers should have announced its outage at the outset using Twitter and any social media it communicates with, and updating its support line voice response unit.

3. Updates should have been frequent.

4. Responses to requests for support tweets sent to RogersHelps should have been more timely.

Outages will happen and customers expect them to be fixed quickly.

Lack of communication makes a company look like it is hiding something.

Over communicate at times of crisis.

 

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

5 Responses to “Missing in Action: Rogers fails to communicate during outage”

  1. David Jacques Says:

    Don’t we love telcos…

    Very similar story to this one: http://www.customerinput.com/journal/service-outage-customer-experience-management-and-social-media-my-advice-to-3/

  2. Adele Berenstein Says:

    David, great story.
    I really liked your image about how everything was down..would you like to see our marketing ads.
    I posted a link to your story on my Facebook Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/customersat
    Thanks for sharing
    Adele

  3. Randy Morich Says:

    This is getting to be the norm rather than the exception. This has been an increasing problem over the past 10 years over all types of customer services. The big reason is cost cutting. Customer Service has experienced reduced management and administrative personnel. I frequently hear cries from call center professionals, “we are expected to do just as much work with fewer resources.

    I can easily guess the problems at Rogers. They did not have the personnel to handle the situation and it shows.

  4. Adele Berenstein Says:

    Randy, thanks for your comments. I think the outage was bigger than Rogers ever expected. I have seen outages before and I have never heard the phrase, “Sorry, due to unforeseen circumstances right now our offices are closed… goodbye”.
    Even their phone system fail system could have had a better message than that.

    I don’t think anyone at Rogers wants their customers and prospects to know how severe their outage was.

    Normally Rogers support is quite good, they answer the phone and they do try to help, but this time the situation was out of ‘normal’.

    And they could have done a better job on Twitter of speaking the customer’s language AND providing a status update more frequently.

    I do agree with you that many companies are downsizing their support. A new blog post 10 Key Findings about Customer Service in Amex Global Study at http://bit.ly/Sv3bON talks about how one third of US consumers think businesses are paying less attention to providing good customer service in 2012. So your perception about poor service across the board is right.

  5. David Jacques Says:

    On Randy’s comment I’d have to disagree. This is not due to cost cutting. No amount of money you throw at customer service will make them more customer-centric. The problem with Rogers and many other telcos is across the entire organization and is more fundamental; it is a problem of corporate philosophy.

    Thanks Adele for linking to article from your Facebook customersat page.

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