Beware What They Telus

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Sep 30, 2008, 2:37:22 AM9/30/08
Okay, you've probably already heard from some disgruntled people about the
service - or rather - the lack of service Telus fails to provide.

They've been on a recent campaign to recruit subscribers and you've probably
already received a few calls by now to be sold on their "great deals". For
your own sake, please be sure to thoroughly investigate what you're buying
into VERY carefully first, before you regret it later.

Sure, they may be able to provide what seems like a decent rate up front;
and you may not need those "extra frills" they would nickel and dime you on
every month. After all, the only thing that matters is that your telephone
works when you need it to. Right?

Of course.

If it's always working, then there's nothing to bother worrying about.
Landlines have been pretty stable for most of the last century, so there's
not much to be concerned with. Right?

Here's the real deal though, it's true; the Devil really does live in the
details and it's in the details where you'll find yourself in Hell.

Imagine a horror story like this one happening to you.

It begins with octogenarian parents and one with a heart condition, a tight
budget and regular calls from a variety of telemarketers offering solutions
to save some money on their telephone service. Over time, temptation wears
down one's natural disinclination to switch from the security and stability
of a service one has grown accustomed to relying on. People are switching
telephone companies all the time, so it shouldn't be too big a deal to try
someone else; particularly if it helps to make ends meet.

My senior citizen in-laws decided it was time to switch away from Telus to
an up and coming service they'd heard was pretty decent Heck, even I had
enjoyed the long-distance savings I had gotten from Yak. In my case though,
I only used their 10-10 number to get my price breaks. I hadn't actually
switched my service over to them. My in-laws went one step further and
actually switched to them as a service provider.

Here is where the irony meter kicks into overdrive.

Sure, Yak took over their service by routing their calls through Yak's
switches and sent them Yak-branded bills with Yak pricing; but when the
phone stopped working, Yak went to Telus to provide a technician to
(supposedly) fix the problem.

Here is where the Devil introduced himself and took us all on his elevator
ride to Hell.

Several calls and several hours after the problem had been reported without
achieving a resolution; my wife took over dealing with the situation on our
end on behalf of her parents. Several calls and several hours later, a
"trouble ticket" was issued and a technician was scheduled to be dispatched
to initiate repairs within the next couple of days.

The technician never arrived. Several calls and several hours later, a
technician was scheduled to arrive the next day. Problem solved? Not hardly.
The technician never arrived and it was now the end of the week.

Minor delays like these are usually only annoying inconveniences; not life
and death emergencies.

My father in-law unfortunately, suffers from a heart condition. He has
already had a couple of hospital stays to monitor his heart after two mild
attacks. My wife hadn't been able to speak with him for several days by this
point and was, as one might easily imagine, becoming very concerned.

Several calls and several hours over the weekend to customer service
representatives from across the globe speaking with nearly completely
incomprehensible English; one of several rather polite and apologetic people
managed to discover a problem in their issuances of "trouble tickets". They
were never actually issued because of inconsistent policies due to the
establishment of operations centres spanning diverse geographies and a
variety of countries, each with their own unique sets of obstacles
complicating a streamlined operating policy and procedures.

A rather pleasant fellow named Ragu assuaged my wife's nerves somewhat by
explaining what had happened and by assuring her that a technician had been
scheduled for the next day. This was on Sunday. Monday morning came and
business hours went. My wife tried calling again. After another hour of
listening to what was initially soothing but was now aggravating "hold
music", the connection was lost.

It was at this point where I became more actively involved. I was fortunate.
My call connected me with a customer service representative in Toronto who
spoke perfect English. I felt bad for her, but I felt by this point that it
was necessary for me to light a fire under her to get some results. I was
forceful, but not rude. The result was for me to discover that Yak has
apparently made service agreements with a variety of carriers across the
globe. At first, she believed that Bell would be handling the issuance of a
technician. Bell cleared up that misconception for her after she made a few
calls while I waited on hold.

The ball had bounced squarely back into Telus' court.

There was nothing more she could do until the next day because Telus' office
was closed. I confirmed the chronology of events with her. I carefully
delineated the complex relationships as clearly as I could with her. The
gaps in her understanding made it clear to me that I was asking questions
which were above her pay grade and beyond the limits of her training.

Nevertheless, I felt armed with enough information to be able to speak
directly with an after-hours representative from Telus to get some
additional questions answered. I had hoped to be able to speak with someone
at Telus who could provide enough insight to help facilitate a resolution.

I found myself speaking instead with a rude, obnoxious and fast-talking
brick wall named Val.

I tried to explain my situation and was quickly stymied by a rote response
delivered at a rate which would make an auctioneer jealous. I attempted
uttering a couple of more words in an effort to pose another question and
was interrupted once again by his "party line". I tried again and was again
stymied before finishing my first sentence. I tried once more and was
immediately blocked again.

That was when I popped my cork. "I'm the customer", I started yelling. He
yelled back. I yelled more loudly. He yelled more loudly and I went into
overdrive. He hung up. I called back and after getting through the robot
driven menu system, was back in the service queue.

Soon, I heard the robot tell me I was being transferred. It was then that I
heard the system "hiccup". "Your call is being transferred." I then heard a
beep, then "Your call is being transferred", and another beep. This went on
like a broken record for at least a half-dozen times and the robot returned.
"I'm sorry, there seems to be a problem in connecting you, please try back

The connection died and I was back to hearing my dial tone.

While I fumed, I contemplated my experience. Val had been well trained to
avoid providing service to "neo-customers" that Telus wasn't directly
billing. It apparently doesn't matter if Telus actually makes money off
customers whose service is paid for on an indirect basis. To not be
registered to receive bills branded by their logo is apparently an incentive
to them to treat people like dirt.

Perhaps I'm just too naive, but I always treat the customers of my customers
like they are also my customers. Hey, I try to treat everyone I meet like
they're a customer. Perhaps that's only because I operate a small business
and I'm more motivated to grow my customer base.

As Confucius once said, "A man thinks differently in a palace than in a
hut", and perhaps if I was a large business that had been transformed
literally overnight from a government run operation with decades of secure
operation into a capitalist enterprise, I might think differently about
customer service. Perhaps I might choose to nickel and dime my customers
with penalties for incremental features to pad my shareholders' profits
while the competition nipping at my heels includes them for free. Perhaps if
I had inherited a monopolistically grown customer base instead of having to
win each one by one, I might be more inclined to care less about each as

If that's the case, then I hope never to grow so big as a business, because
to me, the relationships I develop are what make my business worthwhile.

I do remember some customer research I encountered decades ago in my career
that a happy customer will recommend a service to about two in ten people
whereas an unhappy customer will tell up to eight in ten people about their
negative experience. It's been a long time since I learned that memorable
lesson so I am not certain if the statistic still holds true to this day.

What I do know for certain is that my Telus mobile phone is going to be
dumped as soon as I find a better provider.

Oh, and for those who have cared enough to get this far down in my diatribe;
thank you for your concern, but my father in-law now has a mobile phone and
has switched his landline provider to Shaw.


Feb 24, 2009, 1:20:36 PM2/24/09
That's funny, I had the same issue and switch providers, except I went from
SHAW to TELUS and now I'm much happier. Seems to be that ppl go back and
forth all the time, but I got to say, you need to get over it, holy smokes
what a useless rant !

"4unner" <> wrote in message

Mr Frederick

Feb 28, 2009, 6:17:21 AM2/28/09

"Art" <> wrote in message

> That's funny, I had the same issue and switch providers, except I went
> from SHAW to TELUS and now I'm much happier. Seems to be that ppl go back
> and forth all the time, but I got to say, you need to get over it, holy
> smokes what a useless rant !
So let me get this straight. Phone service with Yak, who has a service
contract with Telus. You yelled at Telus. Since you are not Yak, you are
not a Telus customer. Yak was responsible, despite the fact they had no
actual service people. Yak should have been yelled at, and Yak should have
yelled at Telus, because Yak is a Telus customer.
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