Recently, after years of service, we decided to sever the ties with Bell and TekSavvy in favour of Shaw's unified service. Now, to be clear, I do not really like Shaw's service; as I find their PVR functionality and usability to be an order of magnitude under Bell's similar service. Although, their internet offering is what drew me away from TekSavvy.
My difficulties with TekSavvy were never with the company itself. They choose to not compete as heavily in the West, and as a result I can get internet 4x as fast for about the same price. In the few times I have had to call TekSavvy on a technical issue, their service was top notch, and every time the problem boiled down to the service they were reselling. Honestly, if they would have offered a similar cable option out here, I would have stayed, even if I had to pay more to use it.
Bell's television lineup and technology is top notch in Canada. Their PVR is much easier to use than Shaw's similar offering, and you get more channels for equivalent price points. My problem with Bell is an even split between very bad customer service and their stupidly draconian stance on usage based billing. Just because I can get a month's worth of HD movies for the price of a single 'download on demand', does not mean you should cry to Ottawa that internet should be more expensive.
Regardless, the point here is customer service.
Today I called both companies, TekSavvy and Bell, to cancel my service. For TekSavvy, the experience was a dream. I only needed to penetrate 2 levels of the automated call system, and I was faced with a human being. I mentioned that I needed to cancel my service, and he countered with a question as to why I would like to leave. After a short discussion on not having cable internet, I was given a confirmation number and sent on my way. Total time spend on this endevour: four minutes and thirty five seconds.
Bell on the other hand, was an exercise in restraint. My first call to their system, resulted in me being on the receiving end of a hang up. Two minutes (and four seconds) down and I'm starting all over again. On my second call, I knew how to navigate the menus, so I was in very quickly. For those of you familiar with Bell's phone service, one of the first identifying pieces of information they ask for is the account's phone number. My face went right into the palm of my hand, when the first thing the human I encountered asked for was my phone number. This sort of inconsistency is what puts Bell's customer service on par with being screened at an airport.
When the human on the phone was satisfied I was the same customer I claimed to be, I told him that I would like to cancel my service. Then I had to run the gauntlet of 'what if we offered you this discount', which honestly only serves to frustrate me. If you are willing to offer me these prices, why not offer them to me when I am a happy paying customer. After I made it clear that I was leaving, I was placed on hold for whatever reason; nearly 2 whole minutes later the gentleman returned with the latest bombshell.
Apparently, as part of my agreement (from almost 5 years ago), I need to give 30 days notice to cancel my service. I'm not entirely sure why, considering I own the dish and receiver, and the only effort on their part is to toggle a bit from one to zero in their system. Regardless, I'm going to have to pay for an entire month's service for no reason other than a lawyer put it in writing. In the end it doesn't make me feel like a valued customer.
My second call to Bell took a hair over ten minutes. Half of that time was arguing that I didn't want to keep my service, or waiting on hold. Add in the time for getting hung up upon, and it took me three times as long to cancel my Bell account, than to end services with TekSavvy.
In the end, the support received is what you remember. If TekSavvy unrolls a new, faster service in Calgary, I will jump on board even if I have to pay a premium over similar service. If Bell offered me their service for free for six months, I would still recall being bartered with to keep on using Bell as well as the fact that their system dropped me the first time I called.
I hope that more people feel the same way I do, and after all is said and done, those companies that care more about what their customers want, as opposed to quarterly bottom lines for shareholders, will fair better in the long run.