Archive for March, 2010

RedBoard video: NOC around the clock

Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes to ensure the call from your smartphone goes through? Or, who is making sure your home Internet connection remains connected to servers around the world?

As part of our RedBoard video series, I speak with Bill Anderson, a manager at our Network Operations Centre about what goes into running a NOC and how Rogers is monitoring our cable TV, wireless, home phone and Internet services around the clock to ensure your communications, information and entertainment needs are met.

What videos would you like to see on RedBoard? Submit a comment below or send me a tweet at @RogersMiranda.

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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How @RogersHelps helps: Improving the customer experience 140 characters at a time

RogersHelps iconWhen people I’ve helped online meet me in person they often say, “wow, you’re a real person!” In fact, I’m just one of the real people on the @RogersHelps team – which engages with customers through social media on issues from products to policies.

Here’s a primer on @RogersHelps (in a little more than 140 characters)

What is the @RogersHelps team?
The RogersHelps team uses our @RogersHelps Twitter account to learn from our customers and help when we can. We also engage with customers in blogs, forums, Facebook and now RedBoard.

Why did Rogers create the @RogersHelps team?
We knew our customers were talking about us online and we wanted to be part of the conversation. When there’s an opportunity to help, we’re here to provide assistance, answer questions and listen. We also make sure your feedback gets passed along to the right people at Rogers. This is valuable information for them to have when making business decisions.

Can @RogersHelps get customers better deals or process account changes?
We’re not here to provide discounts and we’re not trying to replace traditional support channels. Our front-line Care and Technical Support reps can be reached by phone, e-mail or live online chat. They’re experts in their field and we leave that job to them. But we can help customers escalate problems to our senior Customer Care specialists in certain situations, for example where a customer’s experience hasn’t been up to par.

What’s the best way for someone to get in touch with @RogersHelps?
@RogersHelps is our primary Twitter account and either I or a member of our team will respond. (Nous avons aussi @RogersVousAide pour nos clients français.)

Does @RogersHelps respond to all the tweets directed at it?
We strive to respond to every tweet directed at us, but we usually do so through personal accounts such as my @RogersMary account rather than the @RogersHelps account.

What are some examples of how people are using @RogersHelps?
Tweets are like snowflakes, you’ll never get two the same. But for the most part they can be categorized into two categories: customer experience and feedback.

A lot of the tweets we get are general customer questions like, “what roaming package is best for me?” or “my device was stolen, what options do I have?” We try to provide answers to these questions or refer them to our support channels where appropriate.

We also get a lot of feedback — customers sharing stories about their experiences with Rogers good and bad. Here is where we can add value by passing along feedback to our colleagues.

How do you see @RogersHelps evolving in the future?
There’s no perfect model for engaging with customers in social media and we’re learning as we go along. Our goal is to continue to learn and evolve to meet the needs of our customers.

What other resources do you offer?
@RogersHelps is just one way we’re working to make it easier for you to do business with us. There are a variety of places you can go if you have questions or need support about our products or services: you can check out our self-serve content on Rogers.com; you can reach out to our support channels; or you can talk to us through some of our social media accounts.

Have you had an experience with the @RogersHelps team? What role do you think social media should play in improving the customer experience?

Mary Pretotto is a member of the @RogersHelps team. On twitter, she’s @RogersMary.

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Hello Northwestern Ontario: Rogers and TBayTel team up to provide 3G coverage

In RedBoard’s first blog post, we received a comment from Shane asking about coverage in Northwestern Ontario. Today, we have an update for you Shane – as well as for those living, travelling or doing business in that area.

Rogers and Thunder Bay, Ont.’s TBayTel announced this morning an agreement that will see Rogers customers gain access to TBayTel’s HSPA network, which covers will cover communities and major highway corridors in a 300,000 square kilometre area spanning from just west of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. to the Manitoba border. (How big is 300,000-square kilometres? Roughly the size of France.)

The deal will give TBayTel customers access to Rogers’ 3G HSPA network, allowing them to use mobile devices on the Rogers network across Canada.

The Rogers-TBayTel agreement is subject to approval by regulators. Should it be approved, service between the Rogers and TBayTel is expected to begin later this year.

We are always looking at ways to expand and improve our network. Our HSPA network covers more than 84 per cent of the Canadian population and we are currently upgrading it to HSPA+ — which provides speeds of up to 21 Mbps, similar to those of fixed broadband.

Check out www.rogers.com/network for more information about our Wireless coverage.

Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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We Listened: Rogers Unveils Smartphone Tethering Policy

blackberry usb cableYou can be passionate about our products, services and policies. And you’ve let us know loud and clear that you’re passionate about tethering.

We’ve listened and have some news to share.

Effective immediately, tethering will continue to be included at no additional charge for Rogers and Fido customers who subscribe to data plans of 1 GB and above (excluding those listed below). This effectively makes our current promotion (which was set to expire on May 3) our ongoing policy.

Since we announced the tethering promotion last summer, many of you have told us that tethering is an important service. We’ve heard that you want the freedom to choose how you use your data buckets – directly on your device or tethered to a computer.

We want to help you get the most out of innovative new technologies like tethering. And we’ll continue to examine our customer needs and evolve to stay ahead of the curve.

For those who don’t know what tethering is, here’s some more background.

What is Tethering?
Tethering allows you to connect a computer to the Internet by using a smartphone like a BlackBerry or iPhone. Computers typically use a lot more data when connected to the Internet than smartphones do, so make sure you’re set up with a data plan of 1 GB or above.

Why Tether?
If you’re reading this blog, I probably don’t need to tell you. It’s all about anywhere, anytime communications. There’s no need to find and pay for a Wi-Fi connection – you can browse from the comfort of your laptop, rather than the small screen of your device by tethering.

Excluded Plans
Tethering cannot be used with data plans of less than 1 GB. Also, it cannot be used with the new 1 GB+ One Rate Roaming plans (except Rocket stick plans), Family Shared Data & Voice Plans and Smartphone & Rocket stick shared data plans.

What other Mobile Internet options are available from Rogers?
In addition to tethering, Rogers also offers the popular Rocket stick and Laptops with Rocket built-in, which can be used with a wider range of data plans.

Where can I find more information on tethering?
Rogers tethering policy and FAQ can be found at www.rogers.com/tethering. Fido.ca will be updated with the new information in the next few days.

So tell us – do you tether with your mobile device? Why do you find tethering useful?

Rob Manne is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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Rogers & Roaming: Working To Make It Easier

BlackBerry Bold White roamingWith the arrival of warmer weather, you may be starting to make your Spring or Summer travel plans. If you’re like us, you’ll probably be packing a smartphone or other mobile device to keep connected with friends, family and yes, even work.

Historically this has been hard to do affordably, regardless of your carrier. You may have resorted to switching data off, or using only Wi-Fi or pay phones to keep costs down. But as part of Rogers’ efforts to make it easier for you to do business with us, we’re working with our roaming partners to bring down roaming fees and we’re also designing new offers and options to better fit your needs while roaming. Here’s a rundown of some of the new ideas we’ve introduced to make roaming more affordable.

New One Rate Plans

A few weeks ago, Rogers unveiled One Rate data roaming plans. These new plans offer frequent travellers to the U.S. the ability to draw from the same data bucket in both Canada and the U.S. For about $10 more a month than equivalent domestic plans, frequent U.S. business and leisure travellers can get cost certainty and big savings. It’s not available for all our plans, but you can find more details at www.rogers.com/onerateroaming.

Travel Packs
Less frequent travellers should go with a travel pack, which provides significant savings over standard text messaging, voice and data roaming rates. You can add U.S. or international packs by contacting Customer Care or through the My Rogers section on Rogers.com. Go to www.rogers.com/roaming for travel pack info.

Add-Ons
Some of you (particularly our iPhone customers) have told us you don’t want to switch plans to get better roaming rates. The best option for you is the U.S Data Roaming Option. A $10  recurring monthly fee allows you to roam in the States at the rate of $1/MB, the equivalent of roughly 50 text e-mails. Data usage can also vary by device – see the travel tips section of the link above for more useful info. You can also check out the data calculator at www.rogers.com/datacalculator.

We’re excited to provide One Rate’s pioneering low rates and convenience, along with the widest range of roaming options available to Canadians. But we recognize there’s more work to do.

Our goal is to make wireless roaming easier and more cost effective for all our customers. Here are a few things we’ve done to make that happen:

  • Since last year, our customers receive an SMS once they’re roaming in a foreign country and get directed to some of the packs above to save money.
  • Our site has a travel tips section to educate customers about roaming
  • Clearer representation on your monthly invoice to better manage and understand your roaming usage

Looking ahead, we are working with partners around the world to find other ways to bring savings to our customers. So stay tuned – and bon voyage!

Rob Manne is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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My Rogers: Get more done, more easily, anytime

Today we’ve changed how you interact with us. The new My Rogers is a one-stop shop that allows you to quickly manage your accounts. You can go directly to the new My Rogers by clicking here.

We know that you want to be able to make changes to your account without picking up the phone. So after months of customer feedback and extensive beta testing, you’ll notice a new, cleaner design to My Rogers.  There’s simplified navigation and increased functionality, such as one-click access to usage information right on the first screen.

It’s also easier to make a payment, add a service, modify your TV channels, search our technical-support database, upgrade hardware and tweak your MY5 list – all in one place, with just a few clicks.

The changes are part of our focus on improving the Rogers customer experience – and to make it easier, faster and simpler for you to do business with us.

There’s a great video demo available here, but essentially the new My Rogers has five key sections:
•    Overview: All your information upfront with your products and services at a glance.
•    Bills and Payments: Check your balance and due date, get a detailed summary, view billing history or make a payment at any time.
•    Plans and Packages: Modify your Wireless, Home Phone, Internet and Cable TV packages.
•    Hardware: Upgrade your phone, Rocket Stick, digital box, Internet modem and get technical support answers. Here’s where you can personalize your mobile device with games, music, ringtones and more.
•    My Rogers profile: Update your account information and marketing permissions.

We encourage you to give the new My Rogers a try. And let us know what you think – either by clicking on the “Give Us Your Feedback” link at the top right of the My Rogers page, or by adding a comment below.

Update (March18, 2 pm): You can now view the video demo of the new My Rogers by clicking the play button below.

Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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Nadir Mohamed: ‘It’s a whole new world’

In the first of an ongoing series of RedBoard video posts, I speak with Nadir Mohamed, Rogers President and CEO, about what’s in store for the communications industry in 2010 and Rogers’ commitment to the customer experience.

This is the first of many videos we’ll be doing with executives and employees, and we’d love your feedback. Who do you want to see us interview – and what questions would you ask?

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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Our top 8 list of smartphone tips

BlackBerry Bold 9000 White, LG Xenon, LG EveSmartphones have gone mainstream. Need proof? More than 174-million were sold last year worldwide, up 15 per cent from 2008. They’re now in the hands of everyone from gadget lovers to newbies buying their first mobile device.

What makes a smartphone so smart?
It’s what’s under the hood. They’re mini computers in your hand, powerful enough to run software, take pictures and organize your life. Oh, and they make phone calls too.

So, you’ve taken it out of the box and powered it up. Now what? Here, in no particular order, are eight must-dos to make your smartphone that much smarter:

  • Download apps: You’ve surely heard the phrase: “there’s an app for that” – referring to the thousands of applications available to iPhone users through the Apple App Store. From maps to games to diet trackers to document editors, there really is an app for almost everything. Costs range from free to more than $20. But apps aren’t just for the iPhone. There’s BlackBerry’s App World, the Android Market, Windows Marketplace and Nokia’s Ovi. You can also grab apps through the Rogers mobile site, which lets you charge apps right to your phone bill.
  • Use IM: Most smartphones come with instant messaging (IM) applications built right in so continuing a G-Talk conversation away from your laptop is as easy as tapping the screen. For BlackBerry, its newest messenger program allows you to add a friend to your contact list by simply scanning a barcode generated on that person’s device. Click, scan, chat!
  • Get voicemail to text: Dialing into a voice mail box is so 2000. With voicemail to text you get a transcription of the message sent to you right away so you don’t have to run out of a meeting to learn that your kid now needs to be picked up at 6:30, not 7.
  • Pop on a headset: In many provinces, it’s now illegal to drive and hold a handset up to your ear. Using a Bluetooth headset takes only a few seconds and allows you to make a call during gridlock without getting a ticket.
  • Send an MMS: The M stands for mucho-fast. Ok, it really stands for multimedia messaging service and it’s one of the fastest ways to share pics, vids and audio clips. Snap a pic, click on it, follow the options screen to send as MMS, type in a phone number and an accompanying message and then voila – it’s sent.
  • Click shortcuts: Looking to quickly find the last number that called, send an SMS without manoevering through menus, or go to the first message in your inbox?  Many smartphones have pre-programmed shortcut keys built right in to save time. Check the device manual or search online for a more robust list. Just think – all those seconds add up to minutes, which add up to hours, which add up to…
  • Save battery life: There’s nothing worse than running out of juice. Some of the best ways to maximize your battery charge include: disable Bluetooth when you’re not near your headset; turn off Wi-Fi scanning; shutdown apps that may be running in the background (big drainers: streaming media players and games); turn down the screen’s backlight brightness to 60 or 70% – odds are you won’t even notice, but your battery will.
  • Grab the MyAccount app: If you can measure it, you can manage it. Get real-time updates on your account balance, make payments, check talking time as well as messaging and data usage. Now available for iPhone, but if you’ve got another device you can access full account details via your mobile browser.

What did we miss? Let us know your smartphone must-dos by posting a comment below.

Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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