Our take on today’s Twitter trend

It was about three years ago that we first started talking to customers on Twitter with our @RogersBuzz and @RogersHelps accounts. We knew the conversation wouldn’t always be positive. Today we were reminded that it can sometimes be very negative.

Last night, we launched a campaign to promote our Rogers One Number service on Twitter. It seemed like a natural. Our analysis of social media conversations showed this was the most positive thing Rogers has ever done since we started tracking online conversations in 2009. Customers told us they loved this free service that allows them to extend their wireless number to their computer.

But as you’ll read today in the Toronto Star and elsewhere, our campaign to promote the #Rogers1Number hashtag is being used as an opportunity for customers to highlight any number of concerns or complaints about Rogers.

But you know what? We’re okay with that. We’re in social media to listen, not just to talk. So we’re reading all the comments and helping as many customers as possible. We’ve been listening to customer feedback in social media for years and have made many changes to our products and services as a result.

A big part of why we launched RedBoard is to hear your feedback. So if you’ve found RedBoard for the first time today through the #Rogers1Number hashtag, please take a moment to fill in our survey. This will help us in our efforts to constantly improve our services and the customer experience.

Keith McArthur is VP of Social Media at Rogers

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Our take on today’s Twitter trend , 2.8 out of 5 based on 38 ratings
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  1. While you might have had the best of intentions with the tag promotion, the true majority public opinion of Rogers really came out with this. You guys are not popular, thought of as arrogant, and many of us are stuck with you guys. It’s also important to note that the other choices of carrier can be just as bad (or not even available where people live) so Rogers for some is thought of as the lesser of 3 evils.

    Things like the spectrum auction also really throw Rogers in a negative light (note: all the big 3 are bad here, not just you guys). You are viewed as anti-competitive, “scummy”, arrogant, flippant, and EXPENSIVE!!!

    You guys should put some serious time and thought and effort into this backfire and take a good look at how you treat customers and how you can improve the perception of Rogers as an arrogant selfish company. You have 1 huge step ahead here with a social media team that at least gives the appearance of listening. Please go all the way with it and don’t flounder.

    In short, look at this as an opportunity to work hard to correct this deservedly negative public image of Rogers, and don’t ignore your customers this time.

    • This is spot on Kevin. This is EXACTLY what I hear from many IT professionals and fellow Rogers customers.

    • RogersKeith says: March 16th, 2012 a 8:15pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Kevin. I agree with your assessment that there’s an opportunity for us to use today’s learnings to become a better service provider for our customers.

  2. just so you know, the survey has the number 8 twice instead of the number 9. it goes 7,8,8,10. better fix it before someone sees it and makes a fuss about it.

  3. Your response including both this and your gang on twitter this afternoon was probably c minus grade. Directing people to customer server reps isn’t great when their problems were reps in the first place. What was really lacking in your response was concrete changes to policies, plans, processes , prices, etc.

    Most plans and policies you have are designed with profits in mind rather than the customer. Design them with the customer in mind. Happy customers bring more customers, bring more profits. Start with what the customer wants, not what the vp of finance wants.

    Design more options. Take data plans. Have more levels so customers are not stuck with tiny or way too much.

    Have better options for people to upgrade phones mid contract. No wants to keep a phone 3 years these days. People will use a newer phone more which will make you guys more money. Why charge them hundreds in penalties to extend a contract with a new phone. You get to keep the customer longer this way plus they are actually happy rather than trapped and tweeting.

    And above all, always ensure unhappy customers have an easy way out. If they are that unhappy it is better they leave then tweet about you.

    • RogersKeith says: March 16th, 2012 a 8:25pm

      Hey John – Thanks for your comment.

      Since you’re looking for specifics, let me give you two.

      First, you talk about customers wanting options to upgrade phones mid contract. We agree and that’s why we launched an early upgrade program last year.

      Second, you noted that customers want more data options. Again, we agree and that’s why we introduced some great flex rate plans for tablets. Coinciding with today’s iPad launch, we’ve introduced some special promotions.

      You’ll say there’s lots more that we should be doing. And I also agree with that. But we are genuinely listening to our customers and trying to become a better company each day.

      • This is the problem with Rogers, upgrade program doesnt save customer anything FYI…. #fail

      • flex plan is a joke.

      • Just actually had a look at your plans, and as John says, the plans are all designed for profit.

        Listen to Kevin above and start thinking about the customer.
        You want a big customer NO NO, all the times that you advertise a price for something and then in the fine print in little tiny 6 point font, is the dreaded “for first 6 months” after which the price usually doubles, or in this case, you data decreases by 50%

        You know how much this pisses customers off!!!!!
        I’m sorry Rogers, but I really really hate when you do this.

  4. It doesn’t help that it came out the same day Rogers tried to prevent new competitors from gaining spectrum.

  5. I contacted the office of Maria Churchill after I got an e-mail to submit my feedback regarding the customer service rep with whom I spoke.

    This infuriated me because I don’t know that you can speak with just ONE person at rogers and get something done. I have begged and cried not to be transferred for the 8th time on the same call to a different person.

    You guys can set your prices any way you want. Why should we care? you don’t honour them. Last December, I was billed for text messages that were already on my plan. In each month since – January, February, and March I was promised a refund. You think I got it? How many people do you think I’ve spoken to? I can’t remember.

    After moving to Canada in the early 90s we (family) started out with cable, then in 2000 we got the net with Rogers. Then slowly we moved up to 4 cell phones and somewhere in between we became Rogers home phone customers.

    Every other month there were billing errors since 2004. Every single month I would call. Some times they would reverse the charges. I never ever asked for a single dime in return for my own over usage, sending texts i shouldn’t have or data usage over and above. Only what was legitimate.

    Then in 2007 May you dumped CDMA and we got a new 3 year contract – shafting.
    In 2009 your rep said we charge for incoming texts now – new plan, 3 year renewal, wider shafting

    Then in 2010 my family bought into the smartphones, new 3 year contracts, more shafting. More and more often seen billing errors. 35$ activation per line for ‘delivering phones to the store’. June 2011 I dumped Rogers cable TV. October 2011 I dumped Rogers home phone for vonage. Rogers wouldn’t transfer it kosher – fought them for 2 months.

    Then in Feb 2012 more charges. I asked why, well it turns out that the ‘credits’ from our 2009 plan expired in 3 years ergo, 2012. I asked how can you have a 3 year plan from 2010 expire in 2012? “someone didn’t explain it correctly”

    OK so someone else makes the mistake, and you want me to pay for it?

    Finally my contract for the phones expires in Dec 2013. You will have to blow me to keep my business, NOT. Nothing will keep my business.

    In all this time you could afford to be arrogant and you even sent a credit agency after me in 2001 because you ‘assumed’ that i wanted to renew my pager after 1 year and continued my service after it expired. Well two can play that game.

    Bell treated me very very poorly. Now when their people call me I say i hope you go out of businesses. There’s a good reason why people feel enraged. It’s not the 1.45/minute roaming charge in the US. It’s not the 45c/message. It’s the within country roaming that the US doesn’t have anymore. It’s that i have to pay 5$ up front to get 10c/minute Long distance.

    And the fact that you made everyone move to a newer, more expensive modem rental to get the same ‘express’ service. it’s precisely the fact that you foist your ‘improvements’ upon us and we end up paying as much for telecom services as we do for food and rent. And, we can’t cancel.

  6. There’s haters on the Internet????? What a shock. Listen well to the ones that have useful constructive complaints, ignore the ignorant.

  7. Hey Keith,
    I think you either really don’t get the message, or you do, but you’re putting on a veneer of callousness to the public. The way you wrote the message is patronizing and pretentious. Even your csr reps on social media are talking about today’s “events” as “events”. This is a joke. Your strategy for handling the situation is poor; you haven’t once been apologetic for the years of terrible service you have given everyone. But I can understand this, because you know you won’t change, and therefor why would a business apologize for something when they have no plans on changing?
    I think the message I’m getting from your message here is this: I don’t care, I make 100k+ more than you, and I’m “OK with that.”
    I mean seriously, thousands of people just told you off, and you put on this fake: “We’re OK with that.” face? This is corporate psychosis in textbook form.
    I’ll give no pity to those who have no conscious for the masses.

    Also; having your hair slightly gelled and out of place does not make you cool with the kids.

    • RogersKeith says: March 16th, 2012 a 9:27pm

      Kevin – Maybe it’s because it’s a long day and I’m getting punchy but I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did when I read the last line of your comment.
      Even my own kids would agree that I’m not cool with the kids :-)
      Respect for your sense of humour. Seriously.

  8. It’s hard to feel bad for Rogers. Sorry. I’ve been a customer forever and not a month goes by that I don’t have to call and fight with a rep because of wrongly being charged or you folks pulling some kind of strange stunt with roaming fees. You don’t make it easy. On top of that, if your phone reps call my house one more time, I’m going to consider switching to another provider (every night? Really? Can’t you take someone not picking up the phone as a hint?).

    You want people to say nice things about some new service, but until you fix the foundational issues you have, no one is going to give you any love. Sorry.

  9. Monday would be a good day to unveil double/triple bandwidth caps, slash text messaging rates by 4/5ths and quintuple everyone’s minutes. Make real hard changes to the company that change the fundamentals of the business and actually put a smile on the face of customers. Work to want them to like you, and not smear everything with faux self-effacing PR and having a fleet of people monitor twitter while steering people to take their complaints into private channels.

    Or retreat back to your dank cave in your Bloor St. HQ and continue to feed the monster that lives on a lifecycle of locking customers into contracts and griding on them for the duration, then when the contact runs out, forcing them to haggle like spice traders and make repeated threats to cancel with the retentions deptartment in the hopes of getting a square deal.

    I’m with Mobilicity and love them, $37 a month after taxes and no phony recovery fees for unlimited everything, never a dropped call and a wallet system that absolutely prevents all chance of wild overage chages that can run between $200 to $2000 dollars with accidental and fraudlent use. The same overages that Rogers was ignoring reports of today on Twitter. And you might have heard of that small company, they are the ones you are trying to strangle out by buying and horading more unused spectrum in the upcoming spectrum auction.

    But Kevin, i’m glad you “knew the conversation wouldnt always be positive”, isnt it the unwritten rule of Rogers employees to tell a white lie and never say where you actually work while at a party unless you want to get an uncomfortable earful from someone?

  10. That’s the right attitude Keith, but you need the support of the corporation to make the company better, not just lip service.

    1. Canadians pay far too much for both mobile phones and internet access.

    2. 300 Gig allowances are the norm in the US and Europe, some are even unlimited. Customers know Rogers’ caps are low because they’re trying to keep us away from services like Netflix and AppleTV. The story about keeping the service level great for everyone is a tired and old one. We don’t believe you anymore. The paltry cap increases we’ve seen are just not keeping pace.

    3. Respond to your customers by being competitive, and not simply use the CRTC to force Canadians to stay with you.

    If you had the support from the corporation to give customers what they want, at a competitive price, then your job would be far easier.

    When Teksavvy announced that they were raising their prices earlier this year, their customers didn’t like it, but the majority (through social media) went on to thank them for such great service and being an alternative to Rogers or Bell.

    The corporation needs to take a lesson from that.

  11. Michael Phelan says: March 16th, 2012 a 8:27pm

    How about instead of Rogers paying for a twit like you to post useless things like this, they instead *LOWER THEIR PRICES TO NON ASTRONOMICAL LEVELS*? Just a question.

  12. When we moved here from the US we were shocked to find that we only had one option for cable unless we wanted a satellite on our house. The price, customer service and on demand service really leaves a lot to be desired. I can’t wait until there is more competition in the market. Comcast, I miss u. BAD

  13. The process of customer service is so bad that I am left posting publically in the hopes that someone can figure out what is going on with our account.

    We paid a bill using a Roger’s machine in November which credited to what Roger’s claims is “not their account” – though the account number is connected to the database in some way.. After months of misdirection “someone” has taken the issue to Finance. But no one has told billing. We are continually harrased to pay the bill though we have explained that it is being handled higher up. The calls are coming every few days and the customer service reps refuse to tranfer to a higher authority insisting that the whole story be explained again. Today they refused to speak to the account holder as he gave his name as Cliff and they said it was not the name on file. The name on file is likely Clifford!

    We have communicated in as many ways possible …the process is broken – more ways to try to get the message through is not the answer.

  14. Received my new iPad today with a Rogers LTE sim card and unlike the iPad 2 I couldn’t see any obvious way to activate an account. So I called the only Rogers number included with the sim card, went through the options to get help. After explaining my problem gave my details to confirm my identity I was told he couldn’t help and needed to patch me to someone else. After another wait got a lady in the iPad dept, again explained my dilemma, gave my details again and again told I would need to be passed to another dept. Once again gave the details and explanation only this time to be told the iPad 3 was new and they are not yet trained in how to set it up.

    Would it not make sense to have figured this out before the launch, maybe even included a small card with the sim card directing customers to a website with instructing on how to get started.

    ROGERS, you need to do so serious interal reviews. Your customer service is broken and eventually will bite you in the ass.

    • RogersMelanie says: March 17th, 2012 a 1:52am

      Hey Neil,

      Where did you net out on this? Did you get things sorted out and activated?


  15. Interesting factoid…
    My monthly Rogers bill in 2001: $104
    My monthly Rogers bill in 2011: $155

    That’s an increase of more than 50% in ten years. What did I get for the extra $500 a year? HD channels that are admittedly pretty cool; digital channels that are mandated by the government, “On Demand” channels that I currently use once every 2-3 months, a whack of television channels I have never ever watched, the steady erosion of my “unlimited” Internet access, bandwidth filtering of video games that were so horrendous that the CRTC had to step in… And finally, an increase in waiting for customer service reps to top everything off.

    That’s what I got for an extra $500 a year since 2001 – basically High Definition television. (Extra bonus factoid, if my Rogers bill increased in step with Canada’s inflation rate, my bill should be $135 today, not $155.)

  16. Keith, honestly, you handled the situation professionally and NONE of this is your fault. You can now take the feedback and turn it into something that can help improve Rogers. Otherwise, you guys wouldn’t have become aware of this many complaints. But keep your head up because even though it showed that majority of us aren’t happy, what matters is that you guys are even more aware of this now.

  17. Beyond customer service problems, how about addressing the constant increase in rates? There is been no apparent improvements in service and the network is overloaded in some areas as to unusable.

    Case in point: Portable internet discontinued. Average monthly rate: $35 for virtually unlimited bandwidth. Replacment: Rocket Hub. Average monthly rate: $95 for 15GB. Wonder why people are upset at Rogers.

  18. Having been a beta tester and user of Rogers One Number and seen all the flack, I have to wonder if anyone besides myself knows what Rogers One Number is as a service. You can learn more at my post “Rogers One Number: Marketing FAIL for a Widely Acclaimed Service” where I talk about what it is and some of the benefits of this “free” additional service for Rogers smartphone users. (Especially if you travel outside Canada with your PC and want to call back to a Canadian phone number).

    I use it along with my Skype activity; it’s a very convenient complement to my BlackBerry activity. I leave it running on my MacBook; when a call comes in I can answer on either my MacBook or my BlackBerry – whichever is more convenient.

    As stated in the post, this is a failure of Rogers marketing to build brand awareness and education about this service; only then should they be using promoted Twitter. And the outcome says a lot about the overall brand reputation of Rogers, not Rogers One Number.

    I have the occasion to meet Rogers’ social marketing team once a month at an event Rogers sponsor. These are people who monitor for issues and have the ability to make things happen. (In a recent case not only did my Internet service improve as a result of their help but when I went to pick up a new Internet modem/router the service rep at the store pointed out I could get the new Rogers Netbox service – combining cable TV and Internet – and save 10% per month.)

    At this point it’s up to Rogers senior management to drive the changes in their billing system (which obviously has some issues although it has always worked for me) and empowerment of the their customer service team through new policies and more training.

    In the meantime, if you have an issue and are on Twitter, use @RogersHelp to trigger some action. The social networking team’s primary responsibility is to track these issues and work with the appropriate Rogers personnel to have them addressed. And it’s worked for me a few times.

    • So, Jim, as a Rogers employee, your position is that Rogers’ only failure is that they don’t properly EDUCATE the customers?

      This only proves that Rogers will never change because they like themselves just the way they are – despite what a few thousand customers say.

      (Disclaimer: I am not a Rogers employee, just an uneducated customer.)

      • Let me make it clear I am NOT a Rogers employee and never have been.

        I have been increasingly a Rogers customer over the past 25 years. Simply because of the offers they make and the feature set of the services they provide; in fact, my experience with Bell is one of how a company worked very hard to lose me as a customer over time due to billing, service plans and customer service issues (recall when they tried to outsource customer service to India? – a cultural conflict disaster they eventally killed)

        In another comment I have outlined how Rogers has either reduced costs or increased performance of services I use. Lower cost with better services on Home Phone was the final straw. And due
        to the nature of my blogging work I tend to follow these issues more than the average customer.

        Over the past two years (ever since Bell sorted out its ownership issues) new management at Bell has led to many improved services – their HSPA+/LTE wirless network and new FibeTV has finally made the market for wireless and TV services more competitive. And since FibeTV became
        available in our neighbourhood a couple of months ago we have beens swamped with mailings and advertising for this. But I don’t see a plan that cuts my costs. I prefer to follow Facebook and Twitter on my PC or wireless devices; they are more personal devices.

        I was asked to be a beta tester for Rogers One Number by the developer of the software. behind Rogers One Number as they initially had some issues that needed to be confirmed or reviewed. I later found that Rogers went out and asked several of their customers to also trial Rogers One Number before it
        launched.(You do need to be able to call someone else, PC to PC, on this service to fully test out its features such as video calling.)

        I have been involved with the evolution of IP-based communications since 1995 and have blogged about Skype, smartphones and IP-based communications for six years. I have attended many
        international conferences on these issues and met many of the key players who have been involved in launching new communication services based on Internet technology.

        Actually in my role I am often asked to beta test products and services, such as Skype Click-to-Call and the Skype connect Me hardware. Some have succeeded; some have failed. Biggest failure is Google Voice which simply does not support Canadians.

        P.S. – one other secret to keeping my Rogers costs down – I use Skype for long distance calling from either my PC or iPhone. I also make heavy use of WiFi – the stealth carrier, especially when roaming in Europe or the U.S. In some ways recent service features of Rogers Home Phone and Rogers One Number are taking advantage of some of the technology behind Skype and keeping costs down. For instance, a Rogers Home Phone customer can make free calls to any other Home Phone or Rogers Wireless customer in Canada.

        I also am tired of those who simply complain that Rogers only raises prices without saying what has changed in their behaviour to increase costs. Through several years of running customer
        support operations one learns there are two sides to every story.

        From the feedback it is certainly apparent that Rogers does need to work on their customer interfacing operations, such as billing and customer support, and to get a customer quickly to someone who can actually address their issues without going through several agents or making several calls.

        Frankly the challenge is for Rogers C-level executives to place a priority on acting on customer feedback to make changes and make that priority change known. A classic case is what happened at Dell a few years ago when they suffered a massive fail through not handling social networking feedback appropriately. Michael Dell finally placed high priority on addressing issues that arise through social media; they fixed their customer facing operations; this has significantly helped turn the company around.).

        I look at what I get for a service before acquiring it. There are several Rogers plans, such as the new iPad Flex Plan that don’t appeal to me. If it were a true Flex Plan there would be a couple of more break points between 500MB per month and 5GB per month. (An even better Flex Plan would be one that combines data use across wireless phones and tablets. That happens by default with Playbook that simply uses one’s BlackBerry data plan by default; Rogers does not charge for tethering whereas some U.S. carriers do.)

        One reason I get to meet Rogers employees is because I attend industry events where they are one of several sponsors and where they make a personal appearance. I never see Bell and Telus
        personnel at similar types of events. Even then you will find a couple of posts I have written about Telus and their unique and innovative Skype relationship.

        Bottom line: I quite capable of making my own decisions based on my needs and user experiences, not some “paid’ relationship.

      • RON was in public beta for a while so the public was able to take part.

  19. While I do have sympathy for the Rogers social media team having to deal with the huge backlash which occurred on Twitter today I’m sure that it doesn’t come as a huge shock. The company as a whole comes off as arrogant and anti-customer, I don’t expect that to change. I’ve been pretty vocal over the past couple of years on Twitter and when I tried to speak directly with the CEO about my concerns not only would he not make the time but the representative from the “Office of the President” told me that they were sick of my tweets and I needed to stop.

    Being “anti-customer” has basically been weaved into the fabric of what Rogers is as a company, From the shady $50 price increase on the iPhone which was turned into a mail in rebate (with the hope that many customers wouldn’t claim it) to the expensive plans with some of the longest contract terms Rogers has made it clear the only thing that matters is there bottom line.

    If you really want to make some changes then here’s a short list of things I’d like to see:

    1. No more 6GB $30 three year contract data promotion. It should be $30 for 6GB of data no contract all the time. No cancellation fee.

    2. No price increase on phones with a mail-in rebate offer. It’s nothing more then a greasy move.

    3. 2 Year contract lengths like most of the world.

    4. Discounted voice and data plans for people not paying off hardware on a contract.

    5. For people in Ontario, more completive home Internet plans. I pay $84 for 100Mbps down, 5Mbps down and 500GB cap with Shaw. My brother pays $99 for 75Mbps down, 2Mbps up and a 250GB cap. There should also be a plan that unlimited (no cap), Shaw offers this for around $114.00.

    6. Stop telemarketing you customers, it’s un-classy as a company and unfair to your customers. If I buy cellphone service from you I don’t want you using that information to market other products to me in the middle of a meeting or a family dinner. I will call you if I want something.

    7. Better technical support staff with current information regarding plans and promotions, the customer shouldn’t know more then them. Also, wait times need to be improved and ANY agent should be able to sort out your problem. I hate talking to eighteen different people for a simple billing issue.

    8. Fix your networks cellular and home Internet. Most of the time a peak hours they can’t handle the capacity of people as a customer that not my issue. I had a six month stretch where my 3G didn’t work at all and Rogers staff blamed my cellphone. In the end after thousand of people complained the issue just disappeared one day after “network upgrades” I didn’t get a dime back for six months of basically no 3G service. Also, 3G go down a lot and voice calls drop all the time (downtown Vancouver and Toronto). As for home Intenet, it’s slow most of the time and we all know about the throttling that was going on. I want a better product.

    9. Time for your CEO to setup to the plate. He should have addressed that mess on Twitter yesterday and if a customer has a valid concern he should respond in some manner. Most of the time he missing in action.

    10. Hardware upgrade policy is out of touch. When the iPhone 4S came out I calculated it would cost me more to upgrade my launch day iPhone 4 then it would to buy a brand new unlocked iPhone 4S from Apple. After a year of paying off the cost of the phone that math makes no sense and it was nothing more then a cash grab so now I’m just running my contract out because that change just left me bitter.

  20. My issue with Rogers is this: About a year ago I had a rep call me on my mobile phone while I was at work. He offered to go over my plan with me and configure it to somethign that worked better for my usage. Curious about my options, we went over my plan. He offered a plan that gave me unlimited talk time, texting, and more data than I would ever be able to use. Although it costed more than my current monthly plan, this was a much better offer considering my overage charges every month and I changed my plan according to his suggestions. When I got my next bill it was through the roof! My plan had be changed but it wasn’t even close to the services I had talked to with the rep. I called CS to find out what was going on. I was told that the options I though were being added to my plan as per my conversation with the rep didn’t even exist and the rep must have been mistaken when he offered them to me. I still however had to pay the bill.I did and then I again discussed my plan with the CSR and made some adjustments, I asked that a copy of my new plan be sent to me in the mail so I would have it in writting…. It never came. About a month later I went on Maternity leave, and when my phone bill arrived and again was over $1500.00!! I found myself on the phone for hours yet again, talking to CSR’s trying to find out what the heck happened!!! The most I got was that there were no notes on my file as to why my plan was changed and that they couldn’t verify why the changes had been made or if there were any mistakes. I now have a newborn, am on EI for my maternity leave and have been stuck with a huge bill I KNOW is a mistake. I tried several times to contact Rogers and have it fixed and come to some sort of agreement. Rogers answer: Pay it or we are sending you to collections. AND THAT THEY DID. So now I have the headache of dealing with the dispute. I have witnesses to my phone calls with the CSR’s (my husband and co-workers) and records of when the calls happened. But Rogers can find nothing. I don’t like to bash people or even companies, having worked in retail most of my life myself. But when you would rather let something escalate to this point rather than admit it was possible you’ve made a mistake says a lot about how you feel about and treat your clients. I think it’s sad and will never use Rogers again and I make it a point to convert everyone I can with my story.