Posts Tagged ‘Office of the Ombudsman’

Catching up with Rogers Ombudsman

Kim_Walker_011Rogers Office of the Ombudsman recently released its Annual Report. We sat down with Rogers Ombudsman, Kim Walker, to get her thoughts on what her job is all about and how she and her team helps customers.

Tell me a bit about yourself, what’s your background and how did you end up as Rogers Ombudsman?

After 18 years with Rogers (mostly in Customer Care) I learned a thing or two about what customers and employees face from day to day. I was always attracted to roles where I could use my connection to customers to improve our business. Beyond my career in the call centre, I worked in IT on billing systems and in Customer Experience working on policies that directly impact customers. It became very clear to me that I belonged in a role like an Ombudsman where I can use my deep knowledge of the business to recommend changes that would improve the customers’ experience with Rogers. Being Rogers Ombudsman is by far my favourite role yet!

What’s your process for handling customer complaints when they get to your office?

Very simply, I respond to all correspondence personally and help people find their way through the four-step process for complaints. If they are not satisfied as they go through the process, our office opens a case in the fourth step.

We then interview the customer to get their perspective on the dispute. From there, we investigate internally which typically involves listening to calls, interviewing experts and reviewing the relevant account histories. The end result is a written report to the customer with a recommendation designed to resolve their complaint. We have seen great success with this process since 93 per cent of all customers last year accepted our recommendation.

Are there any particular findings in this year’s report that stand out? Why?

The most obvious fact about this year’s report is the increase in overall complaints to our Office. We see this as a reflection of the efforts we’ve made to ensure customers’ voices are heard– more and more of our customers know the Ombudsman Office is available to help with any unresolved issue. I am very confident in the improvements that have been made and the ongoing efforts to listen to our customers and I think we will see this number come down by this time next year.

What are some of the most common customer issues you encounter?

Sometimes our plans and promotions aren’t as simple or clear as they should be. The most common customer complaints are about billing or service changes. We know this is an area we need to improve on.

What’s the role of your office in helping Rogers to identify and fix the most common complaints?

Not only do I get to hear customer feedback directly, but I also get to participate in boardroom discussions about the issues I hear and help establish action plans to make sure we make the changes needed to address the problem areas. This is probably the most satisfying part of my job since I get to tell customers that in many cases, they are directly influencing changes within Rogers.

Do you have any advice for customers who have a problem and feel they’re not being heard?

So glad you asked! Yes, I would tell them the industry is changing rapidly. What once seemed like an impossible feat is no more. Don’t give up and assume that you don’t have a voice because there are people waiting to hear you. I’ve included some practical steps to help you navigate Rogers 4-step complaint escalation process in my Annual Report.

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From Customer Care to Rogers Office of the Ombudsman: How we resolve customer issues

OmbudsmanAt Rogers, we take our commitment to listening to you, our customers, seriously. Not only do we have a process in place for you to voice your concerns and resolve your issues quickly, we’re also the only telecommunications provider in North America to have an Ombudsman to provide an independent review of your unresolved concerns.

In 2012, 91 per cent of customers were satisfied with the Ombudsman’s resolution, according to the recently released Annual Report. As well, the majority of customer cases received by the Office of the Ombudsman were resolved within 30 days.

However, 74 per cent of cases submitted to the Ombudsman may have been resolved sooner by following the Rogers Four-Step Complaint Resolution Process:

The Office of the Ombudsman is the last step in our Four-Step Complaint Resolution Process, and most customer concerns get resolved quickly and efficiently by our Customer Care agents. But in the rare event that your concern can’t be resolved in the first three steps of our standard escalation process, the Office of the Ombudsman is there for you.

Click here to read more of the Office of the Ombudsman’s 2012 Annual Report.

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Listening to you: a conversation with Rogers ombudsman

Don MoffattIn July 2009, Rogers established the Office of the Ombudsman.  Our ombudsman, Don Moffatt, investigates and attempts to resolve customer complaints and problems. While the vast majority of customer service inquiries are resolved by our front line employees , the Office of the Ombudsman is in place to review customer inquiries when a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached with Customer Care or the Office of the President, Rogers highest level of support for customer escalations. Recently, I sat down with Don to get a better understanding of what Rogers is doing to improve the customer experience.  Here are the highlights from our conversation.

What’s the story behind the Ombudsman’s office?

The Ombudsman’s Office was created in July 2009 as an impartial avenue of appeal and review for Rogers customers.  My office is unaffiliated with the customer service organization at Rogers. I review all sides of an issue and make sure customers are treated fairly. To me, fair means fair for the customer and fair for Rogers.

What is a typical day like for you?

Each day, I personally review all of the escalations that come through the Office of the Ombudsman.

I work with the Office of the President to determine their role in a customer inquiry.  If the Office of the President has already been engaged, we ensure the customer inquiry is a priority for them and we establish a commitment that the Office of the President will get back to them. If the issue has not previously been escalated to the Office of the President, we advise the customer that we’ve engaged them to help resolve the issue.

If the customer is still not satisfied with the resolution after engaging with the Office of the President, I advise them to come to me so we can further investigate.

And what would you do at that point?

We seek the customer’s consent to access their records.

Then I ask the customer for their side of the issue. Next, I ask Rogers for their side of the issue. Then, I sit down and review the material and provide a recommendation in writing or over the phone. I would say that in 95% of the cases, we’re able to get the issue resolved to everybody’s satisfaction.

Do you look at customer inquiries as customer feedback? What’s next?

Yes. Absolutely. In the Ombudsman’s Office, I really have two mandates. The first is to provide an independent review of issues on behalf of customers. Secondly – and as importantly in my view -  is identifying the root  cause of issues. Often the issue relates to policies or processes that aren’t customer or employee friendly. Once we identify the cause, we work with the various departments within Rogers to recommend and implement policy and process changes. In 2010, there were actually 17 policies and procedures that were changed at Rogers as a result of cases that had come into the Office of the Ombudsman. I’ll give you an example. A customer was having trouble sending text messages to China in Chinese characters. They were able to receive Chinese character messages from China and they were able to send and receive Chinese text messages within Canada but when they originated a text message to China, in Chinese characters, it wasn’t going through. So we spent a lot of time investigating the root cause of the issue and traced the source to a new software upgrade involving one our partners. This was a case that took a lot of time, but we were able to resolve it – not only for him, but for many others that were experiencing a similar issue.

What are some of the key changes that Rogers has made to make it easier for customers to do business with us?

We’ve been making important changes to customer experience.  For example, we found that there were some system-related errors with order confirmation. The system that was supposed to send an email confirmation to customers confirming exactly what they had just purchased and agreed to was not functioning properly. We found the issues, investigated them with the business and got those resolved.

We’ve also implemented things like a data alert tool that alerts customers when they’ve reached 80 and 100 percent of their data use, 1 and 2 year contract terms and a variety of self-serve tools available through MyRogers.

Why the Ombudsman’s Office? What do you enjoy most about your job?

The most satisfying thing about being the Ombudsman is helping people resolve issues. In the majority of the cases I get involved in, there is an opportunity to help customers and I enjoy that portion of the job immensely.

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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