How to Pay Us in 13 Easy Steps

Rogers bill

I received this in the mail recently. It came from Rogers, one of the major communications services providers here in Canada. I use them for cell, broadband and cable TV (they also do landline, but we use another company for that). This document is an instruction manual for how to interpret the new format that my monthly invoices will soon be sent in. Shown here is the cover page of the 7-page pamphlet, and a sample interior page.
Does anyone have a problem with this? Should a document you send to your customer asking him or her for money need a freakin’ User’s Guide? Let me break down my righteous indignation into sections:
1. It’s made of dead trees. Both this brochure and my (soon to be 11 pages long) monthly bill. They know I have internet access – I have a email address for heaven’s sake. Can’t you bill me electronically?
2. This is a platform for regularly communicating with me. If you made it interactive, you could learn a bunch about how to serve me better, which I would gladly pay for. If this were presented online, there could be feedback questions scattered throughout. E.g., they might ask me why I don’t use their landline service. Perhaps I have a fear that it will slow my internet access, which they could then allay. They could ask me about my level of satisfaction with each of the services I do use. They could get better, which would make me happier and more likely to recommend them to my friends.
3. If you put all this effort into redesigning the presentation of your bill, and then feel the need to send instructions on how to read it, maybe the design isn’t that hot. It’s called the drawing board, guys: get back to it.

One Response to “How to Pay Us in 13 Easy Steps”

  1. netdud Says:

    1. My experience with Rogers tells me that this is the best option. If you were a large company, would YOU rely on Rogers’ mail servers to get your bills to your customers? I would not.

    2. This would require two things:
    – Corner-office understanding of AND concern for issues that have to be dealt with at the service rep level
    – Resources to understand and improve interaction with customers in the first place, and then maintain them

    Where’s the incentive for either? The customer is going to pay the bill no matter what it looks like. In fact, the customer has far more incentive to figure out how the bill works than the person who designed it.

    The redesign, which was obviously overseen by someone who DOESN’T HAVE TO USE IT, is already paid for, and the main metric for its success was–I guarantee this–getting it done on time.

    The customer, on the other hand, has the downside of Getting In Trouble if the bill doesn’t get paid on time.

    And you are recommending unknowns. Good ideas that make sense, but still unknowns. Rogers doesn’t NEED to make improvements to their bill-paying method–the devil they know gives them fat bank and gets them home in time for CSI.

    3. Not going to happen unless there are fiscal repercussions. The problem is one of relative loudness. On the service floor, complaints make a deafening roar, and you can barely hear that pleasant “ka-ching” sound. Corner offices are insulated, so that if the ka-ching is audible, you barely hear complaints at all.

    As a customer, you have two options, neither of which are attractive:
    – change your service provider (may be void in some areas)
    – call their support line EVERY TIME you get a bill, and have them explain it to you.

    If enough people do this, and it costs enough support time, it may cause a loudness drop in the pleasant ka-ching sound upstairs. Of course, YOUR cost, in time and inconvenience, will be much higher than theirs. . .

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