Well, That Was Easy

I know that, as consumers, we are always supposed to try and get the best deal.  That’s one of the lynchpins of a free market.  I have been partially successful at this in the past.  For instance, we low-balled the offer on the house we currently occupy, and they accepted.  However, when I bought our old BMW in Vancouver, I actually walked out of the office when the salesperson would not accept our price, only to walk back in an hour later (with my tail between my legs) to pay his price.  But today, I got something just by asking.

It started when my cell phone, which is from the Pleistocene epoch, was getting no signal.  I called Rogers (Canadians will know that company), and the friendly tech support lady fixed me right up.  I figured, while I was on the phone with them, I would ask about something Bell Aliant (the OTHER Canadian telco giant) is doing in my neighbourhood.  For the last few weeks they have been stringing FibreOp cables on all the hydro poles.  Also, there is a billboard campaign throughout the city, advertising much lower rates than I currently pay Rogers for my broadband and cable TV.

So, the friendly tech support lady transferred me to a friendly “customer retention specialist,” who, on the spot, knocked 20% off my cable, land line, cell, and internet.  90 seconds of my time just saved me ~$40 per month.

Just by asking.

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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 @rogers.com 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.