January 20, 2008

Great Customer Service from Rogers

Readers know that I rarely mention company names because they aren't relevant. Today's an exception.

When travelling, Internet access can be intermittent or expensive. When in Canada, I take mobile broadband with me. I use WiMAX --- like long range WiFi --- in the form of Rogers Portable Internet, which provides access in selected cities (see my review). You need a special modem and a wall outlet, which isn't too onerous.

While packing for a trip to a venue without Internet access, I found that my modem wasn't working. Normally the five lights on the top flash and show the signal strength. All my lights were a solid green but there was no signal.

I called Rogers tech support. After a few minutes, a technician concluded that the modem was bad. Luckily, I had three days left on my one year warranty. He'd send a replacement but delivery would take 3-5 business days. I needed a replacement that day.

I had an idea. Could I exchange the modem at the Rogers store where I bought it? The support rep thought so. As a courtesy, he looked up the phone number for me and waited while I confirmed that the store had modems in stock. He also wrote up a problem report so that the store would have proof that an exchange was required.

Minutes Later
Minutes later, I went to the store and was told that they did not exchange modems regardless of what tech support thought. I asked if they could make an exception. No luck. I left disappointed. What could I do?

Asking For Help
Once home, I phoned Rogers Customer Service and explained my dilemma. The representative phoned the store and was told that they only made exchanges during the first 30 days. During months 2-12, defects were the manufacturer's problem. She didn't have any authority over them. I was ready to give up hope but she had an idea. She'd give me a $100 credit for the price of a new modem, I'd buy another one and call tech support to activate it. What a terrific solution!

There And Back Again
Why won't pesky customers just stay out? That's probably what the store thought when I returned. I explained that I wanted to buy a new modem and why. They were surprised. They accidentally tacked on $30 for a starter kit which I clearly didn't need. When I noticed, they removed that item.

When I got home, I saw that I'd been tricked. They'd given me a used modem. However, it worked and I didn't want to return to the store again. I just wanted something that worked.

Lessons Learned
Customer service depends on who's helping you. Yes, everyone was polite. However, some reps follow rules strictly --- maybe they think they have no choice? Others are more creative. We can each deal with the same company and have different experiences. Or we can have different experiences with one company at different times. Customer service isn't consistent anywhere.

The hotel was nice and I'd stayed there before. However, they put me on the second floor beside the ice machine in a room overlooking a loading dock. While checking out, the front desk asked how my stay was. Fine, I replied. After all, my mobile broadband worked beautifully.


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