A little over a month ago I wrote an article entitled “An Example of Horrible Customer Service by Telus” describing my recent experiences with Telus and my cell phone. Today I’m writing the follow-up of what actually ended up happening.
Many of you may not know this but a long time ago there was a small company called Clearnet that had excellent customer service and I was proud to be one of their customers. I referred a lot of people to them. It didn’t take long for them to grow and get acquired by Telus, another up and coming company at the time. They too had great customer service back then. However today things have changed a lot. Telus has grown into another large telecommunication company and changed its ways. It’s now acting more or less like all the other large major telecommunications company which is unfortunate. I’m only mentionning this because I want you to know that I didn’t always think this way about Telus.
Getting back to my adventure, and without re-iterating it (you can find it here), I phoned them again to get another reimbursement on my second data payment which was coming due. I initially thought it was suppose to be around $300 but it ended up being $430. The good news is that Telus did reimburse that amount because of the precedence from my previous reimbursement and the fact that I completely turned off my internet (data) access. That’s the good news.
Sadly the story doesn’t quite end there. They did admit that they can’t cancel my data plan (even at a penalty) because I bought the phone at a discount (with the data plan). Ok, I can understand this but I wouldn’t have bought this phone or the data plan had I known ahead about the issues I would have faced. So I really lose out here to the tune of about $250 because I can’t cancel a plan I can’t use!
The worse part is that Telus customer service couldn’t help me terminate the data plan no matter what. The problem is that every time I shut off the phone and restart it, the data plan re-activates itself automatically and the phone tries to reconnect! So if I don’t pay attention just one time, I’ll get hit with all kinds of bandwidth charges (approx $12-25/day based on the previous charges). Telus customer service said they couldn’t prevent this, I just have to be vigilant with my phone. What!?! You will continue to charge me for a plan I can’t use and on top of that you can’t disable it from my phone so that it doesn’t accidentally come back on and charge me. I’m not impressed!
This is nowhere near a win-win situation. This is a clear lose-lose. Sure Telus might make some money now ($250 for the data plan over a year). But once my plan is over I will never use their service again. Not only that but I will never refer them. This article and my prior one have already reached a large number of people who will never use them either because of this situation. On top of that as my company LandlordMax grows and the need to purchase more cell phones increases do you think I will use Telus? Not likely. Yes they made $250 today but they lost a lot of money over the total lifetime of their customer (me). Had they correctly resolved this issue they could have made a lot more money. Not only that but imagine the value of my publishing a very positive experience with them on this blog…
Let me push it one notch further and give you an example of the value of customer service. Recently we had a customer that purchased LandlordMax but didn’t receive their license information by email. What happened is that it was sent to a Hotmail email address and was probably incorrectly sent to the junk folder where it was easily missed. On top of that this customer thought they purchased the shipped version rather than the download only so they were getting annoyed when nothing was coming in the mail. Three weeks after their initial purchase they contacted us asking what’s happening as they’ve never heard anything from us. We immediately replied explaining the situation. Our reply doesn’t make it through, same issue.
We do post the following warning on our support page (as illustrated below):
“Important Notice: Some email providers may wrongly filter emails from LandlordMax as spam/junk email and automatically move them to your spam/junk/bulk folder. If you do not receive a response within 1-2 business days, please look into these folders as this is probably what happened. This is currently especially true for email accounts with Comcast, Yahoo, GMail, and Hotmail.”
But not everyone pays attention to this (I can’t blame anyone I don’t always either). So who’s at fault here? The customer, Hotmail, us? Who really knows, it’s not important, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the customer didn’t get their response from us. PERIOD! So two days later we get an irate email (very understandably). It now appears that we’re ignoring their support emails as well. We reply again. Same issue.
At this point I also personally contact him from another domain, from FollowSteph.com rather than just LandlordMax.com. The email finally makes it through to them. We’ve now established communication. I personally explained what happened send them bookmarks to our prior responses so that they can themself see that we did respond and how.
Through our further communications I also find out that they meant to select the shipped CD rather than just the downloadable version. At this point I could have simply instructed them to send us the regular $15 shipping and manufacturing charge so that we could ship them the CD. I decided otherwise, instead I told them because of all the difficulties we’ve had communicating the least we could do is send them the CD free of charge (whether or not it’s our fault). A simple gesture of positive goodwill but it’s very positively received:
“Thanks so much. I’ll definitely utilize it and refer you business.”
This is how you turn a customer who has had a negative experience into one that really appreciates your company and the effort you go through to help them. Understand your customer and think past today, think about how valuable they are for the total life of your business and beyond.
Telus customer service missed this simple step with me. They instead decided to get the most they could from me today and forget about my value to them tomorrow. This is the not the company I used to know from before. And unfortunately I believe this type of behavior will eventually catch up with them.
And that’s the end of my story. I eventually got reimbursed for all the data payments I didn’t use. I cannot cancel the data plan on my cell phone, even at a penalty (I asked). I also cannot turn off the data plan so that it doesn’t accidentally turns itself back on. I might no longer be extremely upset, but I’m not happy either. I doubt I’ll ever get a cell phone from Telus again, nor will I refer anyone. But at least it’s over.