Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rogers World

You probably already realize that most companies are now out-sourcing their technical and customer service. They say it’s to save money, but the real reason for pairing away their knowledgeable and reliable staff is restructuring. In other words, they want to replace them with folks who know little and demand (and cost) less. If something isn’t working, they don’t look into the cause (because they wouldn’t really know where to start). Besides, when you do call for help, it’s likely no longer your own city that you’re calling. You might be phoning another province – or perhaps a call centre in some other country. By removing themselves from their customers, companies can abstain from active responsibility in maintaining their service while counting on your hard-earned bucks to survive. What we’re looking at is a survivalist economy rather than a pro-active and specialized one. Trust me. It spells disaster down the road. In time, the smart and talented people will be waiting in EI lines, while the compliant ones will be cueing up for plum jobs they never dreamed of having.

All of this brings me to Rogers Cable. A few years back, they introduced to those of us with digital service a feature called On Demand. On this channel was a library of movies, TV shows and specials that you could upload at your convenience to watch. Some cost money, but if you had the Movie Network, their films were free. It was a wonderful service for time-shifting and very simple to operate. And it was reliable most of the time.

Recently, they changed their On Demand software to a sexier looking system that can barely load up without multiple attempts. Once you do get on the “home page,” you’re confronted with loud coming attraction ads while trying to figure out where anything is. After you've uploaded your program, you will likely discover that the picture periodically “freezes” and breaks-up. One movie I tried to watch did it every three minutes.

In the past, if you phoned a tech, they would tell you what the problem was and when it might be fixed. Now they act and talk like managers. They tell you to re-start your digital box as if part of a company mantra. If that doesn’t work, they’ll book an appointment with another tech to come between 10am-6pm to look at it. Once they come, they’ll simply trade your Digital box for another one if they can’t locate the problem. In short, they never get at the problem on their end.

For those of you who do have On Demand, and have experienced this frustration, it may not be your problem. (It isn't being caused by interference from bad weather, either, as one friend assumed.) The simple answer may well be that they are now using cheaper, less effective software. I obviously don’t know this for certain. But since nobody you call has any answers besides their ability to book you a service appointment, I only know that nothing gets done to fix it. I’ve since stopped using On Demand.

Although I plan to contact the Movie Network to see if they care that their films are being badly served by On Demand, I do suggest to any of you experiencing this problem to continue to call Rogers and make them accountable for the service you are paying for. In our troubled economy, some companies try to count on your passivity because they know our expectations of better, qualified service are much less than it was in the past.

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