As I fell asleep last night, I realized the one thing that most irritated me about my recent experience with Bell Mobility: a complete lack of consistency in communication. Over the course of a day, several of Bell Mobility’s staff delivered a wide variety of conflicting information on a single subject: how long it takes to provision a phone.
When I initially called to provision the pre-paid service on my phone, I spoke with Lucy. She was prompt and courteous, and informed me that my phone would be activated within 24 hours, but that I first had to call 1-888-542-3784 to get my phone programmed.
I dutifully called that number, but there was no answer. I called several times over several hours, but never was the phone picked up.
So I called back to Bell’s customer service. I spoke to a man this time, whose name I didn’t write down. He complained that my phone wasn’t activated, and he also complained that Lucy hadn’t programmed my phone while she had me on the line. “She should have programmed it,” he said. “Those CSRs are so lazy.” He helped me program my phone during that call (it took about 10 seconds). He also said I shouldn’t have to wait more than a couple of hours to have my phone activated.
The next morning – 24 hours after I’d initially spoken to Lucy – my phone still wasn’t activated, so I called Bell.
I spoke to another man who told me it would take at least another 24 hours to have the phone activated. When I asked, now somewhat irritated, to speak to a manager, he rudely retorted, “Oh god, why do you have to be that way? It’s obvious you don’t want any help.”
When the manager came on the line he told me that it takes a minimum of 24 hours to have a phone activated, but that it’s usually closer to 48.
I informed this manager that I had now received three different estimations for the time it would take to activate my phone:
- within 24 hours
- not more than 2 hours
- 24 to 48 hours
I told him that I was getting confused. I asked him why I was receiving so many different messages, and how long does it really take to activate a phone. On top of that, I told him that Lucy had initially given me bad information about having my phone programmed, and that there was some confusion on the workforce regarding whose responsibility it was to program phones.
He assured me it would take close to 48 hours; he ignored the matter of programming.
In the end it took about 30 hours before my phone was activated.
Of course, I’m completely dissatisfied with this customer service experience. But I’m not so much dissatisfied by how long it took to get my phone activated (even though I considered 30 hours an astonishingly long period of time, considering the whole process was hung up on the processing of a credit card), as I am by the fact that Bell staff dished me up a hefty plate of conflicting information. I’m more irritated that they confused and misled me than anything else.
It’s seems to me that Bell Mobility should have in place standard information and communications procedures regarding common services. For example, on the matter of activating a mobile phone on the prepaid service, there should be one standard period of time customers are told it will take. On the matter of programming, there should be one standard procedure for this that all staff follow.
These standard approaches to information and communication would form a commitment with the customer, setting an expectation that is consistent and dependable. That would breed confidence in the customer’s mind that the company is reliable and trustworthy.
Then, if that standard is ever breached, it would provide both the customer and staff with a mechanism for escalating their reciprocal interests in the matter.
From my experience with Bell over the past few days, I would say they have no standard communications or operations procedures whatsoever. It seemed that each time I spoke with a company representative they were winging it and making up the information for me on the fly. Now, more than ever before, I have doubts that the company can be depended on at all for anything I might hear from them.