Ellen Roseman
February 3 2013 by Ellen Roseman

I don’t have a response yet from George Cope to my Saturday column, saying that Bell needs to make an Olympian effort to fix its customer service.

Do I expect Cope to respond? To quote Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call me maybe.”

My readers did respond all weekend, telling me about hurdles they had to jump to get through to Bell. Many never did get through, which is why they’re writing to me.
 
Some employees thought I was out of line. “What is your problem?” said one. “All your articles do is encourage people to call in with a belligerent acrimonious entitled attitude. I take calls every day from people who are mad as hell at Rogers customer service and desperately want to switch. Where is your article on that?”
 
Believe me, I know Rogers has service issues as well. I’ve written about them here and here, among other places.

But Rogers does have an ombudsman, an innovation that Bell has resisted. Rogers also has a policy of keeping customer service calls in Canada and not sending them overseas, as Bell does.

The problems pinpointed in Michael and Jessie Houseley’s Bell story — a sales culture gone wild, lack of follow-up service and speed in sending accounts to collection — are common to many large companies.

Publicly traded corporations are rewarded for acquiring customers, not for keeping them. They overcharge long-time loyal clients and save their best deals for newcomers and those who threaten to leave.

So, if you’re unhappy with Bell and Rogers, buy their stock. The worse they treat customers, the better their shares often perform. BCE investors enjoyed an 18 per cent return in the past 12 months. Rogers investors had an 11 per cent return in the same period.

I’m posting a few comments from readers below. I’m also reminding you of my course, Investing For Beginners, which starts this fall at the University of Toronto’s school of continuing studies.

If you invest your Thursday evenings for nine weeks, you’ll improve your skills at understanding the stock markets and handling your own money.
bce chief executive george cope

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