Sympatico Does Not Do It Again…

Posted on September 12, 2008. Filed under: Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On a recent service call I did a speed test on a client’s internet connection. I now do this as a matter of course during any service call regardless of the ISP they are using.

In this case the ISP was Bell Sympatico. The test netted a download speed of 577 KB/s and upon inquiring with the customer they confirmed they were paying for 7 MB/s. Wow. Not bad. They were only getting 8% of their rated maximum throughput!

What was interesting about this visit was several fold:

  • Bell has an Executive Solution Center at 1-866-317-3382. This support center is based in Ottawa and this number was obtained by a client because they complained that the support given at 310-SURF (7873) was so heavily accented they had problems understanding them. This has been an issue for my clients more than once.
  • The call was initiated and the wait was not too long. About 5 minutes compared to a previous call to 310-SURF (7873) that was on hold for at least 15 minutes and was ended out of frustration.
  • The client went to the accounts group to inquire about the differential in service from what he was paying for and what he was getting. This was interesting…

The rep indicated immediately that they would downgrade them to 2 MB/s and not charge the client the “normal” $25.00 downgrade fee. In addition, they would “give” the client the first 2 months free. Wow. Well done. The issue was clearly that regardless of what program they put the client in they still would have a deficit in speed. Regardless of the pricing and service package they would STILL only get 577 KB/s!

You have to wonder about the customer service rational of an organization that:

  • First, allows a customer to upgrade to 7 MB/s when, upon further investigation it was found out by me that Sympatico’s database clearly puts this clients phone number exhchange in the 3 MB/s category. Even by Bell’s own records the value of upgrading to 7 MB/s is technically IMPOSSIBLE. Yet they did and were quite happy in taking a customer’s money as long as they were ignorant to the outcome.
  • Second, suggests that downgrading to 2 MB/s when the client would still have a performance deficit of 72%. Even with the downgrade the client would only get 28% of rated speed.
  • Third, downgrading and waiving a fee for insufficient service is ridiculous. Simply “giving” the client $25.00 and discounting the subscription fee for ISP service is not an adequate response to this issue. In fact, chances are a Bell Sympatico client in this situation has had a speed problem since they became a subscriber.

The representative was professional and understandable verbally. They projected empathy but that was not going to solve the problem. But the said something really intersting.  To paraphrase:

Internet speed tests are NOT RELIABLE and many sites serve off viruses!

Pretty cool. Injecting fear into a client at this point in an attempt to do what? Create doubt in their mind that the speed test is inaccurate and  discourage them from going out and doing tests. A sign of corporate desparation I think.

The two speed test I use are legitmate sites and their accuracy is adequate for the task. I know that an ISP checking speed on a line is going to be more accurate but all the same it is an effective tool to assess Internet connectivity speed.

Compounding the client’s frustation was the almost rabid insistance of the rep to downgrade them. It was clearly obvious if I did not intervene the rep would downgrade the client and this would not solve the problem. At this time I took the phone and insisted on speaking to tech support.

This part of the call had its interesting points. The rep confirmed we would not be going to “another” unamed country but had the option of talking to someone in Moncton, Montreal, or Ottawa. I believe Calgary was mentioned as well. The call was directed to tech support at this time.

There the rep indicated that the speed being obtained by their test as 672 KB/s and the area was rated on the Bell Sympatico database at 3 MB/s. They did a query on users in the same area (which was interesting and kind of cool) and indicated those users were getting up to 3 MB/s. From the call the rep indicated the problem was a line problem which was interesting as my client had just recently put in a new phone drop specifically for this internet connection.

We did some troubleshooting. Bell likes a dedicated line and jack used with no other devices but in my experience this has little impact if you use a 2 into 1 line adapter. We tested that and got no improvement in speed so the next step was to be transfered to the telephone line group in Hamilton.

At this juncture of the call I had to leave and do not yet know the outcome of the call. Since the other Bell users were (apparently) getting 3 MB/s the rep felt it was a line problem in the home which really opens up a can of worms since the client just had a line put in for the expressed purpose of supporting a ADSL modem. You would think that a line check would have been done to test the throughput of the line and find the problem on installation.

I was frustrated. And so was my customer. I wonder why?


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One Response to “Sympatico Does Not Do It Again…”

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I have had very bad expericnes with the liars mostly at Bell too

present profile: Downstream / Upstream (Kbps) 7292/943

As far as the speed.. I am with Acanac but the wheel that makes the most noise gets the grease.. Bell Sympatico now itself had installed a optical laser line last year for me in regard to my many interent posts of rightfull complaints about them and their false breach of my contract.. see for a start … tartPage=1

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