William Michael (Mike) Zintel
August 21, 2014
Joe Natale, CEO, TELUS Corporation
555 Robson Street, 8th Floor
Vancouver, British Colombia
Cc: Someone Who Can Fix Things There
Cc: The Retail Staff in New Minas (thanks for trying)
I wish I wasn’t writing you now.
Our relationship clearly has to change. I have to leave the country and go back to work, and will not be able to continue to call you 2-3 times per week and then write blog posts hoping to get us back together again. Things don’t seem to be working out for us all that well. But we have a past, and I thought we were solid. Change is hard. At least for me.
I’m sending this as a paper letter, but if it proves in any way helpful, you can forward an online copy as a link:
If you lose that URL, the search phrase Does Telus give a shit? is returning one of a series of blog posts that now include this letter, at least right now.
Over the last 5 weeks I’ve learned how to function without your wireless internet. But it would be more efficient for me to use the towers that you installed in a low density, reasonably remote area of Nova Scotia, as I have grown accustomed to over the last few years. But we’ve grown apart, it seems. And attractive young WiFi catches my eye more often. Perhaps we’d both be happier apart, as your organization seems hell-bent on ensuring.
I tell myself that I’m writing on behalf of folks who share my frustration, but haven’t time to write. I’m doing it for the people.
The truth is that trying to do business with your organization over the last five weeks has made me stark raving mad. And sometimes a bit angry.
I’m anything but the character one might expect to be writing a screed. I’m not the deadbeat your systems have labeled me. I’m familiar with the complexity of corporate systems, the reality of online fraud and abuse, and I’m aware that my business patterns are a bit of an outlier. I started my career building cellular data switching gear for Mobile Data International (in B.C.). I’ve been in software for 30 years, and for the last 8 I’ve been building and running some of the largest consumer paid and free internet services in the world. I’m usually on the screed reading side of customers I’ve made stark raving mad.
A few years ago, after getting the Deluxe Runaround from one of your (horrible) competitors for short term wireless internet service, your folks at the New Minas Nova Scotia retail store politely put in some time and effort to make this happen for me. For several years I’ve been not only been using your service, but speaking highly of your company and your service.
I want to reinforce that the retail folks consistently put a professional face on Telus and were as helpful as possible. You’ve got good folks there. Indeed all of the employees of Telus I interacted with were professional.
And yet useless. At the same time.
Unless of course I’m just not getting it and you want me so frustrated I just go away forever. In which case it’s working.
The details of the $73.14 affair follow, should you be interested. I know you’re likely busy, so here’s the summary: You didn’t use tell me I owned you $73.14, even though you had multiple good contact methods (and my credit card). You won’t let me pay you now. You won’t give me wireless internet. You’re conflicted about how punitive you should be with my credit rating.
Personally I don’t care for complainers without constructive suggestions. Here’s a few:
- Consider a program specifically for short term contracts.
- Make a query available to billing that captures history across contracts. In my case, my CLV is actually pretty good, and payment history perfect, but billing saw only a single 5 week cancelled contract and assumed a bit too quickly I was a deadbeat. This kind of stuff is pretty easy with big data solutions these days. Put all of your logs and serialized DBs into Hadoop and press on.
- Use all of the contact information provided when trying to collect payment. The previous two suggestions are, perhaps, OK, but your process on this one is actually incomprehensibly horrible. You sent me email to confirm (what I thought was) my final payment. But you never emailed to inform me that I owned you more. Nor did you call. You did mail a letter to the wrong address, which was returned (apparently).
Then you dropped me into the deadbeat bucket.
This is really the root problem here.
As it turns out, I would have just paid you. Probably by authorizing a charge on the credit card you have on file and used to make what I thought was my last payment.
- This is perhaps a bit selfish, but maybe you could find my payment, credit my account, and make a note in it that I’m not a deadbeat.
I want to point out that your web site, your systems, the people I talk to all seem customer oriented. There are lots of ways to contact you. Folks seem to try. And yet I am hard pressed to understand what I could have done differently, or how I could have been more motivated to remain a customer. It’s possible that you just don’t want me as a customer and that everything is going according to plan, in which case I apologize for wasting more of your time.
In reverse order: