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February 12, 2009

Dear Telus








Photo Caption: all tiers of area management teaching their salespeople

how to best serve customers.


Dear Telus

       I have been a loyal client for nearly a decade. To this effect, I am thoroughly pleased to write to you today, as I am convinced that you value any feedback from such a long-tenured patron.

        Since I have been using my Blackberry Pearl, my trackball has failed twice.  Both times, I was well treated and settled for a swap unit.  

        I would like to point, however, that in both of those experiences I remained without a functional phone for seven to ten business days, never the two to five as the clerk had promised. 

        My luck never fails, and so my trackball failed today again.  I was right across the street from a privately owned Telus store in the downtown, but, alas, I will spare you the details of the unethical bullshit they fed me over there. My real misfortune started when it dawned on me that your corporate store would surely be quicker to solve my irritation. 

     As you may have guessed, I was not taking kindly to being told that my only option was to get, yet another swap unit. This would have been the fourth phone (original phone, first swap, second swap, ..and) I received in one year, and I was also aware that I would be without a working phone for seven to ten days without reimbursement.

    There was a lot of noise in the store, but, how lucky is it to walk into a store and all levels of area management are standing in the middle of the salesfloor? (see photo)

    The salesperson options were limited. It is not your policy to replace trackballs of on-warranty phones, and all the boss's boss's were standing right next to her. But this was no ordinary case.

    Were you really just going to send me a fourth phone and make me wait a week?  I asked to speak to the next level of management (area manager). I point out the fact that I used your Blackberry Phone to take the above photo, I'll get into the mechanics of that later. 

    The salesperson approached her manager but was refused, then placed me on the phone to speak to "Client Care".  Now, to be honest, I would have been pleased to speak to anyone in any capacity to help me.

     All I really wanted was for the salesperson to replace my trackball, which from my online research, takes about twenty seconds to do.  It's far less costly than a refurbished phone, I would have not went a week without service and, you guessed it, you would have a slightly less frustrated patron.

    Let me refer you again to the above photograph. Who you see here are all tiers of area management, teaching their salespeople how to best serve customers. To my misfortune, this was a very loud and enthusiastic conversation, and I couldn't hear a damn thing on the phone.

    I covered my ears struggled to communicate with the person on the other end of the phone, which, allegedly, may have been able to provide an amiable conclusion to all this fracas. 

  After several minutes of struggling to hear the person I finally had to ask the other salespeople to be a quiet. In fact I simply said it loud enough for everyone within standing distance to understand that I was having difficulty listening to the phone. 

   The cluster of management , who had watched the entire drama unfold, were unmoved and continued their loud banter. I had no choice but to hang up on "Client Care", and to that person, I apologize. Your voice was barely audible over the racket in the store. 

    All I wanted was for my trackball to be changed. YouTube it. This uncomplicated proceedure takes less than 20 seconds. I felt terrible for the salesperson, her manager's refusal to speak to me must have been humiliating. I left without a solution and with a humbled salesperson behind the counter. 

    Sometimes my luck does work for me though. It happens that the right-side button on this damn Blackberry is programmed to pull up my camera, and without a trackball I managed to take your picture, with your phone, that you wouldn't fix.

    Remember though that every person in this photo was aware that the solution to my problem was easy, logical, and inexpensive (and possible, right then and there, no questions asked). Every person in this photo also acutely knew that the manager had horribly shamed the salesperson. Moreover, each of the managers in this photo, smiled and posed for my photograph. None of them offered any assistance.  

    If their impression of best serving a customer is "posing for the photographer", what are they doing teaching the salespeople?

    Bravo! Telus, Bravo! 


Update: Mar 25 2009

  I called today to try to send this post to Telus Client Care (Loyalty).  Mike, from Toronto, was not interested in even receiving this documentation. I asked Mike, from Toronto, if there was any record of this post on my account, since they ARE client care, and every tier of management is in the photo.  Not only is it not documented, Mike, from Toronto, systematically refused to let me send it to him, or his manager. Mike, from Toronto, systematically refused to place me in contact with Karen Skerry, area manager corporate stores atlantic canada, seen in the above photo.

  All I get is the same rhetoric: I can pay for a new Blackberry, which Telus graciously offers a voucher for 200$ which hardly covers the cost of the device, or I can wait another 7 to 10 days to get the fourth phone in a year.  Telus is NOT offering compensation for the two previous service interuptions which amount to 14-20 days in the past year, waiting for new devices to arrive, nor are they offering compensation for the 7 to 10 days it would take to receive a new Pearl, should I have aquiested to their policy. 

  I explained to Mike, from Toronto, that it is possible, that in the millions of customers that Telus has, that sometimes some client experiences surpass the ordinary for which policies are written.  On the millions of clients, it is inevitable that SOMETIMES the policies in place just don't cut the mustard.

 Telus.... just send me a trackball.   Is that REALLY too much to ask? 


Final comment!  What is even cooler, is that the minute I got off the phone with Mike, from Toronto... Feedjit recorded a hit... you guessed it... from Toronto!   ...I wonder if it was Mike?

13:06:42 2009/03/25  Toronto, Ontario arrived from on "The World of the Truly Random: Dear Telus" by searching for dear TELUS.

The next update. 

 Today is July 23rd. Its been months, I called Customer Care again and was escalated again to Loyalty.  There is no mention of this information on my account, despite having specifically requested it, numerous times. I know the service rep looked at the website. Moments after our conversation Feedjit recorded a hit from Toronto, right on queue.

Toronto, Ontario arrived on "The World of the Truly Random: Dear Telus".

15:48:22 -- 4 minutes ago

 Today also marks the beginning of my email campaign.  As of today, I am emailing the following letter to the tiers of management seen in the photo. I will continue this each day until I receive a reply.  The email is as follows:


  I have been trying for months to resolve my issue of an intermittently functional trackball.  Since you were yourself present in the store on the day my troubles truly began (see photos in blog post), I am asking you to deal with this matter directly.

  My entire saga, including photos from the store on that day as well as comments left from visitors, can be viewed at   Further to this - there is an update on a phone conversation with the call center in Toronto, which is also available on the blog post. . 
  I have requested that this information be included on my account notes numerous times and each time I am assured it is, but each time I call Loyalty or Customer care, they have no idea what I am talking about.

  Below is the letter I wrote Telus - to which I have received NO response, and despite many requests, still does not appear in the notes on my account. I have requested numerous times to get in touch with you but every call center, department and store refuses to provide me with your contact information.

  I am at my wit's end. All you area managers were standing in front of me that day and no one helped me. Instead, you chose to shame the customer service person who was trying to help me.

  Since you were there in person, I trust that you will have now no problem helping me.


Triggers Some Response. July 23 2009

No doubt the Google queries for Telus, Dear Telus, Skerry Telus, and Karen Skerry are a veritable windfall for a publisher like myself.
Following the above email, I received the prompt attention of two people at Telus - Proving that it IS POSSIBLE TO ESCALATE TO MANAGEMENT BEYOND THE CALL CENTER! (So, folks, don't take that bullshit from the Telus call center that you can't escalate to local management THEY ARE LYING TO YOU). I have included their email addresses - the call centers and stores will systematically refuse to provide these to you.
First Response Received 
RE: Telus Blackberry Complaint
Nabil Tannous <>
Thursday, July 23, 2009 4:21:12 PM

Cc:Karen Skerry <>
Hi Dan,
My name is Nabil Tannous, and I am the Market Manager for TELUS in Nova Scotia.  Karen passed your concern my way, and I would like to help you out.  Is there a number where I could contact you?
Second Response Received 
RE: Telus Blackberry Complaint
Karen Skerry <>
Friday, July 24, 2009 4:54:50 PM
Hello Dan,
  Thank you for forwarding your email directly regarding your concern.  I understand Nabil Tannous has been in direct contact with you regarding the situation as I was in Montreal.
 Nabil has mentioned that he has found a resolution for your situation.
 Please feel free to contact me directly if there with any additional questions or concerns.
Karen Skerry

Clarification on the Resolution offered by Telus

    Some time between emails one and two, and the flood of search engine queries (looks like this went Viral everywhere Telus employs large masses of people), I got a phone call from Nabil.

    Telus did make an offer to appease me, despite that I have maintained that a monetary gesture does not excuse the negligence of the managers in the store that day. 

     Here is the offer (since there was no mention of an offer of non-disclosure)  :

  •  an 8.99$ replacement trackball (seriously they sell these online for 2.99$)
  • a 50$ voucher towards an accessory of my choice (does Telus even sell a 50$ accessory?)
  • a 50$ voucher if  I refer a friend to Telus (part of an existing, ongoing promotion... This didnt make his offer seem very special, at all)
  •  and there was an outstanding 200$ on my account (see original notes) to go towards the purchase of a new, off-contract device.  Now it is important to note that off-contract devices are much, much, much more expensive than that!
  ... In Telus`s hope for a happy ending on this blog (yes Nabil actually said that.....)
   My counteroffer: 
     The monetary gesture is irrelavant. The error in judgement that day lays in the three managers, only. I was assured that all three would apologize to the staff person they so horribly shamed that day. To that person, please feel free to leave a comment on this blog, confirming this has happened. 
     Leading by example is the only way to lead. Right now, you've established to your sales staff, that your behaviour was in correct moral rectitude and sound judgement...which is clearly was not, in any situation.
      I think the next sales training seminar should begin on a somber, humble tone of Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa.... 'we did wrong'..  and explain the the entire staff where the decision making went wrong that day... and then after they have been humbled in front of their staff, start all over again under the theme : how not to let a customer walk away angry....
      The next update will come after the little birdy reports what's happened on the sales floor. Who knows, maybe those front line staff will start contributing to this site.. that`s what the comments are for!


  It's now 2010 and I have paid the ten bucks to have my trackball replaced twice.  I sincerely don't care that the product consistently fails - all I wanted was the ability to purchase a two-dollar trackball for 9.99$ over the counter... no questions asked.

  I have received dozens (if not hundreds) of emails from TELUS staff nation-wide, commending this website, and confirming that policies were changed as a direct result.

  In terms of SEO -#1 Google Search Result for the names mentioned for over 12 weeks, and even nearly a year later, still own the keywords on all three major search engines. Currently, #12 in MSN search, #8 Google and #3 in Yahoo! 

  This one unique URL gets on average 350 hits a month, with hundreds of relevant backlinks on other websites.

Some Legal Notes
   Further to the comment about a happy ending to this blog, this blog is cyber dissisism, online journalism. It is a factual, non-fiction recollection of the events that have happened so far.
    Can a corporation (or another person) ask a blogger to censor their online content ? No. Not in Canada, as long as it is factual and not defamatory. It is fully protected under Canadian Law, and in fact, any request to have the information changed or deleted, is unlawful in itself.   

December 28, 2008

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