This is an open letter to Rogers
celebrating the compassion and empathy demonstrated by a Rogers employee as I struggled to deal with a mental health crisis and an unexpected Rogers charge.
DISCLAIMER: I did ask the Rogers manager for information about how to celebrate her excellent customer service, both formally (and informally on social media.)
She pointed me to the support page. I have already filed a formal compliment:
She also checked with her people and said that I could write about this on social media, but to be very general about the specifics of my situation as it would be unfortunate for another person to have a negative customer service experience based on my story.
I get that – every customer profile is different and offers seem to be tier based, so I get that outcomes can be different as well.
As such, this letter is a modified and redacted version of the one sent to Rogers.
Table of Contents
- An open letter to Rogers
- I called Rogers
- Mental Health – Talk the talk; walk the walk
- Let’s recap. What does Excellent Customer Service look like?
- Why Tell People What They’re Doing Right?
- What’s the take away summary? How do you help people in a mental health crisis?
An Open Letter to Rogers
I just wanted to tell you about an exceptional interaction I had yesterday with one of your managers. My name is Michael Fuchigami…
I have been with Rogers for a long time. Over the years, I’ve come to accept the limitations of what you can get from a large telecom company in Canada, but even then, I’ve appreciated how your company is trying to become more responsive in addressing needs (i.e. recognizing that loyal customers want to feel treated like new customers with similar incentives.)
Telecom is a competitive monopoly. It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses, but over the years, I’ve learned how to navigate the system to connect with your people who have the knowledge to answer my questions, and the ability to address my concerns.
Even then, I have to admit that my Rogers experience is too often dictated by the luck of the draw with who I get on the other end of the line, and my willingness to stay on hold, or to call back. Having said that, I love speaking with local Ontario call center staff. Thank you for keeping those jobs in Canada.
Yesterday, I was blown away by the compassion and the proactiveness of Charlene and the customer service rep that I spoke with before her. In an industry where you probably hear more complaints than compliments, I wanted to make sure I took the time to write a note.
I’m currently working my way through a mental health crisis. I used to teach Grade 8 in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. Briefly, I experienced a traumatic response to something at work, and I resigned in December 2018.
I’m coming to terms with owning my situation, making my story part of the public domain, and becoming a mental health advocate to ensure that what happened to me doesn’t happen to others. As you can imagine, it’s a long journey.
Last year, I made $95K as a grade 8 teacher. This year, I will be happy to make $12K as a teacher entrepreneur.
So, accordingly, I’m living life frugally, watching my budget, and pinching my pennies.
I called Rogers …
The first customer rep was fantastic and sympathetic of the mental health challenges I’m going through right now. She looked for options, but unfortunately at her level, she wasn’t able to solve my problem.
I then spoke with Charlene on the management side. She took ownership of my situation. She was empathetic and sympathetic of the struggles I must be going through. She was able to find a … solution … And, she did this all with a smile and a confidence that she could resolve this concern.
Charlene was professional. She made a note in the system to check back at the end of the billing cycle to ensure that … She understood the realities of the backend system, and she understood my potential concerns, and she proactively found a solution to turn this loyal customer into a raving fan customer. She explained what she was doing and was transparent throughout the process.
I thanked Charlene, but I also wanted someone in a higher position to know that she did an awesome job today.
Mental Health – talk the talk and walk the walk
There’s another big telecom company that very publicly supports mental health initiatives. I’m sure they spearhead great fundraising campaigns, and I’m sure their marketing people can tell you what a wonderful job they are doing.
As a teacher, they’ve come to my school and presented to my class. Let’s just say, there’s a difference between intent and impact, and we need to be cognisant of the difference.
It’s easy for school boards and companies to talk the talk when it comes to “supporting mental health.” But it’s not always easy for individuals in those organizations to find a way to walk the walk.
Charlene demonstrated that she can both talk the talk, and walk the walk when it comes to supporting people with mental health challenges.
Let’s recap. What does Excellent Customer Service look like?
What did Charlene do?
- She was empathetic and sympathetic, all while maintaining a professional relationship.
- She focused on the problem at hand. She didn’t get caught up in emotion or side issues.
- She was proactive in anticipating and solving potential future problems.
- I felt my concerns and needs were listened to. I felt heard.
- She was able to provide an accommodation for my situation. In the grand scheme of things… but sometimes the little things can be the straws that break the camel’s back. Charlene could have passed the buck and given a half-hearted effort, but instead, she stepped up and owned my concerns.
Why Tell People What They’re Doing Right?
My proudest moment as a teacher, actually came a month after I resigned.
A former student (now graduated and in university) left a comment on my blog letting me know that I was the man that had the most positive impact in his life.
I won’t lie. That comment brought tears to my eyes. I still haven’t fully been able to process it or respond to it. But, it is in that vein of transparency that I write to Rogers.
Sometimes we don’t realize the difference that one person can make.
And, so I wanted to let you know that Charlene’s ability to find a solution to my problem today was helpful beyond words. Especially, in my time of need.
P.S. How do we help people struggling in a mental health crisis? What’s the take away message?
My conversation with this Rogers customer service employee reminded me of a time over the summer when I was in a very dark place.
One of the things that helped me was this Crisis Line. This service is only open to people 16 years or older living in a specific area: Prescott & Russell, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, Ottawa, Renfrew County, and Akwesasne.
Hands down, the best part of this Mental Health Crisis Line was their slogan:
IF IT’S A CRISIS TO YOU, IT’S A CRISIS TO US.
I found that idea so reassuring.
For such a long time, I was repeatedly told that I was the only one who had a traumatic response to what happened at school. I was the only one who felt this way. It’s just me.
When things were really dark, it was nice to speak to someone.
And, the best part of that conversation was feeling heard.
Which brings us back full circle. What was the best part of the conversation with the Rogers employee? That I felt heard.
Charlene was a compassionate and caring voice. She focused on a problem that she could help address, and worked with me to find a solution that worked for me.
I don’t think we all need to be trained mental health counselors. There are specialized services and resources that can provide that specific support.
I do think what we need are people who are compassionate, empathetic, and sympathetic who can help find solutions within their spheres of influence.
Compassion: “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of other.”
Empathy – “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
Sympathy – “feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.”
Oh, and the answer to the title?