Thanks for all your profound, inspiring and helpful inventions Steve. You’ve made an admirable mark on the world.
I’ve finally pitched my brilliantly ancient Blackberry (deserves an award for surviving this long). I decided the only way for me to go was to get an iPhone. It’s now been nearly a week and I must say this platform is a must have for any computery geeky types out there. It makes me antiquated Pocket PC cower in submissive fear and continues to impress and delight me a every turn.
When iPhone was first released I shyed away on account of two factors. First I thought the price was completely unreasonable, that’s long since been fixed. Secondly, I felt it to be too cruel for Apple to provide such an awesome platform, but lock it up with no public development tools. That too, has now long since been addressed quite masterfully.
I’ve been watching a through set of introductory development videos for iPhone this morning and they’ve been quite informative. Apple has clearly got their head’s in the right space to provide an outstanding mobile device that offers a carefully designed balance of functionality, stability, entertainment and room for customization.
So at this point, if you don’t have an iPhone or at least an ipod Touch and you like playing around with embedded systems of any kind, I HIGHLY recommend you take a very careful look at this platform. Apple’s massively well presented documentation can help get you far long in developing your own tools as well, so check them out. Also, check out all the apps floating around in the iTunes store.
I head somewhere in the past that if you get Rogers to redirect you to their retentions group, they’ll offer you better options than you’d get elsewhere. It just bothers me that it seems to be true that if you want those better options you first have to actually make some kind of case for them or threaten to leave. It shouldn’t be that way. But hey, it just makes room for someone else to come in and do a better job.
What’s been buggin me
So I’ve been really frustrated lately as my Rogers Wireless cell phone bills have been crazy. A few months ago I was seeing $100/mth bills for my cell and I only have really used it for chatting with the same few local people (more or less). I got setup with My5, which is awesome in that it gives you unlimited communication with a specific group of numbers. That was good, as for a couple bills I saw charges of about $60. But then my last bill came in at a whopping $167.47. The extra charges came from one 70minute internet session in a cafe billed to my wireless account and a bunch of long distance charges. Turns out my My5 plan was setup so as to only allow unlimited communication with my specific group of numbers as local calls. I had thought I could call those numbers from anywhere to anywhere inside Canada.
What I did about it
So I called up Rogers and explained how I’m at the end of my rope. I’ve been so frustrated by how much I pay to have a cell phone. I’ve stayed with Rogers to give myself the option to switch to an iPhone in the future, but I my bills have been so high and I’ve hated the last few phones I’ve had so much that I’ve been considering just closing the account.
I told them that the absolute most I can afford as a student on any given month for my cell is $50 and even then, that’s really pushing what I can devote to that. The regular “account billing” guy I was speaking to transferred me to what he called “customer service” – but I’m pretty sure it was really their retentions department.
How that went down
So the retentions gal I then spoke with was extremely helpful and awesome in all regards I could ask for. I explained the financial constraints, told her why I had stayed with Rogers (iPhone options) and said I’m not sure I can afford to stick around. After much helpful discussion, she changed me $55.27 from my current bill and waived the rest. Then changed my plan to add the long-distance support to My5 and added a bunch of other services such as Caller ID that I had been paying for as free extras. So now my bills should come to $37.45.
The Emotional Aftermath
So I’m feeling really good about that customer experience. I’ve had Rogers provide pretty good help in the past, yet I’m still frustrated by how out of control it gets. I hate calling in and making a fuss, though since I’m making less money than I have in the past I’m finding it easy to consider what the wasted extra $ could afford me if not dumped in to unnecessary billing (mostly thinking of Sparkfun there).
For now, Rogers has retained me as a customer and I think I’m quite happy with my service. Let’s just wait to see what the next bill looks like!
My suggestion to other Rogers Customers
Assuming your bills actually suck somewhat – Just call them up and be honest. Tell them how you really feel about their company and tell them how you feel about your bills. Don’t be a jerk and ask for everything and demand it for free. I mean, you’ll be talking to human beings on the other side of the fence, if you make them defensive, well, then you’ll have a battle on your hands. The best way to win a battle is to never have to fight it, I think Sun Tsu said something like that.
Just tell them what resources you have (how much you can afford each month) and tell them the services that you feel are necessary. Ask them to help you get your bills to meet whatever your goals are (decide what those are BEFORE calling) and politely explain that you’re not convinced you’re willing to keep a cell phone (provided that’s really the case).
I think they really want to help their customers, but their customers need to actually communicate back with them. It’s an area for them to improve upon, nevertheless, just worry about telling them what you want and be reasonable with it.
Hey gang, for those interested, I found on the openmoko website this awesome little file you can download, extract and quickly use to get the OpenMoko firmware to boot up in QEMU. So those who are interested in checking this phone out can get a slight sample of it this way. What I like about it is that I can begin developing for the project without having to own one!