Friday, September 2, 2011

Two steps back. Meet the new #custserv crew at #Shaw Cable (rant)

So yesterday I got a link to this blog where a couple trainers from Shaw chronicled a grand adventure: Opening a brand spanking new call centre in Gurgaon, India. The whole thing got locked up pretty quickly after it was discovered, but I did manage to save a few snippets. With apologies for the friends I still have at Shaw, you can download the "Gurgaon Guys" blog from this link

Go ahead, check it out. I'll wait.


Done? Good. Now meet the folks reponsible for your next terrible customer service experience:

Kyle and Ryan are going to enable some hardcore medioctiry

I worked for these guys for two and a half years. Well, not these guys specifically, but the company as a whole. During this time, the number one positive feedback I got from customers was that we actually handled calls locally. It was always a pleasant suprise, and my callers thanked me from the bottom of their hearts just for speaking English. Better yet, we could actually respond to issues because our call centre was in the same building as every other department of the company.

If you lived in Saskatchewan, you talked to one of us in Saskatoon. If you were out east, you got an agent in Winnepeg. If you were out west, we had you covered from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. We knew the neighborhoods and local companies of the cities we served, and it gave a small town feel despite the fact that you were talking to a gigantic corporation. We knew when an outage was going on, we knew when weather was causing issues, and we knew what areas of town had janky old cable that was scheduled to be refit.

Heck, in the off chance that one centre got busy and had to offload calls, customers would get straight up pissed. "Those idiots in Winnipeg don't know anything about Saskatoon". And so forth. Well hold onto your socks fellas, cause now you're about to talk to people who don't even know the geography of the country they're talking to.

Important training materials. Note the position of Canada within "North America"

Why am I so pissed off about this? Even after our Saskatoon office was laid off six months ago, I had faith that the company was going in a forward-thinking direction. I knew that there are people there who give a shit about customer service. My friends from the Twitter team, for example, continue to be awesome and responsive. But like so many cablecos, the people on the front lines don't make decisions like this. There's someone high up who doesn't care if you have to wait on hold for an hour to speak with someone who doesn't even know what the TV Channel you're trying to order is about.

No I haven't been watching Big Brother. But have YOU seen Bandh Darwaza? 

Best of all, this decision was probably made long before my team was disbanded. While the PR machine is spinning, talking about how this is a family owned, purely Canadian company, there was a plan in the works to remove all human contact from Canada and outsource it to the lowest bidder. I busted my ass at this company, fighting for a better customer experience and railing against the horribly outdated and inneficient tools. We pushed to hire enough agents that we could maintain a hold time under five minutes. We wanted to introduce Workshifting, remote work and flexible schedules. Now they've gone and devolved their operations further than I thought possible.

From what I hear, this particular call centre is "only" handling outbound sales calls. But that's just the beginning. If you work in any other department that can be outsourced, it's time to start looking for a new job before it's too late. Shaw's already axed entire call centres, including employees who'd been with the company since before the internet. They're entering a brave new world of terrible customer service, and undoing any goodwill they've ever had for being a "Canadian" company.
Congratulations guys. Enjoy my job. /rant


  1. I as well used to work for Shaw and was kindly "Axed" long ago with other co-workers for standing up for a fellow employee. in order for ALL companies and countries to actually prosper their needs to be legislation in place forcing companies such as Shaw to pay anyone anywhere the same amount they would pay local staff... the alternative; why stay here?

  2. I worked there for 5.5 years myself in Nanaimo. Shaw Cable is only interested in making as much money as possible for themselves. Nothing more!
    Front line staff are just cannon fodder for endless supply of expendable labour. So expendable in fact that they are in the process of being thrown away permanently in favor of even more expendable people in India.

  3. Did you do your research at all? This is an outbound calls sales team for the Punjabi speaking population of Canada. Why did they set up the call centre in India? Because they didn't get enough people here in Canada in time. They are looking at bringing this centre to Canada, but that's provided that they have enough respondents. Good sleuthing you!

  4. Sorry I didn't allow these comments sooner. Was away for the weekend and didn't have notifications on for Blogger (did for the original source, Posterous though)

    Migrated to Disqus and shouldn't have that problem again.

    Anyway though, yeah I heard this was Outbound only. But hard to believe they couldn't have given these jobs to Canadians, with a fraction of the budget it took to outsource a team.

  5. "interested in making as much money as possible for themselves"

    Wow, so a corporation is interested in making as much money as possible? That's scary and unheard of!

  6. though i do agree with everything you said, being a shaw employee i feel like this goes against everything i've ever told any shaw customer before. Oxynitrate is right. I'm from the vancouver office and we had the posting for this position up for 3 months with no responses.

    it still scares the shit out of me, and it still makes me feel angry.

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