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Cable/internet/satellite rates: how much are you paying?


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#601 tjv

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 06:06 PM

I think it depends on how many people are in your house and surfing the net, watching netflix, etc at the same time.  15 I think is good if you are alone.

 

Also depends if you want to watch 4k tv/movies too

 

I cancelled Telus a few years ago and Shaw about 5 years before that and would never use either of them again



#602 AllseeingEye

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 07:16 PM

Has anyone experienced atrocious wait times with Telus and Shaw lately?

 

I'm calling for the third time now after giving up twice. Today it's approaching 20 minutes and there hasn't been a customary "we're experience high call volumes" warning.

 

Meanwhile my neighbour was telling me how we gave up on waiting for Shaw after near two hours, only to try again the following day and finally connect nearly two hours in.

 

I've managed several customer/tech support environments across a few industries in both the private and public sectors - not an ISP or telcomm I assure you :) - and can weigh in on this.

 

First not all call center systems support that feature: it seems straight-forward, but keep in mind that many call centers are stuck with software that is years or even decades old. The average equipment replacement cycle is 12 years, or was last time I researched the issue in a production environment. Another contributing factor is that some companies have multiple call centers at multiple locations, dividing the work. And those multiple call centers may have different technologies that can’t coordinate information to generate an estimated wait time.

 

Second callers may be put in front of you: Yep – sometimes folks “cut” in front of you, and if this happens you would end up hearing that you went *backwards* in line and probably feel not too happy about it. That’s not as nefarious as it sounds. Here are some reasons call centers might do that:

 

a) An agent is helping an especially difficult or urgent case, and needs to transfer a call ahead of yours. (Supervisors are more likely to have this power.)

 

b) Callers with some kind of status (i.e. frequent fliers in the case of an airline call center) may automatically go to the front of the queue/line.

 

c) Some systems that offer a call-back as an alternative to waiting on hold require putting calls at the front of the line. It works like this: If you, the caller, agrees to a call-back, the system calculates that it would probably be your turn in, say, 20 minutes. Then you hang up and the system calls you back in, say, 18 minutes. If you answer, you get put at the front of the line. 

 

Lastly the “queue” is a logical construct and not a simple ordering of calls. In modern call center systems, your call requires a set of “skills” based on answers you gave to the IVR and possibly a profile of you in the company’s database. Let’s say “English speaking agent” + “billing” + “wireless plans”. Meanwhile, the call center has a set of agents with a mix of skills. The skills based routing system is matching “skills needed” with “skills available” to find the right agent in the shortest time. So you just can’t say someone is “nth” in line with any sense of surety. At best its a mathematical guess based on inputs and available (human) resources.


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#603 Mike K.

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 07:21 PM

Thanks for that, ASE! That’s great insight into that enigma.
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#604 tjv

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 12:16 PM

yes thanks, but I have to wonder if its smart to make someone wait 2 hours on hold to speak with someone, because I would simply want to cancel my service when I finally did get ahold of someone

 

I remember being on hold with Telus for 2 hours once.  I was at home for the first 30 min expecting to deal with it quickly, still on hold I left to run my errands, walking thru stores and check out lines with the phone on my ear with people probably wondering what I was doing.  Its like they think they are still BC Tel with a monopoly

 

I even talked  face to face with a former Telus phone customer rep who said if someone called in to complain about a billing issue, they were told to say they would credit the error but don't because most people will have forgotten about it by the time the next bill comes.  Think about it, are you going to be on hold for 4 hours (2 calls x 2 hours) to fix a $10 mistake



#605 Bingo

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 06:00 AM

yes thanks, but I have to wonder if its smart to make someone wait 2 hours on hold to speak with someone, because I would simply want to cancel my service when I finally did get ahold of someone

 

I remember being on hold with Telus for 2 hours once.  I was at home for the first 30 min expecting to deal with it quickly, still on hold I left to run my errands, walking thru stores and check out lines with the phone on my ear with people probably wondering what I was doing.  Its like they think they are still BC Tel with a monopoly

 

I even talked  face to face with a former Telus phone customer rep who said if someone called in to complain about a billing issue, they were told to say they would credit the error but don't because most people will have forgotten about it by the time the next bill comes.  Think about it, are you going to be on hold for 4 hours (2 calls x 2 hours) to fix a $10 mistake

 

Try talking to the Telus loyalty and retention department in Edmonton.



#606 North Shore

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 09:15 AM

North Shore's sneaky trick for getting around interminable 'Your call is important to us' middle-management bullshit is to hit #2 for Parler en francais.  you'll get transferred to a call centre in Quebec, where, chances are, you'll talk to a bilingual person, and then you can play dumb that you chose the French option...


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#607 AllseeingEye

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 03:59 PM

yes thanks, but I have to wonder if its smart to make someone wait 2 hours on hold to speak with someone, because I would simply want to cancel my service when I finally did get ahold of someone

 

I remember being on hold with Telus for 2 hours once.  I was at home for the first 30 min expecting to deal with it quickly, still on hold I left to run my errands, walking thru stores and check out lines with the phone on my ear with people probably wondering what I was doing.  Its like they think they are still BC Tel with a monopoly

 

I even talked  face to face with a former Telus phone customer rep who said if someone called in to complain about a billing issue, they were told to say they would credit the error but don't because most people will have forgotten about it by the time the next bill comes.  Think about it, are you going to be on hold for 4 hours (2 calls x 2 hours) to fix a $10 mistake

Can't answer that as I only ever managed an operation that had a 2+ hour call wait once (described below); that said no organization 'makes' anyone wait 2 hours deliberately, at least not in my experience.

 

Between the variables I described above in addition to the availability of modern (agent) scheduling software apps like Blue Pumpkin, in addition to historic call volume data which is typically fastidiously reviewed and measured by any well run customer contact center, offhand the only example of when such lengthy wait times accrue is likely when an unexpected event or outage occurs - a key service goes down, a piece of critical infrastructure (a router or switch) fails completely etc.

 

A good example of an unexpected event occurring that completely threw out a carefully pre-planned schedule, no matter how well planned in advance (and we had literally months to do just that), was when we opened for business on Day 1 of the West Corp call center in Saanichton; that was in ~ 2002 when cloud technology was in its infancy. The client was AT&T - you can imagine the daily volume of AT&T callers from the US - which makes anything a TELUS or Shaw call center has to deal with pale into insignificance; when the queue was activated from the Omaha NOC and went live, the ~ 300 agents we had available in Victoria were slammed four ways from Sunday when the system dumped nearly 18,000 callers simultaneously into the queue. As it turned out a router had been incorrectly programmed in Omaha - hardly the fault of the contact center team - but nevertheless we had an immediate 3+ hour wait right off the bat. Sometimes s*** happens and you deal with it to the best of your ability.


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#608 Rob Randall

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 05:54 PM

Peninsula Free Press, Wednesday Sept 14th, 1983

post-26-0-03000800-1537235612.jpg


Edited by Rob Randall, 17 September 2018 - 06:16 PM.

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#609 Matt R.

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 08:16 PM

Any one with knowledge of digital hybrid phone systems on a PBX?

I have four of these Panasonic “super hybrid digital” handsets connected to a PBX, and the handsets themselves are falling apart. They are 16+ years old so I don’t feel too bad.

We are looking for a solution that doesn’t involve cheap cordless phones from Costco, doesnt involve $35/month/handset to Shaw or Telus, or extensive rewiring.

Ideally I would just buy four of these bad boys from eBay, plug them in and go... but I suspect it’s not that easy!

Matt.

#610 AllseeingEye

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 08:54 PM

Any one with knowledge of digital hybrid phone systems on a PBX?

I have four of these Panasonic “super hybrid digital” handsets connected to a PBX, and the handsets themselves are falling apart. They are 16+ years old so I don’t feel too bad.

We are looking for a solution that doesn’t involve cheap cordless phones from Costco, doesnt involve $35/month/handset to Shaw or Telus, or extensive rewiring.

Ideally I would just buy four of these bad boys from eBay, plug them in and go... but I suspect it’s not that easy!

Matt.

PBX per se is a tried and true although older but extensible telephony architecture / system that has been supplemented in recent years by open standards IP-PBX. PBX allows your users to communicate internally and externally utilizing various channels like VoIP, ISDN or analog.

 

With a traditional PBX, you are typically constrained to a certain maximum number of outside telephone lines (or trunks) and to a certain maximum number of internal telephone devices or extensions. Users of a PBX phone system (phones or extensions) share the outside lines for making external phone calls.

 

IP-PBX is more flexible and brings with it many benefits, allowing for almost unlimited growth in terms of extensions and trunks, and introducing more complex functions that are more costly and difficult to implement with a traditional PBX, such as:

 

Ring Groups
Queues
Digital Receptionists
Voicemail
Reporting

 

Either way whether you want to remain with straight PBX, or consider migrating to the more robust and capable IP variant, and if for some reason you don't wish to deal with your existing telephone-telephony land line provider I would suggest contacting a unified communications vendor like Mitel or Avaya, to name but two options in what is a very crowded market, and talking to them; both have offices in Greater Vancouver and experienced techs who provide good coverage for Vancouver & the Gulf Islands. Brand new handsets from Cisco or Avaya can easily cost well into four figures however you can (or could at least once upon a time) acquire good re-conditioned units from BCG surplus for $250-300 a pop......


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#611 Matt R.

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 09:03 PM

Like I said, ideally I’d buy four of these replacements off of eBay for $300 plug them in and go. No problem with the architecture as is, but the handsets are dying.

Thoughts on that?

We have no use for a new pbx or other involved system. It’s nice to be able to transfer calls from the cafe to the office or the kitchen or the bakery but i won’t be spending any actual money on it. :)

Matt.

#612 sebberry

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 09:07 PM

Good info, ASE!

 

I'm going to be giving TekSavvy internet a try.  $50 promo price ($54 regular) for Internet 75/7.5.  I like my current $42 25Mbps plan, but the upload is a bit slow at 2.5


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#613 AllseeingEye

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 09:18 PM

Good info, ASE!

 

I'm going to be giving TekSavvy internet a try.  $50 promo price ($54 regular) for Internet 75/7.5.  I like my current $42 25Mbps plan, but the upload is a bit slow at 2.5

Don't have personal experience with them Seb but I know some folks in Ontario that love the service. Lots of positives too going with an org independent of the Big Four.....



#614 sebberry

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 09:31 PM

Shaw claims that they didn't receive the disconnection request from my current provider.  I was supposed to have been switched by now. Oh well, no biggie.  


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#615 AllseeingEye

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 09:37 PM

Like I said, ideally I’d buy four of these replacements off of eBay for $300 plug them in and go. No problem with the architecture as is, but the handsets are dying.

Thoughts on that?

We have no use for a new pbx or other involved system. It’s nice to be able to transfer calls from the cafe to the office or the kitchen or the bakery but i won’t be spending any actual money on it. :)

Matt.

That works as long as you have a UC-telephony-network resource available to assist with the install and equally critically to support and maintain your system going forward. I presume you do otherwise how do you maintain the existing environment (unless in addition to being a restaurant owner you are also an experienced UC engineer :))....

 

Not personally a fan of buying sophisticated devices like this off the web but that is just me - I'm old fashioned enough I prefer to kick the tire physically as well as have the ability to ask questions of a knowledgeable human then and there, particularly if this was my business upon which my livelihood depended. 


Edited by AllseeingEye, 17 September 2018 - 09:37 PM.


#616 Matt R.

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 10:06 PM

I’d be happy to hire someone to install these if required. We’ve never done any maintenance on them as none has been necessary. Shaw has done some off the cuff programming for us in the past but it’s not something they actually support.

I don’t think these particular units are available anymore.

Perhaps I will reach out to one of the outfits you suggested and see if there is a solution that does not require expensive installation of hardware that I don’t really need.

This system was installed some 18-20 years ago with the plan to grow the location into an office/hub environment for a growing company that grew so rapidly it outgrew the island entirely, so it’s likely overkill to have a PBX to handle two phones lines into a cafe with some basic intercom functions.

There are cordless handsets available that will do the job but I am concerned about interference and the ability to have handsets on different floors.

Matt.

#617 tjv

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Posted 18 September 2018 - 11:25 AM

Good info, ASE!

 

I'm going to be giving TekSavvy internet a try.  $50 promo price ($54 regular) for Internet 75/7.5.  I like my current $42 25Mbps plan, but the upload is a bit slow at 2.5

I have had TekSavvy for almost 2 years and haven't had any issues.



#618 AllseeingEye

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Posted 18 September 2018 - 05:22 PM

I’d be happy to hire someone to install these if required. We’ve never done any maintenance on them as none has been necessary. Shaw has done some off the cuff programming for us in the past but it’s not something they actually support.

I don’t think these particular units are available anymore.

Perhaps I will reach out to one of the outfits you suggested and see if there is a solution that does not require expensive installation of hardware that I don’t really need.

This system was installed some 18-20 years ago with the plan to grow the location into an office/hub environment for a growing company that grew so rapidly it outgrew the island entirely, so it’s likely overkill to have a PBX to handle two phones lines into a cafe with some basic intercom functions.

There are cordless handsets available that will do the job but I am concerned about interference and the ability to have handsets on different floors.

Matt.

Ah now that makes sense....you wouldn't normally expect to have that kind of telephony environment in a cafe :).

 

None of Shaw, TELUS et al are really positioned to support that kind of gear these days, especially an early generation PBX. They're too busy fighting with Bell, Rogers and other local carriers like SaskTel, Cogeco, Videotron and Eastlink for the "convergence" market.....

 

When I was the director of IT Services at the Land Title Authority of BC in 2008, I called in TELUS to look at our existing phone switch and configure it so I could run something approaching meaningful call reports. Our desktop handsets were 1980's-vintage Avaya units. Ugh, bad memory.  Anyway two techs showed up, spent an hour in the network closet then came out looking utterly bedazzled, shrugged, and left. The technology in that environment at that time was 20+ years old and they had no clue. 

 

Given your small environment if at all possible try to source an independent UC engineer-contractor, ideally someone local to the island, Sidney etc. You'll get more flexible and personalized service for a reasonable rate.....


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