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Rogers Employees Reveal High Pressure Sales Tactics Used on Seniors and More: Report

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After hearing about high pressure sales tactics from Bell employees, we now have another story detailing similar scenarios for call centre employees from Rogers, speaking to CBC News.

According to emails and interviews with CBC’s Go Public, Rogers employees claim they are under “extreme pressure” to hit sales targets or risk losing their jobs.

An unnamed Rogers employee in Ottawa said “You’re supposed to look at a customer’s account and sell them cable, home phone, home security, a credit card — whatever is missing.”

This employee says even if people fall ill, sales targets remain unchanged unless someone goes on short-term disability, adding “so you’re at home, trying to get better, but stressing about how you’re going to keep your job.”

The Ottawa worker says the pressure to meet sales targets means he has even resorted to target seniors for internet service, and lying to others: “We’re giving internet service to customers who actually do not have a computer.”

He also says he has omitted informing customers about installation fees for TV and Internet, plus activation fees for wireless, on top of adding extra products and services to a customer’s bill without their knowledge. “It feels really bad…But you have all this pressure on you. All your managers are around you, telling you to sell, sell, sell.”

Another Rogers employee from this same Ottawa call centre, Jessica Robinson, also told the CBC how employees are expected to sell products and services on every call, even to those calling in to cancel services. She quit working at Rogers after seven years at the call centre.

Robinson says “When I had my interview … they actually asked me ‘If an elderly lady calls in to cancel her sports package on her TV because her husband just died, are you going to convince her to keep it and add more?'”

She went on stress leave three times, which was attributed to the high pressure sales environment. “They teach us how to be empathetic. To say things like ‘I understand how frustrating that must be,’” explains Robinson, adding “I’m like, why? We’re the ones screwing them over.”

Ex-Rogers employee James Woodward told Go Public, “Managers know these reps are unethical,” claiming they turn a blind eye, “So they try not to listen to those calls.” He says he has also misled customers, especially at month-end when he was short of meeting his sales targets.

Woodward says “I would get five cellphone activations in a day and sell a bunch of cable products, and then my manager would say, ‘No credit card?’ It was always what I didn’t do.”

Other Rogers employees said the company will “drop” calls on customers when they call in to cancel services, because it will affect sales targets, which is “why most customers have to call in three, four, five times to get a problem resolved,” says one unnamed Rogers employee at the Ottawa call centre.

Rogers provided the following statement to Go Public, saying “While we do not believe the concerns raised represent our values or sales practices, we take them very seriously and we will work with our team to respond to these concerns.”

Last week, Ottawa-based advocacy group, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to hold a public inquiry into high pressure sales tactics from telecoms.

PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel, John Lawford, said “a formal inquiry into the entire industry’s sales practices is required,” adding “We are concerned that such aggressive and potentially misleading sales practices are endemic in retail Internet, wireless, subscription TV and wireline telephone markets, in particular in relation to bundles offered by the major providers.”

Have you ever experienced high pressure sales tactics from Rogers call centre employees?

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  • dkishome

    Just incompetent managers.
    There service has been garbage lately. I suggest that everyone move on..
    Took us 21 years to finally move on.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Used to work for a Rogers dealer selling cell phones. Same deal there. High pressure. The right phone for the customer was the one we had in stock. Always try to oversell them on services. I didn’t last long as I felt bad ripping people off.

  • Joe

    I used to work at a call centre for Bell. We were supposed to be providing customer service, but instead it was non-stop sales.

    Bell employees used the exact same practices, including accidentally “hanging up” on customers who call in to cancel services. If you cancel a service, it counts against your stats, so nobody ever wanted to take the hit. There was also no punishment for hanging up on customers. It’s been awhile since I’ve worked there, but from what I hear, not much has changed.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    “When I had my interview … they actually asked me ‘If an elderly lady calls in to cancel her sports package on her TV because her husband just died, are you going to convince her to keep it and add more?’” That says it all.

    But don’t blame Rogers, or Bell or Apple. They are corporate machines that tend to do what’s best for THEM, not YOU. Blame your government for not standing up for you. They are the ones allowing this to go on.

  • FragilityG4

    It’s not the governments fault. It’s these employees fault for not coming forward sooner and feeling the need to remain silent. You can’t have the government legislate every aspect of our lives.

  • johnnygoodface

    Funny thing: Telus hasn’t been accused of such practice. I say it again, they’re the only one (out of the major 3s) who is still showing some respect for their clients. Out of my 5 years with them, I’ve only hit one small hicup in all my dealings with them. I’m sure others might ran into some issues, but not as often as Bell or Rogers.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    A corporation’s decisions ultimately come down to, does it increase shareholder value. “Historically, corporations were expected to serve some public purpose as justification for the benefits and privileges they receive from the state. But since the 1970s, the view has become widespread that corporations exist solely to maximize profits and for no other purpose.”

    Do corporations actively seek to avoid paying Canadian taxes so that they can maximize profits? All the time. Who lets them do it?

    Do corporations go out of their way to make cancelling their services difficult? I wouldn’t mind seeing a law that says something like, “if you can sign up for internet service online, you have to be able to cancel online as well.” What’s the reality? You need to waste hours on the phone arguing with customer service instead of just being able to cancel. The government’s job is to protect its citizens, not allow corporations to do anything they want. We’d still have kids working in coalmines if they had their way. So why blame a stressed-out minimum wage employee for this problem. It is Rogers that is stressing the employees out with pressure to maximize profits for them and it is Rogers who holds the power to terminate their jobs. It isn’t just the customer who is the victim here, it is also the customer service employees. And it is the government’s fault for setting up the rules so this happens.

  • FragilityG4

    If you allow a bully to bully and remain silent, how is anyone to know you have a problem with a bully?

  • mcfilmmakers

    Wrong. Corporations have the responsibility to be good citizens just like everyone else. Their actions are factually illegal. It is illegal to omit fees. It is illegal to force an employee to do a morally questionable act. It is not thebhivernments fault. It is thencorporations fault and the employees are victims just as must as their customers are.

  • Chad Gillising

    I feel as if this stuff started happening in the last 5 years. Even with them coming forward I doubt it will change shit. The giant corporations run this world.

  • Karyn Maria

    Well Rogers outsources lots of their agents to third parties as well. I know I work for one. The pressure is immense. Not only are you expected to meet the sales goals, you are expected to meet a ridiculous amount of metrics, that includes how much time you spend on the phone with each customer and it is not a lot. They continually set up agents to fail.
    And most of these agents make crap money, they don’t pay people enough to really want to do a good job. You get what you pay for. They outsource cause it is cheaper. It’s all about making the shareholders happy. They care about profit and numbers nothing else.

    Ask Rogers about their “weather bomb sale” during the storm. Yeah people losing their power, home damage and neighborhoods being destroyed, but lets make some money.

    I personally have never been told to lie to customers by a manager, however, there is lots pressure to sell, sell , sell. Someone died? Sell. Customer unhappy? Sell. Do I sell well? Nope I sure don’t and if they want to fire me for it, go right a head. I will not sell service to a senior on a fixed income who doesn’t understand what they are getting and can’t afford it.

    They don’t even have enough agents right now cause even the agents want to get out of dodge. They don’t give their front line workers enough tools to do the job either, continually having to transfer to other departments cause you can’t apply the discounts they have access too and can’t cancel for them either. And guess what? You get penalized for that too. Soon we will be penalized for taking a breath. These agents can’t get away from this job fast enough.

    Seriously, it is time for these cell phone companies to get back to old fashion customer service. Actually letting us help the customer other than using the old stand by that adding even more service to your bill is saving you money. It is not. We are expected to spend more time selling crap than helping people with their bills or other issues. It is really sad if you ask me. Somewhere along the way these companies have forgotten that there are actually people behind these phones, we are not computers or just “numbers”.

  • Karyn Maria

    Yeah I have never heard anything bad so far about Telus. I call for my mom sometimes and they don’t spend the time trying to upsell her on other services. They actually try to help with the problem.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    “It is illegal to force an employee to do a morally questionable act.” No it’s not. That’s the problem I’m pointing out!

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    If the corporations are the bullies, then the government is the teacher that turns a blind eye and does nothing about it.

  • FragilityG4

    If everyone remains complacent and okay with the status quo, then yes, nothing will change. Whistle blowers foster change.

  • Jason

    Ive talked about this a few years ago either on this site or another but the tactics are true.
    I worked for Bell Mobility (Vancouver call centre) about 10years and I get that they are a business and need to make money but some of the things they pushed were ridiculous . I remember a time where we were told we had to reach an certain % of increased sales for each call we took,
    I worked during the recession and I was able to handle up to 60calls a day it just so happened that because people were loosing their jobs and calling into cancel a line or two because they couldn’t afford two lines anymore. Bells response was to change the account to the lowest plan we offered, add roadside assistance and not cancel. For those already on the lowest plan we were told to add unlimited incoming calls.
    It just felt wrong asking people to increase they’re phone line even when it wasn’t their main line when they were telling you over the phone they don’t know how they planned on paying for anything because they were job less. I left the company telling them just that.
    If I had a landline and a cell phone and I was jobless, I’d drop the cellphone just until I get back on my feet.
    If you have no heart that job would be easy. The only way around those tactics is take very few calls and hope you get a call where someone wants to add features to their account. that way your % of sales per call is higher.

  • mcfilmmakers

    Yes it is. It is illegal to falsely represent a product. Asking an employee to do so is also illegal.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Read the quote again, “It is illegal to force an employee to do a morally questionable act.” We’re talking about actions that are immoral, but legal. So if most people consider pressuring an elderly grandmother into buying internet access she doesn’t use an unethical (but legal) act, and the widespread occurrences of these kinds of actions are published in the papers, discussed online and on TV – then what is the government’s excuse for allowing it? They must know it’s happening. They are also the ones that set the laws. Corporations tend to do these kinds of things if left unchecked because it is their job to maximize wealth. It’s also easy for them to force a minimum wage worker into doing it for them so they don’t have to get their hands dirty. Do you trust them to police themselves? Football and soccer has referees. The problem is that Corporations are paying the referees off in this game called life via large corporate donations and lobbying. That’s not fair of course. You could call it immoral in fact. And legal.

  • My 1/2 cents

    Ok bully.

  • FragilityG4

    I can’t bully you if I wasn’t talking to you.

  • mcfilmmakers

    God damn it. Pressuring an elderly lady into buying internet she doesn’t use IS ILLEGAL if she’s being told a lie to do so!

  • mcfilmmakers

    Yes it is.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Not all lies are illegal. When the overseas customer service agent tells you his name is “Joe” or “John” and you find out that’s not true, do you think you can call the police? Same thing when a smooth talking sales guy tells grandma the package deal is better because it’s a better value. Sure it’s a better value if you actually use the internet, phone and TV, but perhaps not for grandma who only uses the phone and TV. He’s not lying per se, but he IS tricking her knowingly.

  • mcfilmmakers

    When grandma tells you she does not want it and explicitly tells you she does not own any device that could use the internet and you push until she gives in – that sale is illegal under Canadian law. Gtfo.

  • Gordon Thomas

    It is a Hell-Hole work culture, with ‘by the manager, for the manager, of the manager’ rule!. This is not just in sales and call center but all around. In fact, the janitorial staff gets more respect than critical employees in central functions. The Code of Business Conduct has no single mention of how to respect each other or treat their employees, so they are free to harass or intimidate what ever means possible.
    Ther is no channel to even report such unethical management behaviour, other than through the very managers that do these unethical things. Likewise, the senior management has no channel to even actively listen to problems of lower level employees who rot in anguish and disgust.
    They almost worships the management staff, which is mostly full of really old junk that has come over from bankrupt nortel and the closed sprint. They have no ideas or open mindedness and a big chunk has never worked outside Rogers and are depending on retiring safely.
    They think they are there just to order employees on behalf of rogers family. Even the appraisals and promotions are completely based on collusion and mutual convenience arangements.
    If you get stuck in this company, it becomes even difficult to leave and joing somewhere else. With all this being the case, It is rediculous when they claim – ‘Ethics’ is important to Rogers, LoL.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    What law is that?

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