CRTC Sends Secret Shoppers to Wireless Carrier Stores Again, Shares Results

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on Wednesday shared a detailed report on its second secret shopper project.

This practice was established by the CRTC in 2020 following complaints of some Canadians facing misleading or aggressive sales practices from carriers.

As part of the program, the federal regulator this year sent 824 “mystery shoppers” to all major wireless carriers in Canada and asked them to provide unbiased feedback on their customer experience.

Mystery shoppers evaluated Bell, Rogers, Telus, Sasktel, Freedom Mobile, Videotron, and the Big Three’s flanker brands (Bell Aliant, Bell MTS, Virgin Mobile, Lucky Mobile, Chatr, Fido, Koodo, and Public Mobile).

Carrier stores all over Canada were tested across three sales channels (in-store, over the phone, and online chat), and a questionnaire comprising 62 questions was used to gauge the mystery shoppers’ experience.

“The majority of the sales interactions were perceived to be positive,” the CRTC said in its report. However, almost 20% of shoppers perceived they may have faced misleading or aggressive sales practices.

It appears that while the majority of the sales interactions were perceived to be positive, some shortcomings were also identified in the customer experience. For example, more than one quarter of shoppers felt that the recommended product or service was not appropriate for their needs (26%), one in ten shoppers felt they faced aggressive sales practices (11%), and about 6% of shoppers were offered products they felt were unnecessary, and experienced persistence from the salesperson.

45% of mystery shoppers said they were very satisfied with their experience, while 31% were somewhat satisfied and 14% were either somewhat dissatisfied (10%) or very dissatisfied (5%).

Customer satisfaction among Canada’s core brands and flanker brands appeared to be similar. 76% of respondents reported that they were very or somewhat satisfied with sales interactions with core brands (Bell, Rogers, Telus, Sasktel, Freedom and Videotron, combined), while 77% said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the flanker brands assessed.

Videotron had the highest satisfaction rate of all the carriers evaluated, at 88%, with Telus’ flanker brands trailing behind in second with a satisfaction rate of 83%. Sasktel had the lowest satisfaction rate, at 69%.

Among the Big Three (Rogers, Bell, and Telus), Telus (77.3%) pulled slightly ahead of Bell (77.1%) to rank first in satisfaction rate. Rogers achieved the lowest satisfaction rate of the three, at 73.1%.

Let us know what you make of the report in the comments below. Or, let us know what you think about this particular use of your tax dollars.

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