Any cell phone owner almost expects it now. Every time you phone in to customer service with a problem or a question, you’re inevitably pitched yet another service to add to your phone. The customer service reps are trained to sell you little extras that will nudge your phone bill up each month. Thats’ because it means more guaranteed revenue for the phone company.

In my coverage of the text message fee issue this week, the most outlandish thing I came across was an internal Bell document. The document was posted on the Web site mobilesyrup.com and informs staff of the new incoming text message charge fees.

Unbelieveably, the document almost anticipates the customer outrage over this issue. “In cases where the client requests removal of access to the text messaging service, educate the client on the benefits of text messaging as an alternate form of communication (i.e. information on their Bell account, Amber alerts, promotion).”

The document also instructs customer service reps to point to Telus doing the same change in billing practices. There’s also a section that talks about how to retain customers who are upset at the new fee.

“Show empathy and understanding of the customers’ concerns. Explain that this price change is competitive and aligns to the current Canadian wireless carrier Text Messaging pricing,” the document says.

The empathy doesn’t last for long. The next step involves reminding the customer of the cancelled contract penalty fee. Customer service reps are also instructed to urge the customer to opt in to a text bundle plan!

I’m used to cell phone companies making sales pitches to me when I call in. But I can’t believe that Bell thinks they will be able to spin customer frustration at arbitrary new fees into increased sales of text bundled plans.

When it comes to far-flung sales tactics, Bell takes the cake.



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