Internet service providers not listening

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Internet service providers not listening
By Donna J. Jodhan
I am really not sure if our Internet service providers really care or are even listening but I am going to give this a shot.  At least after writing this I will feel a bit better.  Or I would feel that I have done what I 
can to make my views known.  My beef today centers on two of Canada’s major Internet service providers; Bell Sympatico and Rogers communications.  Two of the main players in the communications arena, 
two giants that do not seem to be paying attention to the growing needs and demands of their bread and butter consumers of tomorrow.  Shocker or shaker?  No, neither because in my view persons like us are not the priority.
Here is the picture as I see it.  I have had the misfortune to be at the receiving end of some very shoddy service from these two companies and it all has to do with their staff not being adequately trained to 
take care of consumers with disabilities.  I will deal with each company separately.  Bell Sympatico in particular continues to ignore specific concerns when it comes to providing adequate phone and on site 
support.  Firstly, their first line technical support staff is made up of technicians whose first language is not English and the communications gap is huge.  Secondly, when you tell them that you are visually 
impaired and unable to see the lights on your modem or the model number on your modem, they simply do not understand the meaning of the term visually impaired.  Even when I say that I am blind, they 
just do not get it.  So what am I to do? 
I have complained and their solution is to keep crediting my account for the inconvenience but that is not going to fix things. 

Thirdly, they do not provide any on site support to help customers install their modems.  There are a growing number of customers who are unable to troubleshoot problems when it comes to their hardware 
and this number is only going to grow because of the following reasons:  Aging baby boomers did not grow up with the Internet and are not very comfortable with all of this new technology and as technology 
continues to travel like a freight train, the problem is only going to become more acute.  These are the technically shy or disabled consumers that Bell Sympatico continues to ignore.  Persons with physical and visual challenges are yet another group that Bell Sympatico continues to ignore and each time I run into problems, their reaction is that they do not provide on site support.  A few weeks ago, it was clear to me 
that the problem was at their end because I kept getting a message that the Internet was unavailable and that there was no connection to Bell Sympatico but their technicians kept telling me that the problem was at my end.  Finally after 30 minutes of arguing with them I had to call my own technician to come in and have a look and when he told them that everything seemed okay at my end, it was only then that 
they admitted that the problem was at their end.  At the end of it all I had to pay my technician $100 for his visit and Bell Sympatico never even apologized.
All of this could have been avoided only if the Bell Sympatico technicians were able to communicate in English in an appropriate manner.
Rogers is a bit better when it comes to providing phone support because for the most part their staff can communicate fluently in English but what I ran into a few weeks ago was this:  I was unable to access their online billing facility and after spending about 15 minutes on the phone with them, and after having spoken to four different persons, no one was able to help me and the last person kept telling me that the fault was at my end.  He suggested that I get my technician to fix my system.  When I told him that I could not even enter my username and password, his words were:  “I can see it on the screen and if you can’t then the problem is yours.” 
I’ll say it again and I’ll continue to say it:  The bread and butter consumers of tomorrow for all companies offering services are going to be those who are technically shy or technically disabled.  Those who did not grow up with the Internet and those who are unable to help themselves due to a physical or visual disability.  Unfortunately for most Canadians, they are often limited to which Internet service provider they can choose due to certain territorial or neighbourhood restrictions.  This does not mean that these two companies should not be paying more attention to the growing needs and demands of the above mentioned types of consumers.  In the case of both companies, I have found that their cell and land line customer services are way better so why is it that their Internet customer service is not quite up to snuff?  Maybe someone can help me to understand.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific day and weekend.
To reach me, please send an email to and I would be delighted to send you an electronic copy of our latest newsletter.
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Donna Jodhan!  Advocating accessibility for all 
a weekly feature on important answers to consumers concerns
Weekly blogs for language professionals and accessibility consultants
a monthly editorial on business issues and concerns 
weekly editorials on accessibility issues in Canada
Editorials:  An International perspective on issues of accessibility and disability (under the editorials section, an international perspective)
A general perspective on issues of access and accessibility 

About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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