It didn’t take long to realize we wouldn’t get any work done on Friday.
It was clear that we were powerless. Internet and phone service were down. We were also grateful that we didn’t have unreasonable bosses breathing down our necks.
So, we knocked some errands off our list. Got our Covid booster shots. Enjoyed that building’s Wi-Fi while we waited. Sent notes to overseas clients to tell them what was going on. Picked up groceries. Bought Derek new shorts that compensate for his 30+ lbs. weight loss.
Once I let clients know it wasn’t business as usual, it was OK. We accepted it.
Website access returned briefly on Saturday. Then it vanished again. An email from Rogers’ CEO arrived Sunday as I enjoyed a networking lunch and strong Wi-Fi at GT’s on the Beach. In it, Tony Staffieri accepted responsibility for the mass outage and pronounced service restored.
Not even close.
I was only able to post an early draft of this piece on Monday because of mobile data I can access outside of our town. Service wasn’t restored. At home, we had email, and access to exactly three websites. Full service didn’t come back until noon Monday. That’s 24 hours after receiving that annoying email from Staffieri.
I’m not even quibbling about how long it took “normal” to return. I’m annoyed by two things: that Rogers said nothing during the first few hours of the outage. And that the CEO pronounced it fixed when it clearly wasn’t.
THE CORPORATE REPUTATION REMAINS INTACT
It’s Rogers COMMUNICATIONS! It’s not just what they provide. They claim to be experts at it. They are not.
Empathy. Kindness. Honesty. They go a long way. We are people who lost real money because of the outage. Reputations were affected. Parents couldn’t reach children. Children couldn’t reach parents. People experienced much more serious problems than mine. Customers already view fat corporate giants as heartless, soulless greedy pigs. Rogers’ behavior though this crisis gave us no reason to think otherwise.
I hold Rogers in slightly higher esteem than Bell because of my great experience working for Rogers. My experience working for Bell doesn’t stack up. Neither did my experiences as a Bell customer. But this could have happened to either company. Switching everything to Bell now would be, in my opinion, as risky as having everything with Rogers. I see that now.
OUR OUT-OF-POCKET BACKUP SOLUTION
What matters most is how we respond. When we lived in the country we had both Rogers and Bell internet. If one was spotty, the other usually worked. We are doing it again. We bought another 5G phone and now have it operating as a Hotspot. If one service goes down, we’ll have the other. Diversification seems to be the key to a less frustrating future for us and our businesses.
Late Monday afternoon, the federal Industry Minister announced he had spoken to the CEOs of Rogers and Bell. If a similar outage happens again, the other company will have to provide service to those taken offline. In Friday’s case, Bell would have had to let Rogers customers onto its network.
It sounds like a logistical nightmare. But I’m crying no tears for either company. Rogers Communications’ revenue is up this year. The company reported $392-million in profit during Q1. For Bell in the same time period: $934-million. We pay among the highest rates for Internet in the world. And as I wrote those numbers, I silently instructed my fingers to not write words that rhyme with spit and truck.