The three people who may read this - this isn't for you, well of course it is but it's really a communication addressed to Rogers - I know, of course, 'they' will never get to read it - but if you don't try.....
I'm a Rogers customer and until a year ago I had their cable, home-phone, internet and wireless (2 of them with data) then about a year ago I changed the home-phone to Primus saving a good $25 a month and so as it currently stands we have TV, Net and 2 wireless phones with data. I pay them a fair whack each month and it would be more if I didn't threaten to leave them every year and get discounts all over the service to make it a little less of a monthly sting to our outgoings.
In return for this 'whack' I expect good service. Do I get it? Actually, they are not bad. Some rather interesting to's and fro's with their customer service people every now and again but on the whole it's ok.
My PVR misses the occasional programme for no particular reason. Every now and then the PVR has to be shut down and rebooted and sometimes that happens when I have something I want to watch recorded on the hard drive that will soon be wiped as a result of that. Their online billing service is good - it's getting better - it used to have problems with updating payments but it was good enough to alert me last year (when number 1 son was over and downloading iTunes movies!!!) that I was about to exceed my data allowance and allowed me to top it up with a $5 increase.
The reception on the Rogers wireless phones is average - if I visit my in-laws in Stittsville it disappears, though, and reception in my house in Alta Vista isn't that great at times either - thank the wireless gods for Wi-Fi.
So the service in general is ok - room for improvement but ok. Now Rogers in their infinite wisdom decide that an improvement means adding stuff like peripheral services and apps.
Hmmmmmm, well that should read: they scramble to try to bring services that others provide and don't quite make the mark, but they advertise the hell out of them as they help bring in new customers, I guess.
Well, let's take a look at a couple of these services, I'll get to One Number - just stick with me.
There is a service called TV Manager and it links your wireless phone to your PVR(s) so you can see what you have recorded and scheduled and edit that or schedule new recordings remotely. OK? Sounds good? Sure, only it doesn't quite work. I started using this last week and it fails to completely update itself.
If I activate my TV Manager now - it still shows that I have a House from last October as well as an Amazing Race and a NCIS:LosAngeles all from October - when, of course, I do not.
When one tries to refresh or update the 'app' it gets stuck on 'retrieving account information'. When something like this fails to work 100% it is practically useless to use and rely on. On Friday I noticed that I was recording Kitchen Nightmares (Gordon is boring me) so I deleted it. Only, I wasn't deleting KN, I deleted Fringe which I record directly after KN and start a minute early so as to catch the beginning but the TV Manager saw it as KN and I deleted it. Thankfully the HD stations have a back-up and I recorded it on FOXW once I realised what I'd done.
The new Rogers service is one that links your computer to your wireless phone and allows you to see, receive and send texts, calls, video calls and emails all from one screen - it's called One Number and it was launched this past weekend - or so it would seem if you saw all the TV ads for it over the weekend.
I love new tech (even though it's not that new) and as I'm a Rogers customer I thought I'd try it and see if it a)works and b)is worth me using it on a regular, if not daily, basis.
It was relatively easy to sign up to it as it uses your 'My Rogers' sign up details and after a couple apps had been installed and some registration verification it was ready to try out.
This also incorporates a contacts app called '1 Contacts' which syncs your contacts from your phone so you can use them when using One Number from your computer.
The $$ aspect of this is interesting as you can make and send text messages for free in Canada - the sticking point is that it looks like you have to pay for anything 'in-coming' - seems a bit of a dated setup but I guess they have to make a penny or two somewhere. I had a lengthy text conversation with a friend who is on my list of people I can text and call for free (it's called MyFive) and I'm now wondering if I will end up paying a few cents for each of his replies I received while using One Number - we'll see.
So, for texts it works just great - being able to text using my keyboard instead of my iPhone keypad is a joy. Now, I mentioned that you can add email accounts to it too. So, I added my Gmail account and started getting email notifications and dealing with emails through the One Number 'hub'. It didn't go well.
I tried to delete emails and nine times out of ten it would return an error message. If you reply to an email it's very difficult to view the thread, in fact it's almost impossible to deal with an email that goes back and forth a bit. It's like you see messages coming in but those sent out seem to vanish.
The main problem with emails through One Number is that it doesn't update or sync fast enough. If I'm to close my Gmail tab on my browser and just use One Number then this has to be addressed. Maybe a manual refresh button would help until this happens automatically or 'real-time' but as it stands, for me, One Number is unusable for emails. Maybe if you are someone who turns their computer on once a day and checks email - then it should be ok - I have my computer on 24/7 and only power down twice a week to blow the cobwebs out and I am on this thing constantly.
So again, Rogers fails to come up to the standards I expect - do I get a refund?
Rogers - stop spending time, energy and dollars on new services that just don't quite make the mark - it erodes your reputation and ultimately the brand. Spend some dollars on getting the basics up to scratch first - my 2 PVRs are old - I rent them from you - why not, instead of launching your next 'whizz-bang' service, you send me two of the latest boxes? I'll be much more impressed.
PS - How could I forget the most infuriating part about being a Rogers TV customer is that damned archaic EPG (electronic program guide). Really? This is the best you can do? When I search for a programme it takes forever. At least do an update so you can search using the second letter as well as the first. At least this would help - but Rogers EPG must be the worst I've ever used. If you haven't a ne one in the product pipeline I suggest you scramble!