Sunday September 20, 2020 | BC
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
Rogers Communications has virtually opened its new B.C. customer solution centre in Kelowna, celebrating with more than 100 new team members already hired and trained virtually.
Rogers said in a news release on September 18 that the centre will bring a total of 350 new jobs to the local economy by 2021, as part of the company’s fully Canadian based customer service team.
All positions will be work-from-home until the new Kelowna centre can be safely opened.
The shift to virtual:
“When we first announced our plan to open this new customer solution centre, none of us could have imagined we would be opening virtually, but we could not be more excited to welcome our new team from across the Okanagan region,” said Rick Sellers, President of B.C. Region, Rogers Communications.
This is a clear example of how the demand for commercial office space might change going forward in ‘the new normal’ as the pandemic endures.
Nevertheless, Sellesr says: “Today marks an important step in our plan to deliver the best possible experience to our customers while strengthening our commitment to Kelowna with hundreds of new jobs.”
At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, Rogers says it acted quickly to pivot its operations to keep Canadians connected, and customers and teams safe. That included shifting most of its customer solution centre teams to work from home, including the newly hired Kelowna team. When the time is right, Rogers looks forward to welcoming employees to the new centre and continuing to build on a strong employee culture and vibrant workplace.
High-volume customer service:
Employees at the new Kelowna centre will handle approximately one million customer interactions each year, joining the company’s Burnaby team in providing even more customer service in the Pacific Time Zone.
There are now five area codes for phone numbers in BC, serving a growing population:
- 604: Created in 1947 as the original area code in BC. Currently covers the City of Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound and lower Fraser Valley.
- 250: Split in 1996 from 604. Serves most of British Columbia including Vancouver Island.
- 778: Created in 2001 as overlay for Vancouver and the lower Fraser Valley in 2001. Extended to entire province in 2007.
- 236: Created in 2001 (effective 2013), overlays onto all of British Columbia.
- 672: Created in 2011 (effective 2019), overlays onto all of British Columbia.
The Burnaby Customer Solution Centre, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, opened in September 1995, and has grown to a team of 600 people, handling over 30 million calls since opening.
Tech support and customer service has a wide scope, given the types of customer service packages, variable wireless coverage, and range of both smartphone hardware and apps and software.
This summer, Rogers continued its support for those in need during the pandemic. Trucks filled with food for more than 63,000 British Columbians were delivered to the Greater Vancouver and Okanagan Food Banks, as part of Rogers’ Step Up to the Plate initiative with Food Banks Canada & Jays Care Foundation. Upon arrival in BC, Rogers employees volunteered in Burnaby and Kelowna filling food hampers to provide more than 1.3 million meals across the province for those in need.
As students return to school this fall, whether remotely or in-class learning, Rogers is empowering B.C. youth through education, offering Ted Rogers Scholarships for 2020, including for students in Kelowna and Lake Country.
Rogers continues to invest in its network in B.C., as connectivity is now more critical than ever. Earlier this month, Rogers announced Canada’s first and largest 5G network expansion to 26 communities across British Columbia including Kelowna and the Okanagan. Earlier this year, Canada’s first 5G smart city pilot was launched with the City of Kelowna and the University of British Columbia, following a multi-million dollar partnership with UBC to fund academic research in 5G, including launching the country’s first 5G-powered smart campus. Rogers also launched network sites in West Kelowna and Osoyoos, a partnership with Nisg̱a’a Nation that connects communities in Northwestern B.C., and a collaboration with the B.C. Government that brings wireless coverage to residents and businesses of Witsuwit’en Village (Witset First Nation).
Not always rosy:
In recent years, some Rogers employees have complained about pressure from their employer to upsell customers. That may have resulted in some pro-active adjustments to some customer packages in 2019 and 2020, to the customers’ benefit, as part of customer loyalty retention.
Rogers is one of the three largest telecommunications providers in Canada, the other two being Bell and TELUS. Also in the wireless phone-services game are FIDO and Shaw.
Rogers is a proud Canadian company. Their founder, Ted Rogers, purchased his first radio station, CHFI, in 1960. The company has grown to become a leading technology and media company that says it strives to provide the very best in wireless, residential, sports, and media to Canadians and Canadian businesses.
Rogers shares are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI).