Is There Really a Special Needs Department at Bell Canada?

You would think that there is but when you are told "We don't handle requests to help you navigate our website" you are left wondering! Shocker or shaker? To me this is a real shocker! Just imagine! Canada's largest phone company is always so quick to say how much they go out of their way to accommodate their blind and visually impaired customers but truth be told when it comes to their special needs department; they might as well not have any.

In all fairness to Ma Bell, I have to say that over the years my experience with them has been quite enjoyable except for my interaction with their special needs department. Within the last two years I have called the Bell special needs department a total of four times and on each occasion I have been told that they are unable to help me. First, I phoned to enquire about receiving my statements in Braille, and one of their call takers told me that they did not produce Braille statements. Next I called about receiving my bills online and I was given the same answer. "We can't help you." Then I called twice about having someone look into making the website more accessible and again the same standard answer.

About two months ago I decided that I had had enough of the Bell special needs department's attitude and so I phoned their customer service department and lo and behold! What a complete difference in attitude. The Bell customer service department helped me to register for my online bill statements. No fuss, no bother! They were only too happy to help me. What disturbed me greatly about my last call to the Bell special needs department was this: When I told them that I needed help they told me to ask a friend or neighbour and when I told them that I preferred if they did it because it would preserve my privacy, they simply brushed me off by saying "We can't help you and you'll just have to find someone."

It is an attitude like this that can quickly help to tarnish the image of any company and from all of this I believe that this particular department has failed in its efforts to provide quality customer service. I am not the only one who continues to complain about the Bell Special needs department. The staff of this department needs to be appropriately trained in areas such as: Customer service, product knowledge, and technology as it pertains to special needs Canadians. By simply saying that we are unable to help you is not the answer. Several special needs persons have told me that they have found this department's staff to be rude, unwilling to help, and downright lazy.

When a company advertises that it can offer services to special needs customers, it must ensure that its staff is thoroughly trained to deal with queries from its special needs customers. In addition, it must ensure that its staff is ready at all times to provide quality assistance. If a company advertises that it has a special needs department that can handle queries and concerns from its special needs customers, then they had better make sure that their special needs department is up to the task. If I am told that a company has a special needs department that can help me to resolve my problem, then I fully expect that this department will have the knowledge to do so. Nothing less.

Here is what happens if as a special needs customer you phone Bell seeking services. If you are seeking statements in Braille or large print or assistance to get set up to receive your bills online, the friendly Bell customer service department will more often than not refer you to their special needs department. However, if you tell them that you would prefer them to help you because their special needs department is unable to help, then they will gladly assist you. I think that it is time for Bell to do something concrete about their special needs department. Train them or fire them!

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your freelance writer and reporter wishing you a terrific day.

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