Posts tagged Telus
I think it’s safe to say that the smart phone wars are on. When the iPhone hit the market I originally thought that Apple had played their hand to put all other mobile phone manufacturers soundly out of business but I was wrong. RIM and their Blackberry stepped up their game and then Android hit the market in full force with their own brand of touch screen phones. The only real casualty has been Symbian in all the hurly burly…so far.
From the UK INQ staked their claim and entered last year with the INQ Chat 3G and I attended the Toronto launch party. I got to demo the phone and to be quite frank I thought the INQ Chat 3G was too little too late especially with the competition being as stiff as it was. Fast forward to this year and INQ was all to happy to send me their new phone, The INQ Cloud Touch, to review. Before I start the review, let me put things in perspective: I have been a prisoner of Blackberry for a year now. The interface and all the glitches (i.e. replacing my painstakingly collected friend pics with doubles of another contact’s face) and general datedness of my Blackberry has plagued me for some time. I’ve missed just about every opportunity to get a Blackberry Torch or similar device so I’ve been stuck with a Bold 9700 for ages. So when I got to try the new Android-based INQ Cloud Touch it was a breath of beautiful, fresh air. On to the review.
I did an unboxing for you and the contents of the little INQ box are pretty straightforward. In the box is the phone, a saucy manual with people kissing on the cover, warranty, earbuds and charging apparatus. On closer inspection though I was delighted to note that the earbuds have a silicone sleeve where your ears make contact and they are SUPER comfortable. You can wear them all day and not get that ache you get from regular iPhone earbuds. In fact I’m wearing them right now as I write this post and everything is peachy. The sound is great too and they double as a hands free headset. Slick. Also in the box is the AC adapter with a detachable cable that can plug into your computer for data transfer or USB charging. I really like that feature as having just one cable means less clutter around my workstation.
You may have heard the INQ Cloud Touch being referred to as the “Facebook phone” and that would not be too far from accurate. The phone is optimized for Facebook because the popular social network is baked right into the DNA of the Cloud Touch to make it a truly “social phone”. Most of the Facebook integration happens right at the home screen with 4 simple buttons and a home feed. The “People” button shows what your top 5 facebook friends are doing in dedicated feeds. It’s a great function that let’s you stay abreast of your closest pals’ activities. Although the INQ Cloud Touch chooses those friends for you based on the frequency of interaction, you’re not locked into the automatic choices and can specify your own list of friends to get the scoop on. Simple and elegant. The Calendar button is a fantastic thing for the downtrodden blackberry user like me. It seamlessly integrates your Facebook and Google Calendar so you’ll never miss an appointment of birthday again! It’s been really handy for me these past two weeks and I’ve found myself on top of all my tasks and not buried under them. The Notifications button is pretty self-explanatory and will connect you directly to your facebook notifications feed to see what’s happening in the world. Finally the “Places” button lets you use Facebook Places to check in at the touch of a button. Although I am a Foursquare user, I found that having Places so easily accessible made me more likely to use it since it was right on the front of my phone. The home feed, which takes up the majority of the home screen, shares content from your Facebook friends that have the most media attached to it. So links, videos, pics etc will find their way to the home screen and you can click on them to see what’s up. Of course there’s Facebook chat which works just like the web version so you’re never too far to be reached.
I was big into the soft key on the left side of the phone which brings up a dashboard that EASILY lets you control the Time and date, alarms, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, modes etc. it also give you a good estimate about how much battery time you have left and how much of your battery is used by what applications. This is something that seems unique to the INQ Cloud Touch and was one of the single most useful things on the phone. I was also a big fan of the INQ Type function that does a global search for any term you type in. It will search the phone, SD card, the app store and the internet for whatever it is you’re looking for. So if you’re ever in doubt just swipe from the bottom up and you get INQ Type. The 5 megapixel camera is also accessible from the front screen for when you need to get an opportune snap quickly. However there is no flash which could be an issue in darker environments. What’s also notable about this phone is that it’s pretty speedy with it running Android 2.2 so I rarely had any problems with loading stuff up. That’s great because you can run all kinds of apps while listening to music on the DoubleTwist app that loads up when you press the softkey on the bottom right.
All said and done the INQ Cloud Touch is a fully featured Android phone and a HUGE improvement from the INQ Chat 3G. It’s also comes at a very affordable price compared to most smartphones. On a 3-year term it’s only $29.99 or $229.95 with no contract – that’s cheap! I think the price point alone for an affordable Android phone with all those features will make it a real contender for market share in the smart phone wars. Have a look at the specs and prices on Telus‘ site or on Koodo and let me know what you think of the phone down below!
Can I keep it? Huh huh?
Yesterday I posted a factual but admittedly scathing post about my experience with Telus customer support; in particular their loyalty and retentions department.
I was very polite for 98% of the conversation until all communications broke down with the particular rep I was dealing with. This was two days ago and I just did not want to think about this till today. It just left a really bad taste in my mouth after being on the phone for over an hour hammering home the same point.
Casie DMed me today and got me thinking, so this morning I called Telus back to follow up on my previous call with them and I was shocked at the difference one person can make in a company. I spoke to a very polite lady named Shawna and she calmly and professionally explained the benefits of sticking with Telus at the end of my year and signing up. With regards to the mandatory new phone issue, she was attentive and empathetic while still upholding the company’s policies. I could not help but be receptive and listen attentively due to her pleasant and sincere manner. This person really cares about her customers and the real kicker is that she’s not even in the retentions and loyalty department! As far as I know, she’s a front line rep!
It goes to show two things:
1. I am reasonable and not above conceding a “defeat” when shown the indisputable error of an opinion I may have or the blunt edge of an axe that I may have been grinding.
2. Anyone can make a big difference at any level of an organization if they stay professional, courteous and sincere.
Shawna’s customer service was so great that by the end of the call I was more than ready to sign up with Telus, and come Christmas season you can be sure that I will be speaking to Telus again, pen in hand. She really listened to me and did not interrupt me. It was really relieving to not have to go to battle and the call was not long at all. Shawna stayed on the high road of professional conduct and used her ears and mouth in the proportion that she was given them: two to one.
I understand that maybe the rep from Loyalty whom I initially had contact with the other day may have just been having a bad day. In fact, during the “honeymoon” part of our long conversation, I even told her that I am sympathetic about the fact that she probably has to deal with hundreds of irate customers as I could already sense a distinct lack of patience from the get go. However professionalism still is paramount and I don’t want to fault Telus as a whole just because of one isolated incident where only negative variables and factors lined up to make a bad experience – it was the end of the work day, she could have had a particularly bad day, she may have just finished a call with someone way worse than me and had no break.– it’s no excuse for that rep and I don’t know what it was that may have put her in that mood before even talking to me, but I’m willing to forgive and forget in light of today’s very different experience.
Thank you Shawna for making my experience with Telus 100% better and thank you Telus for having the good sense to employ fantastic CSRs like Shawna. Keep it up and your competitors will follow your example.
My humble apologies.
UPDATE: I just spoke to a front line CSR at Telus and she was really great! See my next post where I take a new perspective on Telus.
On a side note, before I begin, I wanna say that WordPress for BlackBerry kinda sucks. I had this post all written up yesterday, saved it to drafts and it’s nowhere to be found!
Well it’s official, the Canadian cell phone carrier market is a real crapshow. Did you know that Canadians have the most expensive cell phone carrier plans in the world? This is not an exaggeration! Here are the stats to prove it! I think they problem is caused by the “Big three” carriers who have up till this point had a complete monopoly on cell service. Although this year we finally got some competition in the market from Wind, Mobilicity and Public, I’m not really seeing prices go down on service and what’s more, based on personal experience, it doesn’t seem that the big three, particularly Telus, are hungry to beat the competition!
Why? Because although the new cell phone startups are indeed pretty good, the big three knows that unless you’re in a major city center like Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver, you’re pretty much S.O.L. and stuck with choosing either Rogers, Telus or Bell (and maybe Fido). Maybe in the future, IF the new guys can build enough cell towers and coverage to compete we may see some real movement but until then the big three are still running the show.
I had a run-in yesterday with Telus retentions and I’ve gotta say that their retentions department was a nightmare. Here’s the skinny: I signed up almost a year ago with Telus with an unlocked phone and got a whole lot of features without a contract. They must have been so worried about Wind that they were willing to go the extra mile. Up till now I thought Telus was great and after being a mistreated Bell customer for years, I was happy that Telus was so accommodating. But this lady from retentions tells me that unless I sign a contract, the features I enjoyed for the past year will be charged to me AND that I must buy a new phone in order to enter said contract. Why the hell would I have to buy a new phone to sign a contract!? They said that “it’s the only way to enter a contract.” Ridiculous. To read a censored transcript of our conversation, click here. I tried to keep it as accurate as possible, at least from memory. I censored out the parts where she got all personal and went into semantic when I was trying to stick to business. Those of you who I’ve done business with know well that when I am in business mode I am very stuck to the facts.
You need only take one look at an iPhone or BlackBerry forum and look around a bit and you will see people foaming at the mouth about bad service. You would think that with the new kids in town on the scene (Wind, Mobilicity etc) that the big three would be a little more professional in being competitive.
So here’s the deal Telus. I’m not buying a new phone from you unless I need one. I don’t want to go on a contract but if you just can’t live without it, I will sign one for a year and then you can grandfather my features when it’s over.