Saturday, March 12, 2011

Customer Dis-Service

I work for a power utility company. In the deregulated Texas market, the local electric delivery company doesn't sell electricity; we only deliver electricity. It's kind of like how FedEx doesn't sell packages, it merely sells the delivery of packages. The analogy is imperfect because (unlike FedEx, which uses public roadways to convey packages to your doorstep) we own, maintain and have exclusive control of the pathway by which electrons make their way to your home's breaker panel. And no one expects FedEx to deliver sixty packages per second, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to over 3,000,000 homes.

Anyway, the point of all this is merely that reliable electrical service is the only focus of the company I work for. Obviously, there are times when the damage to our grid is so extensive that it takes more than a few minutes to restore service to that customer. But the fact is, whenever we learn that any customer's lights have gone out, we react immediately to restore power as quickly as possible.

So it came as a surprise to me when (after an AT&T construction crew inadvertently disconnected our DSL line and we called the AT&T service department to have AT&T repair the damage that AT&T had done) AT&T's reply was to promise a repairman within the next five days. That a utility company could treat its customers with such cavalier contempt was a revelation to me. In my frustration I may have spoken some less than Christian words to the hapless Hindu on the AT&T help desk, as I tried to explain in no uncertain terms that this was no way for a company to treat those who send it money regularly. I must confess that I did derive a modicum of satisfaction (though no effective results) from my rant.

But clearly my tirade was nowhere near as satisfying as the prank these guys pulled on the Belgian government-run telephone company. (Even though these guys are speaking Flemish, be sure to turn up the sound or you'll miss some of the humor.)


joyce said...

excellent !

joyce said...

word verification: carimnis: an infection of the carim

Jerry said...

I haven't laughed like that in quite some time!

carib: small voraciously carnivorous freshwater fishes of South America that attack and destroy living animals

(There is something positively non-random to the word verifications.)

Bag Blog said...

That was pretty funny. I gave up on AT&T years ago. I may have used a voice that went up several octaves when I canceled my account.

Ladybug Crossing said...

When the Verizon guy accidentally cut our phone line - while installing Mom and Dad's, they told us it would be a week before they could fix it. Why they couldn't fix what they broke while they were here is beyond me...
And, FYI: it was exactly 7 days before they showed up to fix it.
Unfortunately, I have no choice over my phone service... can't just do cell phone because it doesn't work out here.
It's all fun and games...

Moogie P said...

Absolutely priceless! My husband works for an electric utility, too, and we are consistently flabbergasted by the inefficiency of simple municipal services in New Orleans.

Thanks for the giggle!

Rita said...

Now that was worth 10 minutes of my time. I'm totally stealing that video.

Btw, not that it would work for a utility company, but for those annoying computer tech calls after you already know you checked to see if your PC is plugged in, blah blah blah, I have been told when you get the first tech, tell them you need to be directed to a "tech two". Supposedly that is the next line up in the food chain who won't just read a script that you can't understand anyway.

O/T - Can't believe you're still playing Word Verification game. I remember when you first added that.

And my word is now is Sormen. Now that's an easy on to relate to.

Geez, just typed it wrong. Now it's swadsoma.