February 8, 2013 |

2009 January: Commentary

By Jeremy White

2009 January: CommentarySometimes, I just shake my head in amazement at the “customer service” I receive. Thankfully, I rarely receive poor service in a pizzeria. In fact, I visited both ends of the customer service spectrum this week — and the pizza shop was on the winning end.

Let’s start with the bad, shall we? Like many people, my home phone, Internet and cable television connections are all sourced to one company. The bundle saves me money every month, and I haven’t had much trouble with my service. Until recently.

My home phone stopped working on a Thursday night. On Friday, I called my service provider. It was late in the day, so they couldn’t get out to fix it that day. But they could send someone on Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to be out of town on Saturday. I requested a Sunday appointment. I was told the company doesn’t make calls on Sunday, which I understood. So I took a Monday appointment. You know the joy: they’ll be there between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Nice.

One problem: they never came. So I called to get to the bottom of it. I was told my appointment was actually for Tuesday, not Monday. The somewhat mechanical lady on the phone explained to me that I never had an appointment scheduled for Monday. I had one scheduled for Sunday that I had been rescheduled to Tuesday.

“What?” I asked. “I thought you didn’t do Sunday appointments.”

As it turns out, they do in fact schedule Sunday appointments when the problem is the phone, I was told. Now I was really upset. My phone could have been fixed on Sunday and I wouldn’t have had to waste my time waiting for the company to show up on Monday only to find out they made a scheduling error and weren’t coming until Tuesday.

It gets worse. A company representative shows up on Tuesday and fixes my phone in two minutes. After he’s gone I realize that though my phone was up and running, my Internet was now down for the count. So I call customer service once again and am put on hold several times. Finally, the problem gets fixed. No one had a good answer for this question: “Shouldn’t the technician have checked that my Internet and cable were still working after he tinkered with the phone?”

A few nights later, I call my favorite pizzeria to place a pick-up order. The friendly, perky voice on the line informs me that “We now have curbside service, sir. Would you like me to bring your food out to your car?”

It was cold and raining. A no-brainer for me. I pull into the designated spot 25 minutes later. I barely had time to get the vehicle into park before the aforementioned employee was standing next to my window, a big smile on her face and two bags of food in her hands. I look up to see how she spotted me so quickly and notice the camera pointed towards the three curbside pickup parking spots. She got it right the first time and did so with a smile. I wish my cable company could learn a lesson from my local pizzeria.

Jeremy White, editor-in-chief