Recently I had to work with a utility company on behalf of a woman whom our church was assisting financially. The woman was getting nowhere with the company, so I tried to help her with the process. It took eight calls to them before I could speak with a supervisor who would hear my concerns and rectify the billing problems the customer had. In the first five calls, five different customer service representatives each told me different information about how the woman’s situation.
One told me everything was paid up. Another told me that the customer had a $500 balance. Another told me they’d ask the back office to research the issue, and I could call back in 2-3 days for an answer. I did, and I was told that that timeline was wrong; it would take 5-7 days for the research to be completed. After that time had passed, I called back. That representative told me the timeline was wrong; it would take 4-6 weeks. By the time I got to the supervisor, who was very kind and understanding, I suggested to her that some training was needed to improve consistency among the representatives. She sighed and explained that in the last year, not only had they fired the original company to whom they outsourced the customer service calls and then hired a new company, the utility company had also begun to use a new computer system. Balances paid during certain months were not credited to customers’ accounts, past due and termination notices were sent out incorrectly, and the new employees didn’t have much training to handle any of it. I felt so sorry for her and said so. She said brightly, “I’ve just learned that there are never problems; there are only opportunities. And every morning I come to work, I am faced with all sorts of opportunities.” Read more