We all know issues can arise when dealing with large companies we are essentially compelled to do business with because they provide a service we need. This is on the high chagrin level about one of them.
At the end of September I booked on-line a furnace maintenance check with our natural gas provider. The appointment was set for yesterday, October 28th. I received an email confirmation of the date and the four hour time block for the technician to appear, since as we know it’s apparently the responsibility of we the customer to be flexible with our time.
Last week I received a letter from the energy provider indicating that I had not yet booked a service call, and should attend to it as soon as possible. Naturally, I was more than a little curious as to what happened to the appointment previously set up on line. So I called the company.
I was informed that, notwithstanding my email receipt of the confirmed date, no record of this was showing in their corporate bookings. No explanation could be provided as to this obvious error at their end. The best that could be done was to send a detailed note higher up in the administrative chain, hopefully clarifying if the maintenance date was still on, and meanwhile to ‘play it safe’ by setting up a fallback date in late November. My phone call ended with an assurance I would receive a phone call before the end of the week to verify the situation status.
Naturally, I received no follow-up phone call.
On Monday this week, the day before the original booked date, I phoned the company to see what was going on. I was advised, no problem, the service man would be there the next day. Even after providing my file reference number, there was no explanation available as to why I wasn’t phoned back. While pleased with the original date seemingly still in place, I asked if at least we could be called by the service rep prior to his arriving so we wouldn’t be left wondering until he actually showed up. I was told, sure no problem, as long as he had a phone with him at the time (apparently, sometimes they don’t).
Guess what, right in the middle of the time block yesterday the service man appeared. While speaking with him, I noted the events of the events leading up to this visit, and that presumably he was one of those without ready access to a phone. He told me, no, that wasn’t the case, he had only received a directive a little earlier telling him where his next appointment was. He didn’t seemed too stunned about my detail revelations.
Given the resources, both in staff and salaries, that are allocated to these essentially quasi-public service institutions, it is very disappointing to see how easily problematic anecdotal experience compounds.