Thursday, February 05, 2015

Positive Feedback

I'm dramatic, I know.This world gives us many things to complain about or be disappointed by. When you're pissed off about something, you're likely to let others know about it. I do just that whenever I think it might end up helping somebody else out down the line.

But that means I also have to play my part in encouraging great service. From yesterday's post you may remember that I had People's Gas scheduled to come out and fix our screeching meter this morning. I cannot express how much I was dreading this visit. I mean, yeah, I wanted the noise to stop, but everything about gas lines freaks me out and I had visions of our place exploding into a magnificent fireball. I also had resigned myself to the fact that the serviceman would arrive precisely within the half-hour window when I was alone with both Des and our dog and it would be total chaos. I was positive that he would run into problems disconnecting our stove, furnace, water heater and dryer. I had visions of our inside pipe valves breaking and the visit escalating into an emergency (which has actually happened in the past). Like I said, I was just dreading this whole thing.

But none of it happened. Desmond and his nanny were leaving for "story time" just as the service guy arrived, so if the fireball erupted, at least they would be safe. I scrambled to secure my dog upstairs and built little barricades around the freshly painted areas I was most concerned he'd destroy. (Dogs aren't allowed in the unit where the serviceman is, they made that very clear. But our Wrigley tends to have extreme separation anxiety issues, so I feared he would not do well alone.)
5 stars for People's Gas!
The guy took about 5 minutes to replace the outside meter. Then he came in and ensured all of the connected appliances worked and that the air that got into the pipes during the switch had made its way out. (Proof of this was our stove-top burners flickering down completely and then eventually coming back on.) Everything worked. There was no drama. It didn't take up my entire day. Nothing exploded. We would live! And we wouldn't have to deal with the shrieking meter anymore. The new one was smooth and silent.

I viewed all of this as some sort of miracle because nothing ever ever ever ever goes right with a service visit to our place. Ever. On top of all that, the People's Gas rep was totally nice, efficient and went above and beyond in checking to make sure everything was working properly again and explaining how we might end up getting a credit once the old meter was tested for accuracy.

Corny but I love itWhen he left, I offered him a tip. He said thanks, but he wasn't allowed to accept any money. I was impressed he stuck to that code. We said our goodbyes. I went back inside and then thought of something. I ran back onto the deck.

"Hey, what's your name? I want to call Customer Service and say how smooth everything was!"

His entire face lit up. He gave me his name and employee number and said he would really appreciate any positive comments.

And so right before I started this post I called People's Gas and just waited on the line since there was no phone-tree option for compliments. I eventually reached someone who took down all of the information and said it would be routed by email to our guy's supervisor. Yay!

Now I feel bad about not leaving a positive comment on a service-related web site for some guys who helped us with the most ridiculous issue we've ever had here this past summer. It's too painful to recount in detail, but it has to do with another contractor dropping cement bricks and other materials down our chimneys, which blocked our furnace and hot-water heater vents, which had the effect of slowly poisoning us with carbon monoxide. The guys who figured out what happened and fixed it were the ones I meant to leave positive feedback for.
Buddha knows
But the reality is that it would most likely still be appreciated, and positive feedback can probably never come too late. And so that's what I'll go do now. Because it's really easy--and almost second nature these days--to pitch a fit loudly and publicly on social media when a product or service sucks. My view is that if I want to avoid experiencing nothing but crappy service from disgruntled employees, I need to go the extra step to encourage the people who are making an effort. If your waitress was attentive, leave her a little more. If a dude just slaved away fixing a leak in your house for two hours, tip him well. Say thanks. Send an email or make a call to let someone's boss know that they exceeded your expectations. Good karma will come back to you, I promise.

- e

1 comment:

Denise Schimmoeller said...

So glad it worked out. You probably made that guy's day! I had a super positive experience with a Shutterfly representative after the discounts I tried to use repeatedly froze my screen. I didn't remember to get the name of the representative that helped me. Hence, I tweeted my thanks, and Shutterfly saw it and retweeted and made it a favorite. It made me feel good!