Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

14 Nov

Last week, I wrote a blog post about Zaxby’s and their terrible customer service. For some reason, it was one of my most popular posts. Most of the email replies fell into two camps. One, I agree with you and your boycott. Two, you are correct, but I put up with their atrocious service because their product is good.

I have become convinced that the reason so many of us put up with terrible customer service is because it is so prevalent that it doesn’t stand out. Bad public relations and customer service are everywhere. As I think about the things I have consumed in the last week, I realize that I am generally treated poorly. Now, I still believe that Zaxby’s customer service is above and beyond (or should I say, below and before), and I am continuing with my boycott conclusion, but this is chapter two of my complaint corner.:)

This time my complaint is about Teco Peoples Gas. They are the local provider of natural gas in my area, and yes, they are a complete monopoly. Now I don’t really like the idea of protected monopolies, in general, but I do understand how the prices of utilities are, in general, benefited by doing so. Nevertheless, I had my second run-in with them in the past few years (though since they only bill once a month, that’s relatively frequent).

This happened after I paid my bill during the extended weekend. They then decided that this (Wednesday) afternoon was the perfect time to turn off our gas. Everyone makes mistakes, and I am willing to forgive, but apparently, they feel we need to pay them to turn our power back on. They concede that we paid the bill. They just say that they didn’t have time to update the records to the guy who was turning off the gas. Yet, their records being the issue, I figured that we would not need to pay a “re-activation” fee.

They told me that I should be more prompt in paying the bill. That is probably true, but they don’t mail out bills (this is another pet peeve of mine). They only let you pay online. I’m not really offended by that, but I have no idea when the bills come. And if I do decide to pay, they have assigned me a password that I cannot change to what I want to change it to. So, in order to pay online, they have to mail me a new password (wouldn’t it just be easier to mail the stupid bill?).

I guess this situation is better than the last time they frustrated me. That happened when they disputed that I actually paid the bill. I showed the money coming out of my bank account and yet, they refused to credit me the $30 and made me pay the $70 reconnect fee. I guess the worst part is I CAN’T boycott them, unless I decide to only take cold showers and never run the heat. As motivated as I may be, I think that is cruel to my children. So, I put up with it. But I don’t have to like it, do I?

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