I am an independent consultant and I work out of my home much of the time, this means I have an office in my home. My office has two desks so I can work effectively on either my laptop or at my desktop computers. I have bookshelves full of books focused on what I do for a living. My office is a true working office, this is where the phone system for the house is hardwired and where the internet is hardwired, my server is here along with other backup. My office is the hub, if something goes wrong in my office we are in deep doodoo.
I love my office, I picked this space because it is in the front of the house and I have a big picture window. I can see when UPS drives up and when the neighbor’s dogs are running the streets (again). I can watch the Magnolia tree up the street bloom, it is beautiful and the teenager next door make-out with her boyfriend. All this being said, it is still my office. I spend a significant portion of my time in this one single room of the house when I am not with clients at their offices. This means my office must function, telephones and cable must work all the time and for this, I pay a very pretty penny.
Now, I don’t know about where you live but where I live there isn’t a competitive market for phone and internet services. Sure, you can get your television on Satellite or Dish, and there are a few different ways to get internet services each less reliable than the next. There are also several ways to buy land line services, but if you spend any amount of time on international calls, again these services become less reliable and more costly (always read the fine print).
When we moved to the Dallas area, we hunted for the best service group we could find at the best price. We had purchased a brand spanking new house so could add connections where we wanted and needed them. We settled
on a bundled package from the only game in town, shocking I know but at the end of the day, they were the best price and the only one who provided all the services we needed. Only one problem, they failed to do the job they were paid for properly…..did you see that coming. Of, course you did.
Fast forward, three years after the original cable was laid I called them to mark the cable so we could add a walkway without cutting the cable. They marked it, no they didn’t. Their mark was 7 inches off and we found out they hadn’t buried the cable deep enough. Needless to say, my contractor cut the cable and I was suddenly without Internet or a landline. I called the cable company, here is the conversation:
Me: My cable has been cut and I don’t have service, when can you be out to fix it?
Cable Representative: Next week, our next appointment is Tuesday between noon and 6pm
Me: That is 6 days from now; I cannot be without Internet or phone service for 6 days. I run a business from my home and this will shut me down.
Cable Representative: We don’t show this as a business account. This is a residential account. There is nothing else we can do.
Me: Are you kidding me? If this were a business account when would you be out here?
Cable Representative: Tomorrow
Me: And how much more would it cost me to convert my account to a business account?
Cable Representative: $78 per month + taxes
Me: So, despite that it is your fault the cable was cut the only way I get service from your company is to pay $78 + taxes per month extra. If I convert today, will you be out tomorrow?
Cable Representative: Yes
Me: Fine, convert the account to a business account, immediately.
I take full advantage of my status as a business account holder. That day though, that next day when they came out to lay new cable I had my contractor there to watch them. He made certain they buried it to the correct 6 inch depth rather than what they had done before which was barely under the surface. He made certain they stayed right there while we tested every connection in the house, wouldn’t sign off the work order until we did.
The fascinating and twisted part of this entire situation was the complete lack of concern shown by this company for their customer. There are a few reasons there was no services to the house, they are:
- Their contractor had originally not buried the cable to the required 6 inch depth.
- Their contractor had not correctly identified the location of the cable.
- Frankly, they contract these services and do not hold their contractors to any standard.
I stand by my view of us as a nation. We are meaner and so driven by the bottom line we fail to value people. What if I had been a housebound person,
someone with a health condition whose only access to the outside world was television, internet and the phone; I would have no access for 6 days because this company did not see me as important of valuable?
Is this what we are coming to; is this who we are? Worse, is this truly who we want to be?