Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wait Rage

Want to start a business in Houston Texas and make a million dollars? Open an Air Conditioning Company. Want to make a Zillion dollars? Actually provide service.

Today, through my Home Service Warranty, Fleet Air Conditioning who services their contract (yes I am naming names) told me to be at home between 10 and 2. Now, they knew and I knew the likelyhood that they would be there between these hours was oh SLIM AND NONE. And they weren't.

So, I cancelled a movie with my kids and their friends for 10:50-12:00p.m. No show for them and the A/C guy no show either. What a surprise!

I had a client meeting from 3:45-4:45 p.m. Guess when Mr. Fleet A/C showed up? That's right 3:49 p.m. And guess when he left? Righto again: 4:45 p.m.

The thing that really galled me, though, was the utter contempt the receptionist/scheduler had when I called and asked for a narrower time estimate, or, at the least a 30 minute call-ahead so I could prepare. Her nasty attitude was my first Fleet interface after calling at least 20 times to get through. They only begin answering phones at 9 a.m. The guys get on the road at 9 a.m. NOT 8 a.m., not 7 a.m. Never at a time when a working person could actually be helped.

So, I received no schedule and no warning call. I did receive loads of nasty. My day was wasted. My client's time interrupted.

If I had been an hourly employee or worked outside my home I would have missed a day of pay all to wait on someone who showed up nearly two hours past the promised time.

I understand that managing the logistics of something as unpredictable as AC repair is a challenge. But it is not impossible. Surely there is a software program that could help this company be more efficient.

Surely they have heard of Six Sigma or something like it. Couldn't they make a more customer-service oriented service?

Yes they could. But why do it? They have all the business they want. Actually, more than they seem to want judging by the implicit message "you're lucky you're getting a visit today, we could make you wait".

Guess who won't be receiving my business in the future when the A/C problem that the tech diagnosed came when the house was built (nevermind that there hasn't been an A/C problem in 7 years, but I digress)? That's right Fleet Air Conditioning.
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