An Empowered Employee at SBC

We received a notice in the mail today confirming the new DSL service for our
office. For only $44.99 a month, we would be connected to the “Pro” speed DSL
service. There was only one problem, we had signed up for service at $36.99.

Our DSL activation with SBC
has been a circus. We called before our move in, stating that we would be
assuming occupancy at the first of the month, and that the existing tenants of
the space should not be disturbed. The next day we receive a call from the
existing tenants, the SBC tech was there to hook up phone service- as if it was
even remotely possible to have service hooked up the day following one’s call.

When we were ready to move into the space, our original appointment did not
show up in the system, and the activation for our phone and internet service had
been pushed back. This required several calls to SBC, which did not result in
the usual greeting and promise of, “how can I provide you with excellent service

There were some bright spots in our dealings with SBC however. The tech that
was eventually dispatched was excellent. He hooked up all of our jacks and
configured our phones, and without charging us the standard per jack fee that
would have amounted to hundreds of dollars.

This brings me back to today’s notice. When I called SBC to inquire about the
bill, the representative, Steve, checked the account. Despite the fact that the
account was still pending, and he could not make changes today, he said he would
make a note and take the appropriate steps to fix the problem.

Wrapping up the call, we got to talking about the process of DSL activation.
That’s when Steve offered to credit me for a month because of the difficulty we
had with the process. That was a great gesture, and I appreciated it given all
the problems we had. When I compare this experience with the sequence of
indifference and denials I faced speaking
with Nextel representatives
, it is clear the value of empowered employees,
especially in large organizations.

It’s not that we never receive complaints concerning customer service. We
recently received a complaint from a customer with a concern about his bill. The
customer was a valued client, and rather than argue over billing, we just told
him to pay what he thought was a fair price for the work we completed. Again, to
do this, employees need to be empowered to think and make decisions, rather than
just blindly follow policies or procedures.