Yesterday, my wife went about scheduling the new utilities to be turned on at our new Kentucky home and turned off at our California home. The contrast in the service, friendliness and ease of use was interesting. So much so, that she told me about it because it would make a good blog entry.

First she called the Kentucky utilities. For example, when she called the electric company, a nice lady named Sharon answered the phone. My wife asked if she could speak to the person who could help her schedule for the electricity to be turned on. Sharon replied "Well that would be me honey". It then only took a few minutes and at the end of the call, Sharon reminded my wife that if there were any issues to call her back and ask to speak to her because she would take care of everything. No credit check, no social sec number, no promise of our first born.

Next was the trash. This one was interesting because they do things a little differently. Out in California, we have been accustomed to having the city approved bins provided for us, having to separate the trash and paying big bucks for all of that. When my wife called the trash company, the lady asked if we wanted end of driveway or doorstop service. While our driveway is several hundred feet long and doorstop service would be nice and convenient, I have no problem bringing our trash to the street. My wife then asked when they would be bringing the cans by. The puzzled lady finally figured out what my wife was talking about and replied "You just get whatever ones you want at the hardware store". The lady also stated that we would just love "Bob" the trash guy. He is very helpful and friendly and everyone just loves him. Finally, to arrange payment my wife asked how much and if they needed a deposit. The lady responded that it was $15/mo service and that everything was on the honor system. "When we send you a bill, we expect you to pay it".

Those were typical examples of the Kentucky utility phone calls. Nothing apparently extraordinary until you follow it with the California calls. She probably wouldn’t have noticed a difference if she hadn’t made all the calls grouped together and the Kentucky/California calls back to back. Below are the California calls she experienced next.

Ring, ring…..(in an automated voice) for English, press one. For Spanish, press two.
If you want to disconnect service ,press one. To order new service, press two. For bill payment, press three. For account information, press four. For customer service, press five. To schedule a service call, press six. For all other inquiries, press zero. Finally, once you get through the proper touchtone maze, you will hear, "All of our customer service agents are busy but your call is important to us. Please hold for the next available agent". Quite a difference from speaking with Sharon who answered the phone on the second ring and was able to take care of all issues thrown to her. I guess Sharon is the ultimate phone answering, customer service system.

Thanks Sharon!