Saturday, September 30, 2006

Simultaneous Honors

Let this be the first dual posting to the S**T List and the N**E List: The Orkin Man.

The bad

This award goes to the Orkin call center. We called Orkin to deal with our flea problem. The timing was convenient because Kelly and I were about to leave on a four day vacation. Kelly explained to the representative that we needed to have the work done on the day we left because she's pregnant and would not be able to reenter the house. Kelly had already consulted her doctor, and was told to stay away for at least two days. Several times during the conversation, Kelly requested clarification about flea treatment and the effects on her pregnancy.

The representative assured her that the treatment was safe and she would be able to reenter the house after half an hour. He even went so far as to say that he had his house treated every month while his wife was pregnant. We didn't believe any of this for a second, but scheduled the appointment anyway.

When the Orkin team arrived it became clear that they weren't aware of the situation. When we said "fleas," the technician said that his paperwork was for "occasional invaders." Fleas, he said, are a whole different ball game and a more expensive service. Then, we mentioned the pregnancy and he just about hit the roof.

I was starting to sense that we may have to reschedule this appointment and I started asking probing questions to see if we were going to get the run-around.

The Good

Thankfully, the technician/manager from the local response team directed his disgust at the call center and not us. When I asked him if he came prepared for fleas he said that they brought everything along, because you never know what you'll find once you're in a house. That was a minor relief, because now I knew we were getting service regardless of the situation. I really didn't care that he said the flea treatment was an extra hundred dollars. I just wanted this work done!

While I showed the trainee around and explained what we needed, the technician was on his phone dealing with the call center. He was obviously upset that his paperwork said nothing about fleas or an expectant mother. Incidentally, the technician was a large and intimidating black man. I'm certain that the person on the other end of this conversation was having a very bad day by the time he was through. I know I wasn't ready to argue with this guy.

This manager deserves a N**E List award because he dealt with the entire situation without questioning or arguing with us, the customer. He also stuck to the original quote without any attempt to haggle. I didn't have to ask, he simply offered to do the work at the same price! Where do you find those kind of ethics these days?