July 7, 2009
I have not been able to read the text of this specific motion, but had received an email stating that my current concern was being addressed by this motion, so I will simply give a few (hopefully) specific comments regarding customer service. If my comments seem inappropriate for this motion, please contact me back, and I will make my comments elsewhere, or forward them to the proper people to be receiving these comments.
I find the customer service aspects of Nicor Gas to be abysmal. Due to the current economic state, I ended up behind in my payments to them. When I received 2 bills simultaneously, I assumed they were identical. I paid what I could ($200) from the one bill, not knowing that the other was different and was a disconnection notice, and was told later by a customer service rep that had I contacted Nicor with that $200 payment, I could have avoided disconnection. I learned this after I was disconnected later in the week.
At the point of this writing, I have been re-connected, but it was just over a month that my household (9 people) were without gas. Granted, it took me about 1 1/2 weeks to make arrangements to get the entire amount owed to be paid, and then another several days due to a mistake at the bank, but at the time I was learning what I needed to do to get reconnected, Nicor told me it would be 2-3 business days after the payment was made that I would be able to be reconnected. It turned out to be 5 business days for the appointment, and then no one came to the house, but, reported that they had been here, and there was no answer. So, at first was going to be another seek before we could get another appointment, until I got angry about the situation, and then they had someone out the next day.
The reason I write all this is not so you know the details, but to say a few specific facts that I've learned as a result of my experience:
-Nicor reps are not consistent in what they tell people
-Their policy of having a customer service rep return a call within 72 hours is ridiculous
-There is a lack of sensitivity to people's situation until they get angry (why should I HAVE to get angry to get decent customer service?)
-If anyone DID come to my house on that first appointment, they sure didn't try very hard to see if anyone was home - we have a dog that's a better doorbell than any on the market. No one steps on our front porch that we don't know about it. So why did the service rep lie about coming to our house?
Customer service in utility companies should be no different than any other company. I believe because we HAVE to utilize them, they take more of a back seat approach to customer service; if it has to happen, it will sort of happen. No one WANTS to have their gas shut off, and go through the inconvenience and hassle and figuring out what NOT to pay so they can get gas service again. It's not a pleasant place to be. And Nicor sure doesn't make it any easier.
John W Hill, Jr.