Friday, February 26, 2010

the importance of customer service

A couple of months ago, we decided to install Comcast internet in the house. We've always had connection issues and the wireless was spotty at best. Comcast boasts the best the fastest connection speeds and few outages.  Unfortunately, because of how the house was initially wired we would also have to get Comcast cable. (At least that's what the Comcast install technician told me.)

Starting with the install and going through this week, Comcast has literally been a nightmare. I will spare you the details of my horrifying install experience. (I've started that post about 100 times, but never finished it) My install experience was so awful I received multiple calls from supervisors within the Comcast organization. Once the install was complete, the problems began. They didn't even activate the HD channels, the internet didn't function properly and on and on. I honestly called Comcast about 10 times within the first week of service.

Over the past couple of months the number of calls has decreased, but there have still been problems.  In fact, about a month ago I had an appointment with a technician that got cancelled by Comcast because they had "resolved the issue." Well, that wasn't the case. Earlier this week I called again to discuss the problems we were having. Our HD channels have never seemed to work properly - the picture quality is poor, the sound cuts out, just some strange stuff.  They decided the best thing to do was to have a technician come to the house to look into the problem.

Yesterday morning as I'm waiting for the technician to arrive, my internet suddenly goes dead and the cable is completely out.  Nothing is working.  I immediately call Comcast to see what is happening.  As usual, they tell me everything is great on their end so it must a problem in the house.  Fortunately, I have a technician schedule to come to the house within the next couple of hours. Until that time, there's nothing that can be done.

Enter Comcast Technician Shane. He is honestly my favorite Comcast employee even though our encounter was brief.  Comcast Technician Shane showed up on time and ready to help. While walking to the house he noticed a cable draped into the street. You see, when Comcast does an install in the winter, they can't bury the cable - makes perfect sense.  Well, the original installer had left about 1000 feet of cable to be used when it got buried in the spring. Apparently my cable and a snowplow had a showdown in the street earlier in the morning. You can guess who won. Comcast Technician Shane's first order of business was to install new cable; and an appropriate amount of cable. Hopefully the new cable's fate will allow it to survive until spring.

Comcast Technician Shane then came inside to check on things, but not before putting on some handy shoe covers. (I love that he had these since it was snowy and wet outside) First, he wanted to ensure the internet was up and running properly and receiving the necessary power and signal - check. Next, he ventured into the theater room to determine what was happening with the cable. He looked at a few things and then proceeded to the room with all the wiring. He quickly and easily determined that the signal strength needed a boost as the cable was being split to a second TV in the house. He ran to his truck, grab a cable power booster thingy (I do believe that is the technical name) and within 5 minutes it was installed and the cable was working perfectly.

I'm not so crazy as to believe everything with Comcast will run perfectly from this point forward. However, the importance of customer service cannot be overlooked. Every other encounter I've had with Comcast has been negative--its always a problem on my end, Comcast is never to blame and when the HD went out during the BCS national championship they offered my pay-per-view coupons as compensation. I get that this is how they are trained in the call center and feel that pay-per-view coupons are great compensation; these things just weren't the right course for me. Comcast Technician Shane arrived at my house with the attitude of service; he was there to fix my problems and get things working for me. He didn't tell me that Comcast wasn't at fault or that everything on Comcast's side was working great. He showed up, had already recognized a problem (remember that cable that met its fate with a snowplow) and was looking for solutions that met my needs. We need more people in the service industry like Comcast Technician Shane! They truly make all the difference.

And, yes, immediately after Comcast Technician Shane left, I called to leave a glowing report for his supervisor. I believe that good service deserves just as much recognition (and probably more) as poor service.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

its a training expense

As a self-proclaimed athlete, I'm able to justify many expenses in my life.  That cute yoga jacket - I need something to wear pre- and post race! New running skirt - I have to look cute when out on my run. A $6,000 bike - I'm certain it will make me faster (OK, I haven't been able to justify this one--yet)  A massage - absolutely! I can't think of a better way to relax my muscles and get them ready for the next tough workout.

Even with the justification of a massage, I just couldn't see the need/reason for an in home massage, until last night. Seriously, I had no idea that a massage could be so much better when brought to your home!

Last night I had the most amazing massage from jillmassage.  It was 90 minutes of pure bliss! And, once it was over all I had to do was crawl into my bed.  You should check out her services and rates - great prices and even better results!  Can't wait for my next session--and its completely justifiable!

Now, if only I had my own massage table, I wouldn't have to move until morning.

sugar lent

Not being Catholic, I've never participated in Lent. However, I have a roommate, who is also not Catholic, but who participates in Lent every year. This year we've established our own holiday "Sugar Lent." The premise behind this made-up holiday is the forgoing of all sugar, except on Sundays. Its all in a effort to be healthier and to aid us in our training for upcoming races.

I'd like to lay out the "rules" of this holiday.  Monday to Saturday, we can't eat any sugar--cookies, candy, cake, donuts, ice cream--you know, the good stuff.  However on Sunday, we can eat any form of sugar we want.  Of course there are always exceptions to the above "rules."

Items that you might think are taboo during sugar lent, but are in actuality legal:

gummy vitamins: hello! they're vitamins and you need to eat about 37 at breakfast, lunch & dinner
sugar coated cereal: I believe its fortified and has plenty of vitamins
chocolate covered almonds: protein - check, dairy - check, antioxidants - check
pretty much any fruit or nut that's chocolate covered: see above

I know I'm missing items on this list. Please let me know what other items might initially appear to be taboo, but actually have health benefits and are therefore legal during sugar lent.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

dating in the UC

The other day I went to lunch with my sister Mandy and Lucky (her adorable 18 month old daughter). As Mandy is visiting from Texas, we headed to one of my favorite Provo eateries: Nicolitalia. As we walked into the restaurant, there were a lot of people milling about the parking lot. We thought, "we got here at the right time" as about 20 people entered the restaurant behind us. We ordered our food and found a table in the back.

As we were enjoying our salads, this man who looked exactly like a British literature professor approached our table. Seriously, he had on a sweater vest, tweed jacket with elbow patches and a full beard; the only thing missing was the pipe. He stopped by to tell me that he really liked my boots.  However, he and his friends were wondering if I was going to be out in the field plowing later that day. I was wearing my wellies as I'm known to do on rainy days.  I told him "thanks, but no I wouldn't be out plowing in the fields or working the irrigation line" or any other such non-sense.  He walked away very satisfied with his witty remark about my attire.

A full 10 minutes later, he again approaches our table to ask me if I'm here for the "singles lunch group."  Before I can reply, he immediately turns to my sister and says, "I know you're not single, (he apparently noticed the giant rock adorning her left ring finger) but are you single?" I mumbled a "yea" not really wanting to admit to my singleness to this stranger.  And then proceeded to ask again, "Are you here for the singles lunch?"  I wish I could say that I simply told him no, but I didn't.  Instead I uttered, quite audibly, "Do I look desperate and pathetic." The thought of how offensive my remark was didn't even occur to me, before I said it, as I was saying it or even immediately following my saying it.  Fortunately, he didn't pick up on it either as he proceeded to talk to me.

There are only a few random details that I remember following my quite rude outburst.  1) I had to ask him to repeat his name twice 2) His creepy friend came bounding over to the table and my sister flashed her ring with even more gusto and 3) This line, to the great amusement of my sister, was used not once, but twice: "She's single, but not old enough to date" (while gesturing toward my 18 month old niece)

After these 2 single 30 somethings that, through sheer coincidence, were at the same restaurant as me returned to their table, I almost apologized to the couple sitting behind us.  What a horribly awkward encounter to be forced to witness.

It's always flattering to be singled out (pun intended). And, if nothing else, I'm always good for a funny "single" story and have no problem with others laughing at my expense. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

happy valentine's day!

I may not have a traditional Valentine, but I have an awesome brother.  Look at what I woke up to
- a delicious chocolate bowl filled with fresh fruit. Delish!!