Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Plumber Buzz

So my dad owns a popular plumbing company within the suburbs of where I live.

As you know last week I was handling the admin side of my parent's company so that my dad and mom could peacefully hang out with the Gates and Fog of San Fran. My work week began last week on Saturday the 16Th of August until Monday August 25Th around lunch time. I remotely attempted to manage everything from answering the phone calls (call forwarding rocks!!), payroll, filing, stamping, scheduling-- you know, administrative duties. It was a breath of fresh air to "play office" and a nice change from dishpan hands, that's for sure.

Not sure if you are aware of this but when customers call in needing a plumber, they want the plumber to come out right away no matter if it's double time and a half or time and a half or if all the plumbers are on a commercial job site, as my dad's company frequently is. Their particular issue is the most important issue that needs solving/plumbing immediately.

Like the woman that had 3.5 bathrooms and one of her toilets were draining slowly which meant that she couldn't use it. After instructing her to turn the valve to stop the toilet from running, and advising her of when we could schedule her for a service call, she grew pissy when she couldn't have the plumber out that afternoon, because, "gasp, she only had 2.5 toilets to chose from."

Or like the man that had a kitchen sink that was leaking near the faucet area which meant he couldn't use the faucet in his kitchen sink. Natural gripe right? Natural to want someone out to repair it right now because when you're used to using the kitchen sink to wash your veggies, and hands, pork and spoons, it's an adjustment that is quite similar to using your opposite hand to write with. So of course there would be some vexation when the guy is told, "We can schedule you for the first call, first thing tomorrow, now what is the model of your fixture?"

Typical annoyance, and even though I am the plumbers daughter, I can still relate to these customers. But not when the reason you need your faucet fixed AAAAAA SAP is because you're leaving to go out of town and you want this repaired so that the ghost of your house can run the water at night without causing waterlogged cleaning supplies located underneath your sink. Silly nonsense.

People, if you're going out of town, you don't need your repairs done before you leave if the service is unable to meet your scheduling needs and you happen to wait until the last minute to call for non emergency type things. Arrange it for the first day that you're back from your trip. Unless of course your "household haunter" gets ticked when he can't wash his hands in the kitchen sink in the middle of the night.

Demanding people I tell you. For someone that doesn't deal with this daily, all year round, for the most part it is a humorous thing. It's funny to hear the customers grow huffy when you can't meet their needs right now.

Up until yesterday I had thought I had heard it all from my time of "playing office." (I must also mention that this isn't the first time I have helped out remotely, back in June, mid month, I helped then. Plus on and off in the office since moving back home from Florida, as well as when I was 15 years old. My first "real job," I worked for my dad in the office for the entire summer. You can assume that I have a fairly good idea on how to navigate things in the pipes and rod-ing world. Naturally you grow "rusty" when you're not used to it, but all in all it's just like riding a bicycle.)

Up until I received a call yesterday morning at 7:13 am:

GUY: "uh, yeah, I need someone to come out here right away, there are noises coming from my kitchen."
ME: "okay sir, and your name and telephone number please?"
GUY: 'mumble mumble speed racer with his number' (SLOW DOWN! You're not at a car auction for the love of Plymouth Plumb, take your time and speak clearly when providing businesses with your requested return telephone number)
ME: "That's, 555-1234, is that correct?"
GUY: "Yes."
ME: "Have you utilized our services in the past?"
GUY: "No."
ME: "Well, it's a pleasure to speak with you 'Mr Guy', thank you for calling 'OUR COMPANY', how were you referred to 'OUR COMPANY'?"
GUY: "a friend of a friend of a cousin of a friend."
ME: "Great, thanks! So, you're saying that there's a noise coming from your kitchen, is that correct?"
GUY: "yes" (Sounds like he's in his mid 60's)
ME: "Is there any water anywhere? Anything draining slowly? Or just a noise?"
GUY: "Just a noise, and it's coming from the wall I think, it's every 10minutes and it sounds almost like a buzzing quiver, and what concerns me is that I think it's coming from the wall that is the wall that divides our kitchen and bathroom, and I know there's only pipes in that wall, so I'm afraid the buzzing is a pipe that's getting ready to burst. I need someone to come out RIGHT NOW."
ME: "Certainly, and you're certain you don't see any water? Have you determined that the water pressure is dropping, when running the bathroom sink or kitchen sink?"
GUY: "No, it's just this strange noise, how soon can someone get here?"
ME: "Well, 'Mr. GUY', what I will do for you is contact the owner of 'OUR COMPANY', which is my father, and see what he has to say. A lot of times he's able to help troubleshoot the issue over the phone, which will save you from paying for someone to come out and look into the issue. So you will be receiving a call back either from 'HIM' or myself in regards to this issue. If necessary for a plumber to come out, we can then set you up for a service call. Now to confirm your telephone number is, 555-1234 and I will need your address as well as what your closest two main roads are near your home."
GUY: "okay, I guess, but the noise keeps coming every 10minutes it seems." My address is, 555 INSTANT DEMAND ROAD, Impatient, IL 85946, how soon until you or 'THE OWNER' will be calling me back?"
ME: "I would love to give you an exact time but if for some reason 'THE OWNER' or I don't return your call within that set time, I don't want you to grow frustrated or disappointed. What I can tell you is that if for some reason 'THE OWNER' is in the middle of an issue at a job site, he will return my page as soon as he can, and as soon as you and I hang up the phone, I will be paging 'THE OWNER' for you."
GUY: "okay, thank you! I would prefer that it's a quick return call because this noise really has me nervous, I've never heard anything like it before."
ME: "I completely understand 'MR GUY', I'd be apprehensive as well over a foreign noise in my kitchen wall. You will be hearing back from either 'THE OWNER' or myself as soon as he is available to take my call. From there he will either instruct me on whether I am to return your call, or if he will be contacting you directly."
GUY: "Thanks and make sure one of you can call me back." (TRUST MUCH?)
ME; "Not a problem, 'Mr GUY', we'll speak soon."


After I two way alert my dad to contact me regarding this issue, after I speak with my dad about this issue, after I have to tear him away from other things, he informs me that he will be calling 'Mr. GUY' back himself.


Just 10minutes after I finished speaking with my dad about this issue, giving him the telephone number, address and of course the guy's name, the guy calls back:

Me: "Hello, 'NAME OF COMPANY'.."
GUY: "Is this Elizabeth with 'NAME OF COMPANY''?"
Me: "Yes it is, is this 'MR. GUY' with the issue in the walls?"
GUY: "Yes it is, did you contact your dad yet to have him call me back?"
Me: "Yes as a matter of fact I did. As soon as you and I had hung up, I radioed my father. Almost immediately he returned my call and is aware of your issue, matter of fact he will be calling you back himself, shortly."
GUY: "Oh, okay"
Me: {????} "I would love to give you a time when he will call you back, but what I can tell you is that he will be calling you personally."
GUY: "Oh, well, you see I found out what the noise was."
Me: "Great!"
GUY: "Well, uh, you see after I hung up with you, that noise sounded again from somewhere within our kitchen. Turns out it's my wife's cell phone, her blackberry. Apparently in her rush to leave for work today she forgot to bring it with her. I guess it was the phone telling her she had messages. You see, I'm retired."

Welcome To Crustybeef~
okayyyyyyyy, because you're retired I guess you're excused. I do have to say it was funny to radio my dad again and tell him that it wasn't necessary to call 'Mr. Guy' back because he had discovered the source of the unknown noise which just so happened to be the retired dude's wife's cell phone. For those that don't know my dad, he isn't a big fan of modern day fancy fancy high end technology. He thinks it's a big waste of time and he doesn't trust it whatsoever,plus he doesn't find it necessary to waste money on buttons that will be outdated faster then jelly shoes were back in the 80's, so you can imagine his reaction.

*This story is under copyright laws by yours truly. Any attempts at reproducing it for your own monetary gain will mean immediate copyright infringement punishable by law as the law abides and/or states.


Kelly Jene said...

LOLOLOL... well, you know that's not what I thought the vibrating noise was, but then again, I am a good girl, so I don't think such things.

You're great at customer service, good on you!

Great story. Love ya!!!!!

Leaking waterfalls........

Portia said...

Wowza, you were so nice to him to have called you at such an hour to find that he was scared of his wife's phone! Yes, everybody (just about) seems to want everything YESTERDAY- and in my experience half the time they DON'T want to pay for it. I've seen a sign in many offices that I envision whenever I get one of these people on the phone, it says "Procrastination on your part DOES NOT create an emergency on my part."

Overall it sounds like you enjoyed the week and the temporary changes it brought. I hope this week is going good too:):)


Kelly: hee-hee...silly girl with your leaky waterfalls!! :0) It was fun being the office chick at home...kept me busy and then I had an "excuse" as to why things weren't in their usual order, aside from Pam naturally :)


Groovie: whoops, you snuck in there! I wanted to "do a good job" for my dad so that he wouldn't have to have other issues to deal with such as customers calling him to complain that I was bitchy...plus he fully knows how the majority of customers can get with that demanding request. I LOVE THAT saying, and have never heard it before, I'm posting it on my blog and really really really couldn't think of anything better to explain those types of people.
You are so right on the bill point of it too, the money..they want it now, but don't pay for it until later (the McMansion type peeps) and are the first to balk at the charge and my dad is the type that has really good reputable rates and prides himself on running a family type caring company.

Idiots, right?

I miss the buzz of it all though...it was fun to always have something going on..granted if I did it everyday---



JLee said...

I think he said "I'm retarded....not retired" ha

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

That's a great story about how fast things change these days!


P: forgot to tell you that my parent's regular hours are 7-4:00pm and people would call at all hours...they have no concern for the sleeping rodder. :)



JLee: HAHAH! Hmm, good point I didn't think of it that way!!

America's Got Talent is back tonight, are you going to watch??


Diane: True and funny I was initially thinking of titling it pipefitters technology :) but liked the buzz word better. :)
How are you holding up with B2S? Are your dreams of a classroom full of coexistance coming true?


simonsays said...

You know, the idiocy of the public never ceases to amaze me. The scary part it, one day soon, others will think that about ME as I age...ugh.

Have a wonderful day!



bonnie said...

Uggghhhh. You are doing a phenom job as plumber's issue diffuser. Now that's a skill.

austere said...

A cell phone?? What a tale. Grinning ear to ear.

You were so diplomatic. I think halfway there I would have become all curt and precise. Its all the toddler handling, do you think or were you always so patient?


Jaime, It'll all be us someday soon, but the trick is to remember what it was to witness it and to decide if that's how we want to live as elders..impatient and demanding..Granted there are many 30something year olds that are very impatient too!

E~ :)
hugs back


Bon: You are soo funny---the diffuser..I think reeds and fragrance of coconut or white lily. :) Definitely not a pro at this but I will thank you for your adorable compliment. :)



austie: Actually in the "real world" according to my book, I am fair more patient when it comes to "real work" versus as a mom--as a mom, I have not much patience I have to say, sadly. Should start to look into switching that around..or by just working fulltime somewhere..but will make sacrifice to give them a mom at home as challenging as it is on one income, and someday return to the world of diplomatic immunity. :)hahaha.


Gypsy said...

You handled that just beautifully Elizabeth. I used to work for a Maintenance Department in a government office and the need for instant gratification was the bane of my existence.

When I got back from my little trip away recently, a water pipe burst in my driveway. My plumber dropped the job he was about to go to to come to me first and he has very reasonable rates. He's a legend and i always recommend him to everyone when they need a plumber. Word of mouth is critical to any business.

Ruthibelle said...

DWL. A vibrating cell phone? You mean he didnt go to check at any point before he decided to flip out and waste your time?? How fantastic...

Brad said...

Boy-howdy you do give good phone.

Now knock it off with the customer relations skills - your making me look bad.

Pushy customers go to the bottom of my priority list.

Now arn't you glad your not in my service area?

The Window Watcher said...


Cheryl said...

You have such a great way of telling a tale and I loved this one. Brava!

jAMiE said...

You were so patient with him, you have a knack for it. I had to laugh when it turned out it was his wife's Blackberry...mine goes off all the time and drives my mother insane..(she calls it a Raspberry).

Great story, thanks for sharing it!

Fortune Cookies said...

I used to do technical support for a cell phone company. You'd be surprised how many Mr.Guy's there are in this world. Once, a Mr.Guy told me he dropped his phone in a 5 gallon bucket of wet concrete, he pulled it out, but now it won't turn on. Can I fix that over the phone for him? Can't I just push a button on my computer and send a signal to the phone to make it work again? Um, I'm thinking NO! Great Story! I'll be back for more.

Tink said...

How in the world did he confuse that with a pipe problem?! Lol. Well, it was a great story, anyway. I'm sure the guy felt like a real ass.


Gypsy: my lady it sounds like you have a marvelous professional when there are issues..that's good..the burst pipe in driveway can lead to many other issues--glad it was fixed, promptly, rate happy and professional...this is the exact type of emergency that people should call about and request someone..

people, right?



ruthiebelle: I think the poor 'Mr. Guy' was having a difficult time adjusting to retired life, and I'm willing to bet that the dude was technology challenged...
tell me, what does DWL mean?



Bradley: I'd be happy to help assist you guys remotely of course... :).. I've often been told I give good phone--just ask BDD and my old roommates/best gal friends. :)

transfer your lines to chitown..I bet you'll have much more time on your hands. :)



WINDOWWATCHER: I'm sure you can imagine--now imagine if I had actually sent my uncle out to the job site to inspect the issue--I think I'd never live that one down...knowing how UP is, right?
CHv's soon.
once things settle with school and routine and when I have B's football schedule. :)

pointer sisters


Cheryl: Thank you sweetie! I'm sure your receptionist's get some interesting calls--"I just tried coloring my own hair and it's orange..I need someone now, and can they come do it in my home because I refuse to step foot in public." :)

coffee break?


Jaime: Being that he sounded a bit older and because it's a family run business professional and respectable I figured I'd complain about it here versus let the poor guy have it...must be frustrated enough with what he discovered.
Rasberry---that's funny! I've often heard it referred as the CRACKBERRY because of it's highly addictive nature.
I'm content with my old razr..
I probably just jinxd myself.


chess with tim tonight?


Fortune Cookie: WELCOME!! that story about the cellement was a HOOT! I can imagine there were some interesting callers...was that your worst or rather strangest call that you can recall?
it's amazing what people say..then again I'm trying to remember if I've pulled a blunder like that before..

welcome again and I hope to see you again with some cookies please. :)


Tink: probably because there is a similar sound with vibrations with pipes in the wall when leaking/bursting (I just typed burping but I realized my mistake)
since he didn't bother to investigate first..I dunno...bizarre..but then again I've had some good calls back when I worked for RCCL and Celebrity as well.
you just never know with people.. :)


wedding night jitters? :) lol

Anonymous said...

wanted to give you some feedback about the site. I find the music annoying and limits the time I spend here. just wanted to mention it.


might I mention that you may pause the playlist if you prefer, or just turn off your speakers.