Frustration, The internet, and Valuing People

Yesterday was a frustrating day. I was trying to work from home yesterday morning because my wife was sick. Suzanne is a stay at home mom…and works way harder than anyone else I know every day. But when she is out of commission, I do my best to step up and fill in for her so she can rest. So I took care of my kids and got them breakfast got them involved doing something constructive, and got ready to start working from home…and then, the worst thing that can happen, did happen…my internet went out!

Sometimes I think that God puts me in situations to see how patient I am, and how long I can remain calm. So…about 30 seconds later I was on the phone with our local cable/internet company trying to figure out what was going on. Now the lady on the automated voice/messaging system is very nice, but sometimes you just want to talk to a human. So in my patience, I called 7 times during the day and reported my outage through their electronic phone messaging system. About 7:00 last night, my service was still off and my wife and a friend were talking about the problem. So we decided to call again.

To not get the automated voice lady again, we decided to figure out how to beat their evil phone system and finally got to talk to a human being. Here is where I really started to get angry. First of all they were somewhat perplexed that we had gotten to them and not the messaging system. Automatically, they were off of their pre-written script and had no clue what to say to us.

So the human had the audacity to ask us why we had not called and reported the outage earlier. We explained that we had called 7 times to report in and done it through their automated service. But obviously the nice automated voice lady did not think to communicate the problem to her superiors.

Then we asked the human what the problem was with our internet/cable service, and he told us that he could not give us that information, but that 317 homes were without service in our area and that workers had been dispatched to fix the problem. We told him the nice automated voice lady had told us that at 8:30 in the morning, and asked how long it took to dispatch their people. He said that he would look to see what was going on and then asked us how we like our cable internet service. We told him that we like it fine when it works but were not really liking it today. Then he had the audacity to try to sell us a new cable internet package. I have never come so close in my life to hurting someone through the phone, but I used self control and remained calm and we said to him…Why would we by a new package from you when our current one does not work.

We asked him again what the problem with our service was and this is when he told us that he was unsure, but if we wanted to check back on how much longer the repairs would take, he told us that we could call back in a few hours and check on the status. We told him that would be great but we didn’t want to go through their automated gauntlet of numbers and fake people and asked if we could have his direct line. He hesitated on that request and then he told us the dumbest thing I have ever heard. He said that if we didn’t want to go through their phone system, that we could always check the status online…I don’t think that you heard that last sentence…he told us to check online, when we don’t have an online that works! Shortly after this comment, we decided to end the call.

By the way…Our cable is still off today.

Now I didn’t just tell that story to rant…even though it was fun and very therapeutic for me. But I think there are some things we can learn from this as a church. Please don’t get me wrong, I am really not mad that my service went out. Things break and it takes time to fix them (We don’t get everything right as a church either). And I am not mad at the human I eventually talked to. He doesn’t know all the answers and can’t fix every problem that someone brings his way (As a pastor I try to help people whenever I can, but I can’t fix everyone’s problem either and in those times it is frustrating to see someone that needs help and not be able to fix it for them). What I get upset with is when I feel like I am not treated with respect and value. I know that the cable company gets a lot of calls, and it is impossible to make everyone happy, but I do believe that a personal touch and treating their customers with respect would help make a big company feel more personal.

As a care pastor at this church, I want our church to know that we are available and that we value you being here. The philosophy of ministry that I have for the care staff at NewSpring is that we are going to minister to one person at a time, for as long as it takes to help that person. And if we can’t help them we are going to do our best to direct them to the resources that can help them. We are in the people business and as a church we want to stand beside the people who are a part of this church and help them however we can.

NewSpring, I hope that you know how honored we are that you have partnered with this staff to help us follow after the vision that God has given us. You do so much to help us and support us. Thank you! If there is something that this care staff can ever do to help you, let me know.

And I promise that you will not have to call 8 times to talk with us…and you will not have to talk to the automated voice lady.

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