Ten days ago a customer who is about to move offices in London phoned to say he’s signed up all the paperwork for the new office and can we get a line in asap so he has phones and broadband from the first of next month.

I’m already aware the building has lots of spare capacity from BT so I submit an order. Annoyingly, it goes wrong, screw-up in BT’s database, but we submit for manual tweakage and in due course an engineer is appointed to visit site and put in a new line.
I inform the client as he’ll have to be there from 8am to let the BT guy in and show him where it’s going, etc.

The BT engineer duly arrives, introduces himself as Fred and says he’s worked on the same exchange for 20 years and he knows every cable and connection intimately. Indeed, he knows, which is handy as we didn’t, that the DP he would need to connect the new line from is actually in the gents’ toilet of the cafe in the adjacent building!  Off he beetles, sets up what he  needs to at the exchange, the street cabinet, the DP in the gents, and tests the new line socket in the comms room and it’s good as gold. He departs leaving our customer with his mobile number “lest there’s any problem”. Probably felt very safe doing so as he’d done a tip top job and there would be no problems.

The next day, an engineer arrives to install a new line at another customer site 30 miles to the west. It isn’t Fred. It’s Joe. I wish it had been Fred.  Joe is seen driving his van past the office at 17:55 whilst on the phone to the customer saying “there’s no lights on, looks like you’ve all gone home…” but they got him back. He arrived at 17:58,a member of staff having stayed late to admit him as we had a firm appt for that afternoon. He was told by same where the new socket was to go. He declined. Said he wasn’t there to install new sockets. Said he’d re-connected one of the existing disused sockets. Tested it to show it was working. Despite the fact these sockets are in a quite unsuitable location for the required service, said he wasn’t doing a new socket (he would have HAD to had there BEEN no spare sockets). He then plugged all the customer’s existing broadband and phone equipment into the new socket (thus ensuring that the customer’s broadband didn’t work the next morning!) and left.

Fred gets our man of the month award.

Joe gets a raspberry. And as the customer doesn’t actually have the service he wanted and has paid for, we will be on the blower to BT and Joe will presumably be hearing from his boss.

And if Fred’s reading this – thanks mate – a job well done, not really harder to do properly than to skimp, just a positive and friendly attitude and pride in the work. We won’t mention it to your boss coz knowing BT, he’d probably tell you off for giving a customer your mobile number instead of saying “well done, that’s how to make the customer happy”!