The Reverse of Customer Service!

One of the tasks that banks almost always require of real estate agents who manage their properties is to have the utilities on in our name.  With nearly 100 properties that we are currently responsible for, we have a lot of reasons to deal with many types of utility companies including electric, water, and natural gas providers.  In general, these folks are very accommodating and go out of their way to work with us.  In particular the Sevier County Electric System, the Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg water systems, and the Sevier County Utility District have all been extremely helpful and I've gotten to know many of their very helpful employees quite well.

Unfortunately, today has not been a great day for me.  After spending all of last night at the hospital emergency room with a very painful kidney stone attack, I was back at work this morning.  One of the tasks that I had on my "to do" list today was to confirm that water and electric service were in fact available for a property we have in Kodak.  This was a "must complete" today item because we have a pending contract on the property and the buyer has a home inspection scheduled for late this afternoon.  As it is impossible to properly inspect a home without working utilities I wanted to make sure that everything was working properly so that the inspection would be completed without incident.

To reduce water damage risks, we generally don't turn on water service until we have the need.  Banks always have their properties winterized for the winter season so that in event that the heat should fail to operate properly or a thermostat setting be incorrect there won't be any frozen pipes or related damage to the home.  Although our Gatlinburg area winters are generally pretty mild it will occasionally get cold enough to freeze water pipes during our coldest months.

Begin Rant:

And now to my experience today of horrendous customer service offered by a nearby water utility, Shady Grove Utility District.  My office had previously scheduled the water to be turned on today for this afternoon's home inspection and had gotten the deposit to the utility.  When I arrived at the home this morning I found that the water service had not yet been turned on.  This wasn't a problem and the utility hadn't committed to anything more than that the water service would be on sometime today.  It's amazing all the assistance that the utility company would NOT provide:
  1. They could not tell me within any sort of range what time today the water would be on.
  2. They would not contact the field technician to see how many more jobs he had to complete.
  3. They could not give me the field tech's cell phone number so that I could coordinate my schedule with his.
  4. They would not have the field tech contact me to coordinate our schedules.
  5. They could not even call me when the water service was in fact available.
This is a great lesson in why monopolies are often not conducive to excellent (or even tolerable) customer service.  Although other utility services are able to provide some or all of the above courtesies, the dreaded Shady Grove Utility District couldn't manage to do ANY of them.  Sadly they are the only game in town in the Kodak and Dandridge areas and they apparently don't remember (or care) who the customer is.  Since I can't get water service from anyone else I'll just have to drive the roughly 23 miles from my office in Gatlinburg to this property in Kodak late this afternoon to turn on the water inside the home and make sure that we are ready for this evening's home inspection.

End of Rant

Boy do I feel better!!  If you are looking for superb customer service when it comes to our Gatlinburg area real estate market, please contact us!!


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