I am writing this article not as a photographer but as a Professor Emeritus of Marketing. The experience bugs and hurts me more than my neighbors. Totally contrary to what I used to teach.
A few weeks ago, we lost power around 1:45 PM and our generator kicked in. That too had a couple of hiccups and I got some phone support from the company that services it and got it going.
Lack of Customer Service Starts
I checked on the Rhode Island Energy site and it showed the estimated time of repair around 2:45 PM. According to the information on their site, the outage affected 11 households in the neighborhood.
I saw the power company truck drive by and thought the repair might have started. Alas! A little later, I checked the status of the outage and the estimated time of repair changed to 3:45 PM. And, this continued until around 7 PM when the neighbors stopped the power company truck going by and asked what was happening.
The workers said that they had not started the repair yet and were about to get going. The truck stopped at the pole two houses down from us and within 15-20 minutes the power was restored. It took over five hours for the power company to tend to a problem that took a very short time to fix it.
A Customer Complains
I revisited their site and wrote a message to Rhode Island Energy. I essentially told them what I narrated above, and added the difficulty of writing a feedback note on their site. Take a look at my message which was acknowledged by the power company. (The contents of messages are at the end of the article for easier reading.) My complaints were the length of downtime, possible need for bigger crews, and usability of their customer service page on their site.
A Nonsense Reply Arrives Five Days Later
Contrary to their promise of “2 business days” for a response, it took 5 days for me to receive a reply. And the message had absolutely nothing to do with my points. Take a look at it and you decide. It was total nonsense.
A Phone Call to Customer Service
I followed their advice and called the number they provided. After a long hold time, the support person said hello! I explained to her the unusually long wait time before repairs as she tried to tell me that there were priorities etc. I finally asked her to stop and listen to me and read my message, then read the reply I received. After that, I asked if the reply had anything at all with my message. She, probably as instructed, kept trying to defend the company.
Shared Experiences are Good
I am sharing this experience with the hope that a company manager may actually see a message sent to them and their reply. This level of customer service, no, this level of lack of customer service is inexcusable. One would expect at least their replies to address the issues rather than offering a word salad.
I would also like to add that sharing customer service experiences, good or bad, should all offer learning moments. If you do not know how bad your service is, how can you improve it? Customer service should not turn into putting obstacles in front of them and hope that they will give up and go away. This customer won’t!
Rhode Island Energy, we never had this bad a situation with The National Grid.
The Text of My Message
Your question has been received. You should expect an e-mail response from us within 2 business days.
RI Energy Customer Service
Customer By CSS Web (Cemal Ekin) (08/07/2022 07:45 PM)
I and others reported outage on our street, ### —— Rd. Warwick, RI around 2 PM. I saw the company truck going up and down a few times. It was not until 6:30 PM or thereabouts, they said they have not touched the problem yet! I find it questionable to wait that long to fix a problem that took about 25-30 minutes after all.
If you need more technicians, you should hire more. I am not blaming the crew but the management. It is unconscionable.
Also, I came to this form after logging in and following the menu options. Why do I need to go back, login once more, and enter my account number and other information in the fields below?
Below par service, way below!
The Text of RI Energy Response
See if you can find anything related to my message!
Our response to your question can be found below.
Thank you for contacting RI Energy. For additional questions, please visit our Contact Us page
If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 7 days.
Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.
all other questions
Response By Email (Customer Service) (08/12/2022 12:27 PM)
Thank you for your inquiry. We are sorry for the delay in replying to your e-mail; however, due to the large volume of emails we receive it is not always possible to respond promptly.
Rhode Island Energy charges based upon measured usage at the location per month. Due to 0 usage during the outage there will be no charges for that timeframe.
Rhode Island Energy does not reimburse for lost food or other expenses in the event of an outage. You can find more information here .
Current restoration time is unknown.
You can find updates on our outage map , through our phone app, or you can text SUM “city of interest”( ex: SUM Providence) to 64743 to receive text updates.
If you have any other questions or concerns please reply to this email or call Customer Service at 1-855-743-1101(Electric) 1-800-870-1664(Gas) available Monday-Friday, 7:00 AM-7:00 PM (EST) or visit us at: www.RIEnergy.com.
Thank you for being a Rhode Island Energy customer.