We were running a little late serving our turkey in the Webster household this Thanksgiving Day. It was 5:03pm by the time the turkey was carved and headed for the table.

Just as we were sitting down, the phone rang. It was from an “unknown” number. Since we have family members in other countries we thought we had better answer the phone.

When my wife answered the phone, it was clear that this was not one of our family members. We were quite surprised at who was on the other end of the line.

There Is A Time And Place…This Was Not It

The person on the other end of the line was from PG&E! That’s right, our local utility had a customer service representative calling us at 5:03pm on Thanksgiving Day. Seconds after my wife answered the phone, I saw the incredulous look on her face.

The reason for the call? They wanted to schedule an upgrade to our meter. Hmmm, isn’t that the same meter that they came out and shut down our power to upgrade three weeks ago? Yes indeed, that is the one.

My wife expressed empathy to the rep on the phone that she had to work on a holiday. The rep brushed it off saying she invited the extra pay. I totally understand that, but I will never understand PG&E’s decision-making in having reps call people at dinner time on Thanksgiving Day.

Nonetheless when the work has already been done. That is bad execution and customer service.

Not All Customer Service Was Lost On Thanksgiving Day

Earlier in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day, I actually had a very positive customer experience.

I’ve been testing out CRM systems over the last week. I signed up for a service with a software company named Nutshell the day before Thanksgiving. One of the reasons I chose them for a demo was their “Our Company” page. It had pictures of each of their employees on the page. It felt personal, and it was a nice touch.

I’m hoping that the email from Susan Bell was automated.

Their personal touch was proven on Thanksgiving Day. I received an email at 1:10pm in the afternoon offering a walk-through of the site and to answer any questions about Nutshell. All could be done at my convenience. It even came with the person’s direct line.

I’m guessing that the message may have been automated. However, it was a message to offer help within 24 hours of me signing up. The fact that it was an email, and that I signed up the day before made this seem easy, and like great customer service.

Think It Through

The bottom line is that you need to think things through before doing them.

The manager in charge at PG&E made a very poor decision. Our impression of their ability to organize and understanding their customers is low. Calling customers at dinner time on Thanksgiving to schedule an upgrade that was done weeks ago? Terrible.

The sales representative at Nutshell who is reaching out to me to answer any questions during my trial (which none of the other 3 CRM’s I signed up with did, by the way) experience with them 24 hours after signing up? Awesome.

An email is a bit easier to digest than a phone call, but that is never more magnified than on a holiday. A poor decision and a great decision all in the same Thanksgiving Day.


Jason Webster

Jason Webster is a social recruiting enthusiast and co-founder of Ongig, a platform that creates shareable, visually-appealing job descriptions. He has spoken at multiple social recruiting events, where his passion for candidate experience is the primary topic. Connect with Jason and Ongig on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

by in Career Development, Networking