My Definition of Professional Courtesy

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Back a month or so ago we had some bad storms to blow through. A utility pole servicing one of our sites broke into and the wire that carried our digital audio from studio to transmitter lay pulled apart and laying on the ground. The CenturyLink field tech was super. He told me he had no idea how long it would be before someone came and replaced the broken utility pole, but he thought he could splice my cable, run the line through an open culvert under the road, and get me back in business until a crew came in and fixed everything. He delivered and we were back on the air. Several weeks later our audio goes out in the middle of the day, and I discover the crew and come down, put up a new utility pole, run a new line to our building and disconnected the temporary spliced line. The new line was not put into service and no one at CenturyLink knew what was going on. It took another field tech with boots on the ground to figure it out. The same field tech came out the following day and connected the new line to the source up the street and we were back on-the-air.

Earlier this week I went to work around 6 in the morning to finish up a video project for a client. The file took about 2 hours to render and I had 45 minutes to go when the power went off. The City Utility workers were out back, so I asked them what was going on. They said I had an old meter and they were replacing mine with a new one. I told them they had interrupted my work. A worker told me” It’ll be ok, we’ll have the power back on in about 5 minutes.” I told him he didn’t understand and that a 2-hour rendering project that is interrupted has to be started from the beginning. He apologized and pointed out that we were closed when they came to change out the meter. I suppose the logic is if the “store is closed” then nothing is going on. Our store (radio and TV) operates 24 hours a day. We don’t keep the doors open all the time, but we are always operating the business.

These two recent examples point out something I call “professional courtesy.” CenturyLink should have notified me prior to replacing the utility pole that my service would be down on the day they were going to do the work and the approximate time I could expect it to be restored. They should have had someone follow up with me while the crew was still onsite to verify my service was operating normally before they left. The City no doubt had a work schedule assigned for the crew that replaced my meter. I should have been notified prior to them coming and told when I could expect my power to be interrupted when it would be restored.

Professional courtesy is not something people seem to recognize anymore. The lack of it causes disruption, a decline in productivity, and unnecessary frustration between company and client.