StarTex Power - Social Media Winner of the Week!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Austin Texas Homes, LLC 453249

As part of my ongoing efforts to recognize and reward companies who are “doing it right” with regard to social media, I’m proud to announce that my “Social Media Winner of the Week” is StarTex Power, my own electric company.

 

THE ORIGINAL ISSUE

Thanks to a not-terrific new phone system, we received an automated call the other day from StarTex asking us to call them back.  I called, and I was informed that they had received my payment, but it was a few days late.  Um…..thanks?  I found this irritating, since there wasn’t even a payment due anymore.  I told them to please take us off of that particular call list.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  We continued to receive DAILY calls from their robot operator for several days.  I called today to speak with someone about this, and to find out why this was still occurring.  I was told by the call center rep that she could fix this, if I could hold for a few minutes, so I waited. 

She returned and told me that the reason the system was still calling was because of the outstanding balance (late fee).  She corrected it, but she was also careful to tell me that if it happened again (i.e. if I were late for any reason), the calls would start.  I asked if this could be changed, and she told me it couldn’t.  I then asked when our contract with StarTex was set to expire, because I wanted to switch companies.  After some more discussion, some of which was likely terse on my part, we got off the phone.  And I tweeted about it. 

 

Here’s what I said:

 

Dear StarTex Power, You just lost a customer (me) as soon as I can switch without penalty. Your customer service is abhorrent, IMHO.

 

Harsh?  Perhaps.  The truth?  In my eyes, it was indeed true.  The operative word here is “was”.

Wait until you hear what happened next…


THE SOLUTION

While I was attending a local real estate conference here in Austin, I got an upbeat voice mail AND an email from Jennifer Bell of StarTex:

Good Afternoon Mr. Crouch,

My name is Jennifer Bell, and I am the Supervisor for the Office of the President at StarTex Power.

I received word of your account matter, and the purpose of this email is to ensure you receive a proper resolution and are a satisfied StarTex Power customer.

I have left you a voicemail message at the contact number we have on file.

Please call me at (xxx-xxx-xxxx) at your earliest convenience.

If email is easier for you, we can definitely communicate via email as well.

I look forward to assisting you.

Best regards,

Jennifer Bell

Supervisor – Office of the President / Quality Assurance, StarTex Power

Needless to say, I called her back.  We spoke for 15-20 minutes, and she…was…stellar.  I don’t just mean that she was stellar because she helped me – I mean that she is likely one of the best service people I’ve yet encountered at any company by phone.  She was engaging and friendly, and she explained that they had seen my tweet, and she wanted to help make things right.

She assured me that I would not receive any more of the irritating automated calls if a payment ever happens to be late, and she promised to monitor my account personally to make sure that the system didn’t trigger this for me.  She also explained that this is a “911″ technical issue that they are working to repair.  Good stuff.

Lastly, since I had signed up two years ago for their service and locked in a rate that now seems really high, she reduced my rate substantially.  Overall, based on my household usage, I calculated that this will save me $1300 or more over the next year.  WOW!

She went on to explain that there are some new nodal changes occurring in their industry, and that most companies will be passing these through to the consumer, but StarTex is price-protected so we won’t pay extra fees when that happens.

So, major thanks and props to Jennifer Bell and to StarTex.  You are doing it right. You’re listening, and you care about people.  I was seriously impressed, and I don’t often say that.  I explained to Jennifer that both Bank of America and Sprint lost us as customers after roughly 13 years.  Unless StarTex decides to raise their rates to crazy levels compared with other companies, they have a new customer evangelist in me.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by

 

If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com.  Thanks!

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Ambassador
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Maria - Indeed it is.  :)

Jeff - I agree.  Frankly, if the phone rep I spoke with initially had just told me that they were working on their system, everything would have been fine with me.  Jennifer mentioned the need for additional coaching for the rep.

Marchel - Right you are.  Speaking of U-Verse, I almost switched until I found out that you can only pause live TV on one television in the house.  After having that ability for years, I don't want to give it up.  Sprint forced us to pay out the remainder of a contract for a phone we had obtained for my mother-in-law's helper for months after my mother-in-law died - we had no use for the phone.  I was with them for over 12 years, and I felt devalued as a customer there.  We switched the day after our contract expired.

Oct 27, 2010 05:00 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,574,338
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

You mean to tell me that you actually have a choice of service provider for your electricity?  Aren't you lucky!

Oct 27, 2010 05:03 PM #5
Ambassador
1,296,336
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Georgina - Yes, that was deregulated a number of years ago here in Texas.  I think it was about 10 years back.

Oct 27, 2010 05:05 PM #6
Rainmaker
484,552
Trey Thurmond
BCR Realtors - College Station, TX
College Station , Texas Homes

Jason

My little rural elecric company is so great when it comes to service. Thanks for sharing this good news story.

Oct 27, 2010 05:10 PM #7
Ambassador
1,296,336
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Hi Trey - You're welcome!  I actually mentioned your name today at the local Realty Roundup event.  The flooring guy I was talking to used to work in Bryan for many years.

Oct 27, 2010 05:12 PM #8
Rainmaker
217,408
'The Diamond Group' 'A Cut Above The Rest'
The Diamond Group @ Keller Williams - Lubbock, TX
Lubbock Texas Real Estate

Jason, good resolution, I think I need you to call AT&T for me.  lol

Oct 27, 2010 05:14 PM #9
Ambassador
1,296,336
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Elizabeth - Perhaps I should consider this as a new service.  :)

Oct 27, 2010 05:16 PM #10
Rainmaker
590,833
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Jason

that was a very engaging blog.

You laid out the problem, and had me right with you.

Said you were going to leave them, and we are saying, Yeah you should leave them. they are awful

Then you explained the turnaround, and how they won you over

Great

Phil

Oct 27, 2010 06:51 PM #11
Rainmaker
4,016,829
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Jason,

She was just a "tweet" away! Amazing they put a good PR person on the phone and retained a customer! You are right..Star Tex Power is doing it right (after a nudge from you)!

Oct 27, 2010 11:45 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,047,649
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Great story about a great customer service person who was not only willing to call you and commiserate but willing to do something about it and go beyond that problem and offer you savings as well. Good example.

Oct 28, 2010 12:25 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,553,427
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Amazing the reach of a little tweet. Service provides who understand he platform the consumer has, and can give good service will benefit, others will lose!

Oct 28, 2010 01:10 AM #14
Ambassador
2,606,674
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Jason, it's more of a testament to the power of social media and in particular Twitter. As you well know, Ben Kinney makes a point of this at Raincamps with the airline example.

As for the capabilities of Jennifer Bell, would you have expected anything else with the title Supervisor to the Office of the President? And you gave them the recognition they sought, with this post to compliment them on keeping a client satisfied. Now, take a break from selling houses so that you're not late any more!

Oct 28, 2010 01:35 AM #15
Rainmaker
421,409
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease

Jason, 

Gotta love that.  I love how powerful social media is.  It just COSTS way too much to totally screw up in terms of customer service these days. 

We finally after having three of my daughters replacement cell phones - the same model broke four times in 9 months - got them to give us another phone model.  She didn't want something more expensive, just something that worked.  Of course, this took my husband - 4 hours of crap to resolve, but hopefully we are now done with that issue:-)

All the best, 

Michelle

Oct 28, 2010 01:48 AM #16
Rainmaker
512,757
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS

I wonder where social media will take us.  Very powerfule because it is so big and so instant.  Glad you got things settled and are now saving so much money.  Just think if this had not happened, you'd be paying them $1300. more this next year.  Funny how things happen for a reason.

Oct 28, 2010 01:53 AM #17
Ambassador
687,692
Ann Allen Hoover
RE/MAX Advantage South - Hoover, AL
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL

What a great story!  Jennifer took a problem and in correcting it look what she accomplished!  There's a lesson there for all of us....

Oct 28, 2010 02:52 AM #18
Rainmaker
502,385
Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Jason, STARTEX was my elec. provider as well for the last two years. I recently switched over to APNA b/c of their (at the time) lower rates. No complaints about STARTEX. Glad they took care of you, and lowered your rate--$1300 is quite a savings!!!

Oct 28, 2010 03:03 AM #19
Rainmaker
3,985,637
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Jason...you never know when an irritating event can turn sround into a very paleasing moment.  You was a great windfall!

Oct 28, 2010 10:01 AM #20
Rainmaker
109,461
Kim Darling
Keller Williams Westland Realty BRE# 01864461 - Fresno, CA
CRS,GRI, "Your Home Team" Fresno/Clovis Homes

social media is indeed a powerful thing, glad to see your power company has the right PR people in place.  You vented in a great place to get results, who would of thunk it??? 

Oct 30, 2010 10:29 AM #21
Rainer
122,753
Faina Reinhardt
HotRentalsNY.com - Manhattan, NY

Social media is a powerful and a little scary place.  You kinda wouldn't want to be vented about.  

Oct 31, 2010 03:01 AM #22
Rainer
44,937
James Jeter
Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership - Carrollton, TX
James Jeter

Lesson:  Don't tick off the Dude!

Nov 01, 2010 04:45 AM #23
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