Ever hear of Hurricane Sandy? Yeah… I thought so.
AutoDrill has it’s main offices right here in rural NJ. When we say rural, we mean it. On tax deadline day, the Post Office is often so slow that you never wait in line at any time of the day, etc.
Well, Sandy obviously did a much more complete job of making life difficult for others than it did for us so our hearts go out to those people. But it did affect AutoDrill.
The shop and offices were closed down for more than a week due to impassable roads, loss of power and phone lines that were down. The phone company had such extensive damage to their system in our area that forwarding of business calls to emergency numbers was impossible for almost a week too. Two of the owners here had no power, water or heat at their homes for more than a week. One lost a car to mechanical failure. One employee was involved in a head-on collision during the clean-up process and totaled his only vehicle but was thankfully spared injury. Another employee, with an expectant wife has over an hour commute to work and the gas shortage plus damage to their home and neighborhood made it nearly impossible for him to come in for more than a week too. Finally, another employee lost most of his house down the shore to the storm – By far, the worst hit of all of us. The poor guy lives far from the ocean, but in an area that was apparently low enough that flooding took his place out.
We are still on solid ground as a company, but our sanity was starting to fade a bit.
To say things this morning were a bit hectic would be an understatement. We sell globally. We have nearly 100 inquiries awaiting our attention and sales orders that were delayed up to two weeks in some cases due to the outages, etc.
So now on to this morning… I arrive at the shop nearly two hours earlier than other staff to try and set things in order for the week. I walk in to find all the servers down due to a long weekend power failure (repairs in the area?). No problem. Reboot… Then I retrieve a voice mail from a man claiming to work for a large news organization at the United Nations in NYC. He leaves a phone number that turns out to be a cell based number. …Of course, I spent an hour on the phone with Verizon getting our high speed internet back up and running before I could even determine that it was a cell phone, but that’s another horror story… You can’t imagine how many people call Verizon each morning after a hurricane to try and get their phones and internet fixed…
Now I’m convinced that this guy is a telemarketer. I call this guy back on a private line. I expect I’ll reach a voice mail but in case he answers, I’m ready. These telemarketers deserve to be hung by their chin hairs and beaten with horseradish roots for a week straight. Especially the ones claling after the storm with malicious intent or advertising for quick fox roof repairs, etc. Can you tell I really dislike telemarketers?
After giving the guy a VERY hard time and allowing my emotions and frustration show quite a bit, I determine that the contact is likely a legitimate inquiry. Oops!
The poor guy had to deal with my attitude, accusations and impersonation of an investigator claiming he had called in on a secure line involved in an internal investigation process, etc. He did so quite well for 20+ minutes before we came to a point where he accepted my apology and wished me well. I’m sure I lost a sale on that one.
…So learn from me. The next time all heck breaks loose at your business and you find yourself on a Monday morning looking to unload on some poor telemarketer, make sure they are not really a customer looking for a quote first.
Self disclosure – AutoDrill style. Hopefully, the last one of these I’ll ever need to post…
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