So Melvin Williams, President of NICOR, Proved He's Not Just Another Pretty Face

As many of you read in my Monday post, I was frosted -- quite literally -- because NICOR inadvertently shut off the gas to my home in frigid temperatures, leaving my renters (a family of five) without heat.

After multiple calls to NICOR spanning approximately five hours, my renter, Martha, and I were able to cajole, cry, coerce and ultimately convince the NICOR lack-of-service center to find a crew to return to my home and restore gas service.

And while I was shocked beyond shock that this incident occurred in the first place, what happened the next day, Tuesday, and today, Wednesday, was astonishing.

Turns out NICOR execs don't need a collective set of hearing aids to hear their customers' complaints.  In fact, for a mega utility company, it seems their top brass hears customer pleas for help loud and clear.

Late in the day yesterday, I received a call from Kyra Mitchell, Supervisor, Quality Assurance and Customer Relations.

Mind you, when I first answered the call on my cell phone and heard someone introduce themselves as so-and-so with Quality Assurance and Customer Relations at NICOR, I was sure it was a prank call, some put-on by a seriously disturbed Facebook friend with a bad sense of timing.  However, over the course of what was nearly a half-hour conversation with Kyra, I realized that I wasn't in the middle of a hoax, but that her concern and commitment to rectify a bizarre situation was the real deal.

Kyra listened intently, asked smart questions and seemed genuinely alarmed by the information I relayed.  Not only did Kyra promise to reimburse me for an unnecessary service call by my HVAC folks, more importantly, she vowed to pull the quality assurance recordings and review them and circle back in a day.

As promised, 24 hours later, I received a returned phone call from Kyra.

While I had recovered from the stunning events that occurred in the first place to land this story in blogland, what ensued late today may take a very long time for me to forget...BECAUSE IT WAS SUCH A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE!

True to her word, Kyra Mitchell pulled the quality assurance tapes and reviewed the multiple conversations between both Martha and I with NICOR call center reps.  And she went one better.  Beyond listening to the recordings, she took action.  Kyra owned the mistake in a way that I found refreshing and so old-school that our conversation left me (a self-proclaimed good-faith skeptic) with a renewed faith in this mega utility.

Kyra not only confirmed that the entire incident was mishandled internally, she went into great detail about how it would be corrected, that she identified the call reps and they were pulled from the call center for re-training.  The exchange wasn't a pat on the had with a hollow apology and business as usual.  Quite the opposite.  The problem has been identified and is being rectified.

Who does that?  In this era of pass-the-buck, finger-pointing, bury-the-evidence of corporate culture, I ask you, who the heck does that?  Well, as it turns out, NICOR, a company, I have found, that has a sense of corporate responsility.

My take-away from this experience?  That NICOR actually does feel a sense of responsibility to its customers and is willing to take immediate corrective measures to prove it.

The moral of the story:  Melvin Williams is, indeed, well-suited for his role in the frigid Midwest!

AND...

Kyra Mitchell should be given a raise and cloned 100 times over!

PS:  Come on, Melvin.  Really?  I think your PR picture is great!  (Melvin and are new BFF's, I feel it.)

Thanks, Melvin, for continuing NICOR's incompetence record!

My hero!

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