Archive for the ‘Tough Jobs’ Category

It’s A Tough Job… by Dakota McWhorter, Lexington Market

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

“In the summer of 2011, I had a job in Richmond, KY for a 3 room former install. When I arrived, I started the job as usual. The customer warned me that the crawl space had a leak and had some water in it.

When I opened the crawl space door I was shocked when I saw the amount of water under it. It was approximately 3 feet deep.

Yeah…. it was a really hot summer day and decided I didn’t mind to take a swim. So I dove in and ran my three lines as if nothing was wrong, pretty much swimming to each spot. After I came out, the customer was shocked at the amount of water under the house and thanked me for doing it anyway. It was so hot that I dried off in no time.

I would have to say that is my toughest job story.”

It’s A Tough Job… by Jason Jones / Jason Smith

Monday, October 24th, 2011


My name is Jason Jones. I am the service supervisor in Memphis, TN and I wanted to submit a “Tough Job” story. On 10/22/11, I had a service technician (Jason Smith) who went to his 8-12 appointment in Halls, TN. Upon arriving to his job, he noticed that three small children came running out of the home stating that the house was on fire. Their next comment was that their grandparents were in there and their grandfather could not walk and was confined to a wheel chair. Without hesitating, Jason ran to the house and upon entering it it was engulfed in smoke which was rolling out of the kitchen. He proceeded down the hall past the kitchen to where he found their grandfather. He picked him up and placed him in his wheelchair which was motorized. Jason then noticed that due to the gentleman’s illness he was unable to operate his wheelchair on his own. So Jason then proceeded to pull both the grandfather and his wheelchair down the hall. By this time the flames had kicked up and were rolling out of the kitchen and right into the hallway where they had to pass. Jason said it was now or never, so he kept pulling and got them past the flames and out of the house. When he got him outside and safe he asked the kids where their grandmother was and they stated still in the house. So Jason then re-entered the home for a second time and upon calling for the grandmother he heard her toward the back of the home. When he reached her he realized she had trouble walking, so he grabbed her and helped get her out of the home.

All three grandkids and their grandparents survived. Everybody including Jason was suffering from smoke inhalation. Jason called me stating he had an emergency and wanted me to know why he may be running a little behind (always like Jason to call and keep me up to date if he is going to be late somewhere), I informed him that he need not worry about being late and let’s just make sure he was okay. I told him that what he did that day made him a hero and his response was “No sir, as a human being this is just what we do, I was just doing my job.”

Had Jason not had that appointment and arrived when he did, there may have been three kids who lost their grandparents that day. I just wanted to submit this for the Tough Job story because I felt like we have really good guys that work for our company, and this is proof. And while most days this job is a piece of cake, you will at times run into these situations which really does make this a Tough Job!!!!

It’s A Tough Job… by Chris Bonneau

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

On December 22, 2010, I had an installation in Jackman, Maine. You could call this install one of the times when absolutely nothing was going according to plan. Due to a faulty LNB, I had to make a special trip back to the isolated town 79 miles from me. (I was the closest Technician to this location.) I made the trip up and replaced the LNB. A few months later, the house was struck by a power surge. This time I replaced practically the whole system. By this point in time, the customer and I were on a first name basis. We would wave when we saw each other, and the 3 children knew who I was and always seemed to idolize the T.V. guy (which was ok with me).

Approximately 3 weeks later, I was routed up that way again, only this time there was a massive snowstorm that dumped over 20″ of snow on the roads. My van ended up stuck just outside of town. It just so happened that this customer was a U.S. Border Patrol agent on patrol then. He tried helping any way he could to get me out before help arrived. I was so grateful for his concern.

And finally, recently is where the story gets real tough, not just on me, but worse for my customer. On July 19, 2011 at 3:30am, a logging truck driver fell asleep and rolled his truck with loaded trailer after falling asleep at the wheel. The truck flipped and lost its load of logs through the entire first floor of my customers’ house, killing the family’s youngest child and causing pretty significant injuries to the rest of the family.

I think the worst part of this is the personal connection I had made with these people. You wonder why such terrible things can happen to people who are the most wonderful people you could ever meet. On October 3rd, I was faced with installing a system at that family’s new house. This was difficult. Knowing the story, I didn’t want to stir up any emotion with my customer or with myself. I proceeded to complete my installation as I walked past the deceased child’s belongings in the basement, pictures, and memorial items on the walls.

I felt as though it was my duty, as I was the representative not only for DIRECTV, but for Multiband as well, to help this family any way I could through their hardships. The equipment lost in the accident was going to be charged to the customer, and not knowing the reasoning behind why I couldn’t IV retest the old receiver was up to me to do discretely.  I called I.S.S. and explained the situation. The agent I spoke with was able to help me apply credit to the right places to make the questions about what happened to the house and the old receiver disappear. I made sure there would be no bill whatsoever to this customer on their movers connection or lost equipment.

I know this does not take back what happened to this customer, but helps them move on. It also helps me as a technician appreciate the families we meet, the customers we help, and lastly, appreciate all the little things you gain from this job.-  Chris Bonneau, Tech, Bangor, Maine

It’s A Tough Job… by Andy Uschold

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

My tough job story is about our end of month/all scan inventory nights. They are always long, but September’s are always the toughest. You know it is going to be a longer night than usual because of the timing… summer install volume with 4-5 jobs per tech, closing out a month strong to beat Memphis, and scanning all receivers. To add to that, we had 9 traveling techs that aren’t used to our processes, a Saturday the next day that was overbooked with work, and our senior warehouse clerk was out with a sprained wrist. This was shaping up to be a long, miserable night at a most critical time.

Well, we pulled the team together and got all but 6 technicians counted that night and scanned before 10:30 pm (those 6 were counted at 6:00 am the next day), fed 110 technicians, supervisors, trainees and warehouse staff, and had a pretty good Saturday the next day! Our Admin, trainer, and entire staff pitched in to make it work. Our techs and supervisors made sure that we didn’t leave a man behind out in the field, and our warehouse staff stepped up their game to make sure that people didn’t have to wait too long to get scanned.

This is a “tough job” but with the best staff in Multiband, it makes overcoming these challenges a “fun job!” – Andy Uschold, General Manager

It’s A Tough Job… by Dwayne Hubbard

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Lexington had a customer come in the front door of the office. After talking to DIRECTV he did not like the outcome, so he decided to take matters in his own hands and come to the local office where he had seen many of the vans come in and out. The owner of the local restaurant and bar came into the office because he was fixing to open up for business after remolding and relocating, and was expecting to draw a good crowd because of the sports programs on 13 HD 56 INCH TVs. He wanted to talk to someone in charge, and that is when I went up front to have him come back to my office. He began to tell me that he had called DIRECTV to set it up, but the best they could do was 2 weeks out because of the procedure that commercial installs had to go through. I went in the system and searched with his phone number and found that there was an appointment which was set for the time he stated. I called the Tech Supervisor of that area (Travis Jones) to see if he had a tech available to complete this job sooner and he stated if he did not, he would complete it himself. After talking to Travis and the bar owner, Travis and Technician Josh Benton got together that afternoon and went and completed the Install so that everything was working for the Sports Event that weekend and that the customer understood how everything worked. He was very pleased and commended everyone involved, but by the end of the day all we had done was do what we do on a normal everyday basis, and that is satisfy the customer. After completing the job, the customer wanted to supply us with lunch for completing the job in a timely manner and refused to take no for an answer, so he furnished lunch for everyone involved and still to this day he talks about his experience with us to all his customers. This could not be done without the help from everyone mentioned above, which adds up to be a great team that I am very proud to be part of at Multiband.

It’s A Tough Job… by Darrin Bourque

Monday, September 26th, 2011

My story is based on a job I had during my first week out in the field on my own. The time slot for this job was 12-4pm. I was already running late due to unforeseen problems with my first two jobs of the day, not to mention I was still working on building up my efficiency on installs. While en route, I made my pre-call to the customer to inform her that I was en route to her home and gave my ETA. I went over the work order with her to make sure the work order was correct and to see if she had any specific driving instructions. She informed me that a technician had previously done an install and mistakenly cut and tied into one of the wrong cables (which were to her internet service), so she was already on edge about our services. I reassured her that I would do anything and everything within my abilities to fix the problem and to do the upgrade (adding two more receivers) to her account.

I arrived at the home, met the customer, went over the location of equipment and the issues with the cut wire, and performed the site survey. While looking in the attic, I noticed there were a number of wires from telephone, satellite, off-air antenna, cable television, and cat5. Most of all, none of the wires were labeled, there were improper connectors and messy wire running, all of which ran through the entire 5,000sqft of this two story home. One of the new receivers was going in a room completely on the other side of the home which had an rg6 coax run down the wall. The wire in this wall was not live and I could not trace this wire to anywhere that made sense. I finally ran another wire right on the side of it and made my connection to pull the new wire down the wall using the existing.  I kept telling myself, “it only LOOKS worse than it is.”

It turned out to be as bad as it looked.

After working in this home for over 8 hours total, I worked through the job and fixed all the issues including the internet cable that the customer used for her business at home. I neatened everything up, changed wires that were bad, activated the new receivers, and left the customer with a smile on her face. I was able to rebuild her confidence in DIRECTV installers as well as build confidence in myself in the job that I do and love.

It’s A Tough Job… by Lana Mekkes

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Sometimes, I think Dispatch is forgotten along the way of having a tough job.  I mean, what’s more convenient than working a set schedule, sitting at a computer, talking on the phone, having unlimited resources, a break room with scheduled breaks?  While being out of the harsh weather conditions is nice, there are times when we are rushing to eat.  There are times we work right into and out of our break times just to catch up.  But most importantly, Dispatch is important for technicians in working with customers.  We precall, we update, we post call. Customers hear our voices multiple times throughout the day.  We get the short end of the stick a lot when customers are angry.  They cuss, they curse, they threaten.  And here Dispatch is, trying to smooth it out for our technicians.

Recently, I was tracking a technician who called into the local office and asked to be placed on site.  The tracker asked the tech which job he was on and he wasn’t sure.  I went through both work orders and confirmed each customer’s name and address.  “Oh yes, that’s where I am,” the tech said.  Later as I was updating ETA’s, I called the other customer of this technician.  She tells me that he is on site.  “Oh great, Mrs. Customer, I’m so glad he made it to your home and things are going well…you have a wonderful night.”  Looking at the route again… the tech is now on site to both jobs.  The Technician called in and asks for assistance in activation.  “By the way, can we close out Mrs. Other Customer, you aren’t there anymore. ”

The technician replied, “Oh … I haven’t been there yet.”  Oh dear….now we’ve got to update this customer with an ETA.  I called the customer, and she was trying to be patient.  In the background I could hear Mr. Customer losing his temper.  Curse words are flying out, physical harm to the technician when he arrives, yelling and screaming that we sit in a nice cozy office with everything we need while he is waiting for service.

Mrs. Customer was finally getting irritated with Mr. and tried to calm him down.  At this point, Mr. Customer takes the phone and I hear it loud and clear.  I reply…”Mr. Customer I’m sorry about the inconvenience, our technician is only 10 minutes away.  If you would like for him to come another day while you have time to cool down and gather yourself so the install will go smoothly, we can set that up.  If you would like your install completed tonight, I appreciate your patience and understanding, and he will see you shortly.  By the way, are there any questions you have concerning your install?” Now Mr. Customer was dead quiet. I had to make sure the call was not disconnected.

I hear a deep breath and a sigh.  “Ma’am, thank you.  The technician will be here in 10-15 minutes?”  Within minutes of a calm demeanor during the conversation, that customer went from angry, frustrated, and irate, ready to cancel the order… to grateful we were still sending someone out that night.  I learned from the ordeal that sometimes it is just a smile in the voice, an ear to listen, a patient temper… problems can become resolved.  I heard from the tech later that night that the customer was all smiles when he arrived and was anxious to help wherever needed.

I wanted to share that just because we aren’t in the field working face to face with our customers, we are still part of the team.  We hear a lot of hurtful things, we want to hang up or yell back, but in the end… Where does that get anyone?  This technician was paid for the job, I hung up the phone and felt safe with the tech rolling to the home, and most importantly… the customer received excellent service.

It’s A Tough Job… by Jared Rabalais

Monday, September 19th, 2011

My name is Jared Rabalais, Alexandria Tech Supervisor.  My tough job is an everyday job. My day begins at 7:00 a.m. every morning with tracking department calling and giving me updates and on jobs for the route that day.  Then I have to make sure every tech that is scheduled work for that day is up and acknowledged and en-route to their first job, all 18 techs.  At 8:30 I begin building my RPP report and contacting every customer on the route to verify home phone or internet and letting them know where they fall in the tech’s route.  At 10:30 I leave my house to begin QC’s and assisting techs that may be falling behind or making a presence at as many jobs I can, to show them I am there for them.  Juggling “Line of Sights”, “WNC” and “WMT” calls in-between helping techs and rolling between jobs.  Most of the time I am unable to stop and have a lunch due to problems that require urgent attention.  At 5:00 p.m. after I have accomplished all my daily duties, I route the board and begin on my reports.  I verify with techs if they are good on equipment and work for the next day.  I do adjustments on the routes for the current day if a tech is behind and jobs needs to be moved around to keep everything working smoothly.  I stick by my phone and laptop while building reports to email out to my managers and higher ups normally till 9:30 p.m.  I normally do not shut down from work till 10:00 p.m. every night, 6 days a week.  Now with that being said, this is why I find my job to be tough, while doing all that I said; On today, 9/13/2011, I helped a tech do an install for the US Army facility in Alexandria.  I was personally requested by commanding officer because of my ability to complete the previous job and get them local channels after months of them applying and being rejected.  I assisted the tech with the job and was able to connect them up with locals on the second building we installed.  The customer was so pleased with the way the job was handled that he stated he would be calling DIRECTV just to place orders from here on out because he wants to deal directly with Multiband.  The Army base has 8 televisions up and running, allowing our soldiers to watch all the football they could handle.  Then after completing the install, I had to roll to a customer’s home that was having numerous problems with their system and the previous tech that was out there was unable to resolve.  I personally strapped on my tool belt and rewired the customer’s entire system and integrated their local channels from their cable provider into the system.  The elderly customers were so thrilled that I showed them the attention and solved their crisis that they cooked me a meal and told me to stop by anytime and visit.  By me being present and showing the customer they were valued made them extremely happy. This is just one instance where my job required me to go above and beyond to make a customer happy and complete all my daily duties.

It’s A Tough Job… by Jason Rager

Friday, September 16th, 2011

One year ago, I was given a service call at a river camp in Evansville, Indiana.  When I walked up to the customer’s front door, he told me that I was there to uninstall everything (using much cleaner language), or he would just throw it all in the river.  He had been charged almost $150 in incorrect fees, hung up on, transferred to everyone, insulted, and ignored by customer service.  His system had not been working for almost 3 weeks.  I politely asked if I could take a look at his system and see if there was anything I could do…  30 minutes later he believed that I was really only wanting to fix his problems.  His slimline dish was mounted into a tree, shooting straight into 4 more, all the coaxial cables were hanging through the trees to his house, the cables were run through the windows and straight into his receivers.  He told me 5 people had been out there to tell him he had no line of sight for DIRECTV.  Being a wooded area, it was very hard to find.  On the other side of his house was a corn field through the woods, at exactly 148 ft from his first receiver.  I spent 12 hours installing his new system, trenching through the woods, and removing all of the old system.  Finally after 1 hour on the phone with customer service (with errors on both ends), we got his bill figured out.  When I left, he was smiling from ear to ear, and couldn’t thank me enough.  It took all day, but the job passed a post QA and it felt good to completely flip that customer around.