Braving a Gas Disaster

Braving a Gas Disaster
By: Nicholas A. Dunlap, CPM

So after the ordeal I described last week, we are finally back online with gas to all apartments.  And what an experience or ordeal that was.  There is a first time for everything and let me just say that I hope it was also the last.  Through it all, we learned a great deal about the sense of community at our apartment complex, compassion through cooperation and the understanding or lack thereof that we as humans possess.  Of course, we also learned about the ridiculous bureaucracy at the Gas Company and the unfortunate authority that individual Gas Company employees possess.

Our entire property was dug up, and now, the new gas lines have been installed and inspected and the dirt has been put back.  Through it all, I have realized that we have a lot of great residents and truly understanding people who care about the community they live in.  Each night, we bought all of our tenants food and drink and hosted dinners in the courtyard.  We had people bring sodas and other food items to the dinners as if to show that we are all in this together.  However, we also had tenants call the City of Orange Code Enforcement and the Orange County Housing Authority under the false pretense that we had “shut gas off to one building or one tenant, not to the entire complex.” After speaking with both parties over the telephone and even bumping into a Field Supervisor for the Housing Authority on-site, they were surprised to see that the issue was not as small as the tenant or tenants had made it seem, but that in fact it was a much larger issue that affected everyone and that we had absolutely no control over the gas being turned on or off. 

But that’s life…you will never make everyone happy and sometimes, trying to do so will drive you crazy.  But as a business owner, if you do the right thing, put your customers first and act quickly in times of disaster or panic, you can not only solve problems, but do wonders for your reputation.  Think of the 4 C’s: customer service, compassion, courtesy and community.  Put the people’s interest first and you can’t go wrong.