See YOUR successes … Real employees share their Elevate stories
Customer Responsiveness – Fran Letizia talks about his commitment
Employees around the company are Doing the Right Thing and living our Elevate 2015 ambitions of Customer Responsiveness, Stewardship, Safety and Reliability, and Cost Competitiveness. We’d like to highlight one such employee who puts Customer Responsiveness first, all day, every day, it’s in his DNA. As we continue to highlight employees like Fran, please share your stories with us.
Meet Fran Letizia
Underground mechanic foreman Fran Letizia, Jr. started with the company in Syracuse, NY 30 years ago, following in his father’s footsteps. He “gives 110%” every day, has about the most positive attitude around and sets his sights squarely on his main mission: helping customers. We talked with Fran about his can-do commitment to our Elevate 2015 ambition of Customer Responsiveness.
What I like most about what I do
“As a worker fixing things out in the field, I get a lot of opportunity to interact with, and help, customers. And that gives me the most satisfaction.
“I guess it comes from the way you are, the core of the person. Everybody has
a reason for doing something. I feel like I have a great job, a healthy family and a very good life. And I was raised in a big family, where we were taught to care for other people.
“I’m looking to push some of that ‘positive’ onto someone else. I just want to make a customer’s day, or even week, month or year, a little easier. Or switch a negative perspective to positive.
“If I can do that, I feel like a customer will see their bill in the mail and think, ‘That’s not such a bad company.’ Or maybe they’ll do something nice for someone else – that it will spread from there.”
All about the customer
“When I’m helping customers, I think about how I would want somebody to take care of my parents, or my family. It’s all about the customer and not about you at all, especially during storms.
“Sometimes people get angry when their power’s out. But I let them know we’re doing all we can. I take time to explain exactly how the system works and when they can expect their power back. If we can’t restore them right away, I let them know why. And I assure them that our being there is getting them one step closer to getting their power on.
“I listen to them too. And a lot of times, you find it’s not just about the power. Their husband may have died. Or maybe their son’s moved away or not speaking with them. Listening and trying to pacify them goes a long way.”
“The best customer moments for me are when I give a little extra to help someone in need. A couple of months ago, I was finishing up my work day when an older lady came to me, looking for directions to a local cancer center where her husband was staying. She didn’t have the address or phone number, and couldn’t reach her family. So I found it for her, then told her to follow me there, as it was about 15 miles away and she didn’t seem comfortable going it alone. About six or seven family members were waiting in the parking lot when we arrived. And the woman – who knew I was from National Grid – took my name and was so grateful. It was a nice feeling to help her.
“Of course, there are lots of opportunities to help people during storms. Two stand out for me.
“About three or four years ago, up in Buffalo, we cleared a big tree in an older couple’s yard to bring them back to service, like the rest of their block. The man was in a wheelchair and the woman was so appreciative, she went out and bought us coffee.
“And during Hurricane Sandy, a crew and I left a restaurant at midnight, just finishing dinner, to help a man in Greenport, Long Island. He’d been out of power for two weeks, didn’t know where to turn, so we drove out to clear a downed wire and help him. It was awesome.”
“I feel fortunate to have the job I have and the lifestyle I lead. I try to give to the company exactly what I think they would want and then some. I like to go home every day knowing I gave 110%. You gotta be happy with what you do, and it overflows to other places.
“Outside of work, I help maintain the local youth center my grandfather helped build 40 years ago. My job at National Grid affords me the time and means to do that community work too.
“I guess the main thing I would say is that it all comes from within. It’s not the job that inspires me to be the person I am, it’s the person I am that inspires me to do the job I do.”
Describe myself in one word?
“I guess I’d have to say … ‘positive.’”