Posts Tagged ‘Barrister to bill service providers $100 for tardiness – techs are ticked’

Barrister to bill service providers $100 for tardiness – techs are ticked

Barrister is frustrating service providers again and this time they are really ticked.

Barrister Global Service Network, which claims to be “the oldest and largest woman-owned computer service company in the United States”, is a national contractor based in Louisiana. The company was founded 1972 and advertises a network of 15,000 techs on the roster who are independent contractors. The company is well established and is well known among field service technicians and IT consultants as a source of contract work.

Barrister had a good reputation with field service technicians at one time, however within the last few years many service providers have complained about poor communication and slow or non-payment for services rendered.

The payment issues were initially blamed on Hurricane Katrina, which wreaked havoc on the entire state in which Barrister is based and all but put the company out of business. However, three years later the company is back in business and seems to be a different company with a different attitude, according to some service providers.

A few weeks ago Barrister surprised 15,000 techs on their network when they sent an e-mail outlining an new Quality Initiative Program.

The following is the content of the e-mail:

“Dear Technician,

Effective Monday, February 16, 2009, we are going to be launching our Quality Initiative Program.  This initiative will reward those technicians that show up on time for their ETA, perform quality work, provide updates and closing information from onsite, etc by sending them more work. 

With the Quality Initiative program we will begin to penalize those technicians that do not show up on time for their ETA, do not perform quality work, do not provide updates and closing information from onsite, or who turn back calls after accepting them.

Effective Monday, February 16, 2009 any technician who is late for an ETA without notifying Barrister, or who doesn’t show up for an ETA will be charged a $100.00 penalty.

As you may know, our competitors offer 100% money back guarantee to their customers in regard to the quality of the technician and the work performed. With today’s economy, we have to be more customer focused and more quality driven then ever before.  

This initiative will ensure our field technician’s representing us are focused on quality as well, and the technician’s that have poor performance will have financial ramifications. “

Some techs are fed up. Many have stopped accepting calls from the company altogether.

The response to the e-mail in tech forums was overwhelmingly negative. Although a few posted positive or neutral comments about their relationship with Barrister, most of them considered the new initiative an attempt by Barrister to circumvent or avoid payment for contract work altogether. This was understandable, since some of them were still waiting for payment for jobs performed months earlier and at least one had been stiffed completely.

I received an e-mail from tbird635 that summed it all up. 

He said: “I got that email too. What really stuck out in my mind were the words ‘This initiative will reward those technicians that show up on time for their ETA, perform quality work, provide updates and closing information from onsite, etc by sending them more work.’ And just where will this additional work come from? I see maybe one a week now.”

He then pointed out another line in the Barrister e-mail that he found ironic.

“And this gem….
‘This initiative will ensure our field technician’s representing us are focused on quality as well, and the technician’s that have poor performance will have financial ramifications.’  Focused on quality??? More like focused on their watches.”

“If I were running late, and knew I was going to get nailed for that $100, I’d turn around and go home and return the favor by giving them an unfinished (and unbillable) job. as well as a P-o’ed customer (who may then seek an alternative to them). 
I think I’ve done my last Barrister job.”

Barrister is listed in The Force Field National Contractor directory under Barrister Global Services Network, Inc..  Members of The Force Field who have performed work for Barrister can rate the company and leave comments in the listing.

I called Barrister today to get their side of the story. After explaining to the operator who I was and what I was calling about, I was placed on hold for 10 minutes until someone audibly hung up the phone.