Tacked just above Ron Hoffman’s computer screen is a message on plain white paper that has guided his work at PPL Electric Utilities for 50 years.
“The customer is not an interruption to your day. The customer is the reason for your day.”
“That’s why I’m here,” said Hoffman, a customer contact representative at PPL Electric Utilities’ Sunbury Service Center, who marked a half century of service on Feb. 22. “If we didn’t have customers, we wouldn’t be in business.”
From Sunbury north to Bloomsburg and in other rural Susquehanna River towns like Shickshinny, McClure and Port Trevorton, Hoffman — who’s lived in the area all his life — is proud to call many customers by name. He’s equally proud to help answer questions and solve issues related to billing and service.
“I’ve enjoyed every step along the way, because of the many opportunities to talk with and help customers directly,” Hoffman said. “Common courtesy and understanding, that’s the key.”
Denise Scheib, one of Hoffman’s office neighbors at the Sunbury Service Center, said she’s always been impressed by his affable style talking with customers.
“He does such a nice job, the way he treats each customer and handles each call with respect and care,” she said. “He has a way with people, and we’ve all learned by his example.”
After all this time, there are few mementos at his desk, other than his customer service slogan and photos of some of his eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. His work orders take front and center.
Hoffman breaks away from reminiscing to take a call from a thankful customer who had a concern about a high bill. He used an amp tester to help isolate and identify the issue. It usually turns out to be a broken water heater or a well pump that’s constantly running.
“If there’s a problem, I’ll find out what’s going on,” he said after the call. “I’m here to help people.”
The conversation apparently went well. He smiled.
“I just made a friend,” Hoffman said.