Disappointment on a Friday

We work very hard for our customers. We take lots of lumps for our suppliers. Its our boxen, so if their stuff occasionally fails in our boxen … well its obviously our fault. Right? I am not disclaiming responsibility … we take ownership of every problem.

So now imagine you are a customer, and you have a vendor who sends you (proactively) multiple sets of replacement SSDs. Walks you through the process of swapout. Helps fix any issues that remain. Same vendor overnight ships all parts to you, though they don’t have to … you didn’t pay for that … for exchange. Same vendor spends many hours working with your team to resolve your issues, not with the hardware, but with the software/OS that you’ve been installing and configuring. Same vendor calls up shippers, gets signature pages, etc. when you claim they didn’t ship, and help you understand where the problems in receiving are.

Would you say that such service has not been up to an acceptable standard?

Now add in a bill for support beyond the hardware. For everything non hardware related. To pull your proverbial chestnuts out of a fire, multiple times. A bill at a non-discountable rate, as you rejected every overture to lower the rate.

Is the service still up to an acceptable standard?

And suppose this vendor, doing all these things above and beyond what they are contractually obligated to do (we don’t like doing “bare minimum” effort), asks you to live up to your end of the bargins on your discount. They provide you a discount for a reason … and you don’t want to fulfill your aspect of it.

Welcome to my Friday morning.

There are days that I really enjoy; that I really like running a business. Then there are days like this. Where, when we are providing over the top support and service, where we are as proactive as we can be. Where we are working to provide an enterprise class service to a company that indicates they want it, but balks at paying for it, even via discounting mechanisms that meet every objective … because they want the benefit without paying the cost …

Yeah, welcome to my Friday morning.

What I want now is to get a number of bigger orders today so I can restore the balance of karma. Or yin and yang. Or something.

A few years ago, we had a customer whom had been badly treated by their internal IT folks. This guy had definable and quantifiable business needs, with clear cost and benefits to them. Yet he was pushed around badly by his support staff. He came to me (we were working with this company at the time), and started complaining vociferously about them. I pointed out that I couldn’t help the past, I couldn’t change it, I don’t care what they did to you in the past, we need to only look at how we can help you going forward. Give the guy and the company the level of support he needed. He could justify it. We wanted to help.

They (IT) didn’t treat him well. We would have. Given the chance. Which we weren’t given. IT decided it wanted to service him after all. We were pushed out of the way. Funny how that is. Maybe karma doesn’t get balanced. That made for a disappointing set of days as well.

We’ve had people do all manner of things to us … Sometimes it was part of a negotiation process, sometimes it was part of a power struggle within a company that we (unfortunately) got caught up in by who we worked with. The’ve been fairly disappointing days as well.

We keep on slugging on though. Gotta be able to look ourselves in the mirror, and know we’ve done the best we can do. Everything else is noise.

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