Scanning my Facebook news feed today, I came across a story about two business men who had a problem with a large ocean ship they owned. The ship needed engine repairs and the men had already went through several vendors to repair the engine with no success. Eventually, they came across an older gentleman who advertised more than 30 years experience in large engine repair and specifically on the engine they had.
Having no luck otherwise, they decided to hire the man. Soon later, he arrived to work on the engine carrying a large bag of tools and proceeded to inspect the engine. The two owners watched intently hoping he would know what to do and that they would have their engine running again.
After a little time, the man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He selected the right place on the motor and gave the engine a tap. The engine came to life and ran perfectly. The owners were very happy and the old man returned the hammer to his bag and left with a job well done.
Later the owners received the invoice for his work. It priced the repairs at $10,000. Upset by the amount, they wrote to the old man and asked for an itemized bill so that they could justify such a large payment for such little work. When they received the invoice it listed two lines for the repair:
- Tap engine with small hammer $ 2.00
- Knowing where to tap $ 9,998.00
The most valuable thing is knowing where to tap.
When working with a vendor to resolve an issue you want to work with one who knows where to tap. Many times when working with large corporate software providers, you may find yourself passing through the phone tree to arrive at an individual who is reading from a script and who may never have actually worked a day in an HR environment. You can anticipate the frustration you are about to experience almost immediately after the phone is answered.
One of the most frustrating things for myself is when they say, “I am sorry you are experiencing this problem.”, for the third, fourth, fifth time (I got the message that you are sorry I am experiencing this problem the first three times you said it, let’s get the issue resolved already.) Over and over the same phrase, apologizing, instead of a strong sense of confidence letting you know you have reached the right person and they will solve your problem.
One way to ensure you can expect the right type of response in this situation is to work with a solutions partner who knows the ins and outs of the software. A firm authorized by the software company to provide service and sales so you know they are qualified. Instead of a phone tree and scripted responses, you want a direct line to a familiar voice that you know is knowledgeable and most importantly is in this problem with you. You should feel like your problem is now their problem.
It’s easier not to stress, when you have familiarity with the other person and you have developed a solid partnership, over time. A knowledgeable expert in many aspects of what you are experiencing and in every case, a go to person who can quickly find answers and most importantly follow up throughout the process and make you feel you are receiving the service you deserve as a valuable customer.
Most importantly, one who apologizes once, and then solves your problem.