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5 Reasons why (some) Computer Service Providers Suck #2

Reason #2 – Communication is not a four letter word

Warning: This post contains my very dry humor.

I’m going to come out and admit something here and I know it’ll surprise everyone reading this – I’m not perfect nor do I know every last bit of information about computers. I know, I know I’m shaking the foundation of your reality.  There are times when you, as one of our customers, will get an error message or have problem that I’ll have to go to Google for assistance (gasp!!!) or do some testing in our test lab because I just don’t know the answer. I may even open a ticket with a vendor (e.g. Microsoft, Quicken etc).

Why is it that some IT or service providers feel they can’t admit when they don’t know something?  I’ve lost count of how many times our customers have expressed frustration with their previous provider in this regard.  Business owners aren’t stupid – they know when they are handed a line of BS. They also don’t appreciate when someone they are paying around $100 an hour shows up to fix a problem and suddenly disappears without explanation.

Did they leave to research the problem? Do they need a hardware part? Did they have a sudden case of diarrhea?

Worse yet, problems that never get solved and no explanation is ever given.  There is only one instance that I can see when problem is not solved and you have to live with the issue:  This is when the expense of fixing the problem out weighs the inconvenience or impact.  BUT, if the provider doesn’t explain this, you become disgruntled with the service and disenchanted with the providers ability.

The great thing about small/Medium businesses (SMB), is that normally we get to deal with either the owner or a very knowledgeable manager. These are down to earth people that understand day to day businesses and the hurdles that all small businesses must face.  If providers are just straight forward with you and take the time to verbalize what they are doing, in most cases, the only think they’ll be doing is building a better relationship with you, as their customer.

Here is our formula for Successful Issue Communication:

When there is a problem that takes time to resolve:

  1. Explain briefly the problem and the impacts.
  2. Explain what we are doing the resolve the problem and an estimated ETA

When the problem is fixed:

  1. Explain what we did and what can be done to avoid the problem in the future.

Simple.

Lastly, I’ll admit I struggle with this when times are busy, I’ll stop by and visit.  Nine times out of 10 (yes, 90% of the time) I’ll discover that there are new issues, service or products that are required and we haven’t been notified due to being too busy to contact us.  We’ve also been known to bring a tray or two of Tim Horton’s coffee or buy a pizza lunch to ensure you know that we are still around even though though you haven’t needed to call us in a while.

Don’t let your service provider get away with ambiguity. While sometimes technicians can get caught up in fixing a problem, if you are not getting clear communication in regards to what is happening, then know there are service providers out there that do make this a priority.

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