In one of our early training classes here at FPA we have a section called "Good vs. Evil". In it we explore some of the more blatant differences between how we operate (Good) vs. how many of our competitors operate (Evil). Things like - "being on time" vs. "showing up late or not showing up at all", "teaching the client to fish" vs. "hoarding knowledge", "over-communicating" vs. "lack of communication", "objective consulting and presenting options" vs. "selling, selling, selling", "legally licensed software" vs. "pirated copies" and "extensive documentation" vs. "no documentation at all". Since inception, we've tried to live up to these concepts and separate ourselves from the pack and I believe it's one of the things that's been a foundation of our success over the years. Our "Good vs. Evil" comparison really helps put things into perspective for our staff. It's easy to comprehend and easy to live by. The cool part is this concept is used by our staff all the time.
Recently, these two examples of Evil were brought to my attention - again by my staff touting some of the differences between us (Good) and them (Evil)...
First, a prospective client who was in the process of leaving a competitor (for lack of attention) called and let us know that their Anti-virus system had just expired and was looking for our input on what to do about it. There were questions like: "should we renew it or move to our recommended solution earlier? or is there a temporary solution we could implement in the meantime? or any other suggestions?" First, we let them know that this would never happen with us because we manage all of our clients' maintenance renewals, deal with them timely, and make sure they never lapse. And then secondly, we suggested they contact their existing IT provider and see if they had any suggestions (as we weren't an authorized partner of that software). Maybe they could renew temporarily. Or give them a 30 day grace period. Once they got in touch with them, the other IT provider told them they'd take care of it. A few minutes later they called the client back and told them everything was taken care of. They now had another 6 months. They then went on to say that they took a license key from another client and installed it on their system. I know - hard to believe. But a true story. Our client did ask us, "isn't this illegal?" Clearly - a big difference between us and them.
For the second example, only today I was emailed a copy of the technical support documentation that AT&T provided after a client of ours upgraded their internet connection. Literally it was a hand written note of a bunch of IP addresses on the back of the installer's business card. While we document everything we can, we would never leave a handwritten note. I'm glad it made such an impression on our staff that they felt compelled to share it with me.
As I see it, this is all good (no pun intended). Using something as simple as "Good vs. Evil" to communicate the differences between us and them clarifies things around here. But more importantly, it ultimately helps to ensure that the service we provide is of the highest quality. And to me that's great!
If you've experienced "Evil" at the hands of your IT service provider, we'd love to hear about it. Drop us a line!