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Tech Vendors Should Be As Good As My Plumber --- Performance One Can Genuinely Admire

By Art Gillis www.artgillis.com First, why am I interfering in my wife's domain? Because life dictates the need for flexibility, and even though household management is her territory, family obligations demanded her presence in New England. That didn't stop the faucet from dripping, however. So I stayed home to "manage" the situation with our plumber.

By Art Gillis www.artgillis.com

First, why am I interfering in my wife's domain? Because life dictates the need for flexibility, and even though household management is her territory, family obligations demanded her presence in New England. That didn't stop the faucet from dripping, however. So I stayed home to "manage" the situation with our plumber.The appointment was for 7:00 AM. The grandfather clock in the front hall and the chime of the door bell created a harmonious symphony. Score one for Nomor Leeks. He was right on time. Nomor had two associates with him. One was a diagnostician. The other was an assistant. Both were absolutely necessary. Instantly, I noticed their attire. I can't help it. I notice everyone's attire. I got it from my mother. She used an expression which front-ended for ten other things I had to do to be properly groomed. She would say, "Wear a white shirt." Nomor must have had the same kind of mom because the crew's white shirts were on the laundry's hanger thirty minutes before they arrived at my front door. As were the green work pants. And their booties were the kind surgeons use. My wife's coaching seemed unnecessary - "And tell them to take their shoes off."

Outside in the guest parking area was Nomor's caravan. A perfectly detailed van with a trailer hitched to it that was probably as well equipped as the Home Depot's Plumbing Department. The reason I know this is that not once did Nomor say he'd get back to me. The entire process was methodical. Nomor greeted me politely without the usual complaints about the war in Iraq, or the traffic on I-635, or his daughter's tuition, or the price of gas. All he cared about was the reason for our call. Once he got to the leak, he dispatched the diagnostician to check every other water-based appliance in the house for suspected problems. Nomor focused on the leak. The able assistant went to the caravan two or three times while Nomor did the prep work. The problem was repaired in twenty-eight minutes. The assistant cleaned up, and never asked for a pan or a sponge. He had his own. He even took the trash with him. When Nomor arrived at the main floor after his conquest, he asked the diagnostician if anything else needed attention. The exact answer was, "Everything's perfect." The crew left but Nomor returned in a few minutes with a printed bill which clearly meant the caravan was also equipped with a mobile office. The amount was pretty rich compared to what a plumber-du-jour might charge, but I paid it quicker than a Las Vegas slot machine, and I was thrilled to do so. Not only did I enjoy the confidence of a leak-proof house but, I could hardly wait for my wife to return so I could gloat over the fact that I took care of everything, and she could continue to count on me as her main man.

Following is what I imagine is part of Nomor's service manual for all employees. Bank Tech Vendors should adopt it, and more.

1. Excuses and apologies are not permitted: That leaves only one alternative. Do it right the first time. 2. Be accountable: On time, with the goods, thorough, devoted to duty, cut out the personal chatter, charge for everything, advise not to sell, but to provide future reliability. 3. Be clean: If it's 4:00 PM, dust yourself off and use the deodorant spray in the caravan. 4. Follow-up: Call the next day to see if we really did fix the problem. 5. Finger pointing: Only if it's aimed at you. 6. Don't look for praise: The only place for praise is in the customer's check and continued business. 7. Keep your mouth shut: Solving the customer's problem speaks louder than talking the talk. 8. Make yourself scarce: Look around and fix what might break tomorrow. It saves money and eliminates headaches. Remember, we're not family that stays. We're fixers, in and out. 9. Your customer is not your shrink: Don't reveal your issues. Fake it if you have to but act competent. 10. Teach somebody something: When we gather at the shop on Friday afternoons, and tap the keg, share your war stories with others so they can learn new things. Monday will roll around sooner than you want it to, and we'll be out there again, pleasing customers with solutions that work.

Caveat: I know that technology work is far more complicated than plumbing. Even Bill Gates said PC technology was too complex about 15 years ago, but it is more complex today. That just means bank tech vendor repair people have to add an 11th commandment — Thou shalt remove complexity from the problem and talk like the sales person who sold this solution.

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