Blocking and Tackling

I was speaking with a colleague from Finance about Customer Service: yep – Finance … Customer service. She was remembering how her father had his own company and how they (the kids) were well trained on how to answer the phone politely and with respect and how her mother would be in the middle of “ripping them” (ripping is what parents used to do when parenting was the in thing) but quickly convert to Customer Service 101 when the phone rang. Just to proceed to uninterrupted “ripping” when she hung up the phone. I loved it and I loved from whence it came – Finance needs customer service too.

In technology we always have 2 sets of customers – internal and external customers. And if finance is working on their customer service skills then why not technology? Are we above the need to listen to our customers and exercise a little or a “lottle” patience and understanding when dealing with our internal customers? And why do we treat our external customers with such grace and finesse and tear apart our internal “children of a lesser god”? Is it beneath us to use complete sentences and elongated paragraphs when communicating with our customers? Is the extra time really that much of a drain on our overall productivity?

I have heard a lot of the “reasons” for how we treat our customers and the reality is this – if we don’t treat our customers like customers, someone else will and they will not be our customers anymore. And yes, that applies to our internal customers as well. It is simply blocking and tackling. I was watching the Monday night game last week and the announcers were discussing Bill Belichick’s practice and how they cover every detail. What does he get for that? 4 Super Bowl appearances in 10 years with 3 wins and the only team to ever go undefeated in the regular season – ever. Yes they did lose the Super Bowl that year but that is completely irrelevant – you cannot ignore the only team to ever go undefeated in the history of the NFL.

Customer service is like blocking and tackling – if you do it well – and by well I mean do a fantastic job at it religiously and fanatically – you will every opportunity to impress the world with your elegant technical architectural designs and efficient code writing and scalable infrastructure. If you do not do it well, no one will ever know how great you really are.

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