Operations Customer Service

Being Nice IS a Differentiator

2 Minute Read
In a previous blog post, we talked about the concept: serve first. The first component was customer service. Today? We talk about saying yes and being nice (the two go hand-in-hand).
Think about the last interaction you had as a customer. How did it go? I have an example: I was getting a bulb changed in my car. The shop couldn’t find the labor charge for the work in their computer system. The gentleman went and got the technician and asked, “How hard was it?” The technician replied, “Took all of two minutes.” The gentleman helping me handed me an invoice for $3.85, which was just the price of the bulb. That was it, no labor charge. I was in shock!
You see, customers have gotten used to nice being optional. So much so that when a customer runs into a genuinely nice interaction, they are stunned! In a good way.
That positive reaction has enormous power: it makes people want to work with you. When bumps in the road come up? You’ve created a bucket of goodwill to draw from. The next time my car is getting worked on, where do you think I’ll go? You got it: the company I referenced above. And if there’s an issue, what do you think my reaction will be? I’ll have far more patience with that company than I would have if they’d wasted my time to add another ten bucks to my bill for a labor charge, that’s for sure.
Ask most teams (marketing, sales, accounting) how nice their IT team is. It’s not a comfortable answer. We understand where both sides are coming from. Internal IT is being asked to do increasingly more with far less resources. IT is the department of, “no.” They are too busy to help; too busy to complete projects on time. And too busy to ever say, “Yes.”
Resource utilization is a powerful driver of negative reactions. How do you act when you’re being pulled in 40 directions? That next person who asks you a question is generally the one to suffer. When we are maxed out on our utilization, we don’t have the spare capacity to be nice! Or say yes. Think about your car: if you have your foot on the gas and it’s to the floor, that’s it. That’s all the engine has to give. People are the same. When we red line them, push them to capacity, there’s nothing left to give. It’s not that the individual doesn’t want to be nice, it’s not that they want to say no, they just don’t have the extra capacity to do either! And it impacts our ability to serve first.
There’s an old adage in IT that says, “80% utilization is the same as 100% utilization.” When our resources don’t have time to breathe, they don’t have time to be nice. And they most definitely don’t have time to say yes.
How do we address this? Budgets are constrained, so hiring more people is out of the question. Saying yes just means more work and we already don’t have the time for our current projects. The sneak peek answer is this: tools. We have a full blog post dedicated to this topic coming soon. Be sure to check it out.


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