Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I've gone over this post in my head a number of times. No matter how often I try, I can't make it sound at all believable.
All I can offer is my most sincere word that all that follows is the truth, and furthermore that the company involved actually remains in business.

Ok, so historically in my company all the "relationship building" and "trust establishing" is done by the sales staff before the contract is signed. Of course after the contract is signed, the sales people have no reason to continue the relationship. Except the monthly residual commissions. Oh, well.
Either way, the relationship (trust not included) is handed off to the technical people who wear special hats called "Customer Liaison" so that in our spare time we can manage the customer relationship.
And this failed to work for a few years. Eventually, some people washed out of the sales and technical sides to form a dedicated "Account Care Team" which is only responsible for managing the relationship between the company and the customer. Awesome, right? Except that the associated paperwork didn't make the transition. I still can't get over that part.
Wait wait wait! It gets better!
So my tech-minded co-workers and I still get to do the work, but we have oversight now and have to do it to the new and undocumented standards of these "Account Care Team" people.
Now, to be fair I dodged the Customer Liaison bullet for months. I dodged it, in fact, until the "Account Care Team" was put in control. Then I was given a batch of customers to do on an unchartable schedule based on how big the customer is, how broken it is, how big they might be, and some other variable that may or may not be based on the splatter pattern of chicken entrails. Some are weekly, some are monthly, some are every three weeks. Sometimes, they all line up due. This week was that cosmically crappy week.
Ok. So I sit down to perform a "Health Check" document on about ten customers. I've done this a few ways, but have actually never heard back from these mysterious "Account Care" people so I had no idea what was appropriate. Remember, this organization is allergic to processes and procedures so there is no standard.
I've turned in 40 pages and 1 page with the same deafening silence as a response. Of course, I opted for the one page option.
Monday while attending an online class (more about that later this week) and putting out various blazes I also completed about ten of them, using a one-page template I dug up in the "Account Care Team" folder. All anyone ever said was "log into the customer portal and note anything odd - maybe make some suggestions." It needs to be noted that the customer has rights to the customer portal and (in a pinch) could look this up on their own.
As I have always done, I included in my email text like this:

"Please let me know if you'd like these done another way or if I can provide additional information"

Nothing was odd, so I left the fields blank, just updated for customer and date and signed them and sent them off as Word documents.
This time I got a response from the "Account Care Team":

"Please see the attached Health Checks. Either way will suffice, but we prefer the style of (name of technician #2 deleted to comply with non-disclosure agreement) since we get fewer questions.
Ok. So I looked at the example of technician #1. His simple word document shared a one-page template with the other (and my own), but contained incident reports, uptime metrics and recommendations. Technician #2 submitted the same form in PDF format, filling in the blanks with "N/A" and "No problems".
Holy crap.
So the only freaking difference between mine and the good example is "N/A" on every line and the creation of a PDF, which I skipped thinking the "Account Care Team" could more easily modify a Word document. Apparently they couldn't even modify it enough to add "N/A" a few times.

I read back over that. I must again stress - seriously.
Today I'll continue online training. My normal schedule has been totally derailed but at least I get to put a door between myself and the asshats for once.

1 comment:

Michael said...

so how is the training going? I start mine on the 12th of next month.