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Service - what does it mean to you?

Recently our little company has been very busy and while it has been tricky to maintain a high level of service, it's something we are managing very carefully. Interestingly though, we have had clients ask us to do things quickly, easily or cheaply. Generally there is no difference in the service provided, however, as our time becomes more precious, it's easy to take the client's request and act on it in the manner they have requested.

For example - "Can you quickly wipe these computers and then roll them out to be sold?"

"Sure - how much time and effort do you want us to put in to this?" (read: how much money do you want to spend on using our valuable time).

"Not much, just make sure our data's wiped and then get them out the door."

OK, so we clear the data, wipe the free space or re-install after a Darik's Boot And Nuke (DBAN) and then roll them out.

Now our client says to us that it hasn't been done properly and they want an explanation. For the first time ever, I reckon, I pointed at the email trail and said to them "You wanted fast, easy and cheap. You got it. If you want well done, comprehensive and completely satisfying, that does not fall into the fast/easy/cheap categories".

Interestingly the client sat back for a moment, said "You've got a point there. Can you sort this out properly?" Well sure I can and I have, but the cost in my time is there.

There's a line in the movie Tango and Cash where Jack Palance replies to two of his underlings telling them "Quick and Easy. Quick and Easy is how you make a cake." and then goes on to talk about killing Tango and Cash. My point to the client today was "Quick and Easy is how you make a cake - not have a well thought, solid and reliable IT infrastructure." Wake up peeps - spend some money and do it right the first time and stop being disappointed when you pay minimal dollar and get minimal effort.

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