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What do IT People Like to See in Their Customers?

Summary: Contracted IT providers have unique jobs and they have a variety of guidelines to help maintain a positive relationship with their customers. Hear from Lonnie Cherry and Steve Ripper, from PCG IT, on the best way to build a relationship with your IT provider. Listen or read more to find out about what IT people like to see in their customers.

Dave Hodgdon: It is Tech Tuesday and of course the Morning Information Center is brought to you by PCG IT for world-class IT service and customer support. You can go to pcgit.com. And in joining me in the studio this morning is Steve and Lonnie from PCG IT. Good morning, guys.

Lonnie Cherry: Good morning, Dave.

Dave: So, you were just commenting on my Red Sox report there about Chris Sale. So, how’s your arm feel? What do you think, Steve?

Steve Ripper: Well, I mean it doesn’t get too much of a workout on the keyboard, but I could go pitch. I could go do that. If they want to call me, I’m ready. I can throw. I can be 6-10. I can do that.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah, I know, right? Especially if you’re making . . . let’s see . . . He’s a six years, $160 million, that’s what a lot of people would call . . . [crosstalk]

Steve: And every fifth day. I could do that.

Dave: Every fifth day. Can you imagine working one in five days and making that much money?

Steve: I think I’d go crazy the other four days. Every time I see them in the dugout —

Dave: [crosstalk] — like to work, right?

Steve: … I see them in the dugout. I’m like, “What do they do?” How many sunflower seeds can you eat while you just watch baseball for the 700th time?

Dave: And you’re working about three hours a day, just sitting in the dugout watching the games.

Steve: I could do it.

Ideal Qualities in IT Customers

Dave: Yeah. Well anyway, we’re going to talk some IT this morning because that’s why you guys are here. It’s PCG IT for world-class IT service and customer support. You can head on over to pcgit.com. So often we talk about, as a customer, what you’re looking for when you’re looking for an IT firm. But today we’re going to talk a little bit differently. What do IT people like to see in their customers? This is kind of a role reversal. So, you don’t always take on customers who want to come for your services, right?

Steve: Yes. So, one of the things that we were talking about was that how in the back of the room there, we do talk about good customers. The difference between having a good customer and a bad customer. There are some bad customers. There are customers that you have that don’t listen to anything you ask them to do — [crosstalk]

Dave: So, security of their infrastructure or systems?

Steve: Sure. So, we’ll make recommendations to go have a better experience both with the computers, with the relationship, with everything, that you may need to do this and it’ll just become adversarial, where it wants to just be ‘save money all the time’. And we understand. We don’t really want to spend all your money either, but there are certain things that we are going to have to spend money on. There’s certain things that we’re going to have to do. There’s certain concepts that we’re going to have to understand. And so, we at the same time every one of our customers has customers of their own. So, they value customers that work with them, that fit their model, so do we.

Making the Most of a Relationship with IT Providers

Dave: Okay. So, Lonnie, what are some of the things that customers do that make this relationship easier? For example, I would think that one of the things that would probably . . . is the most common thing that you tell people to not do is save things to the desktop. I don’t even want to show you this desktop.

Lonnie: Right.

Dave: And I’m going to throw Mike Pomp under the bus right now because he saves everything to the desktop. And then he says, “Dave, the computer’s not working.” So, then it’s up to me to come in here and clean it up. But what are some of the things that customers do that actually builds that relationship and makes it a good one?

Lonnie: Absolutely. One of the biggest things for me is trust. I want my clients to trust my knowledge and my recommendations and understand that I’m going to help them understand the technology that we’re providing for them and the services that we’re providing for them. They really should understand that I’m making these recommendations in their best interest. And when they do understand that, it makes for a really good relationship.

Steve: Yeah.

Dave: Now I want to ask you . . . Oh, go ahead. Go on, Steve.

Steve: So, things we like to see is when we have a point of contact on the inside of the company, when we have someone that we can interact with and build a relationship with. Because if you don’t have a relationship, then you can’t make those recommendations. You feel like you’re on the sidelines of what’s going on with them until the phone call comes in and says, “Why is this happening to me?” So, we like to see a relationship, we like to see a point of contact who will work with us.

Sometimes things aren’t going the way you want it to. So, you’re in the server room, you’re on the PC and there’s a problem. So, having a point of contact inside the company that can either advocate for us, defend us, block for us, where they’re out there saying, “Look, they’re working on it.”

So, for myself, that gives me the opportunity to actually just, “We’ll solve this problem. Why is that red light on? And we’re going to fix it.”

Dave: Right. I think in this day and age, we’re so reliant on the internet, especially for this radio station. We were having some issues with our infrastructure. We have one IT guy for our whole entire media company and it affects us to be able to control the radio station. But I know, like for the sales department, they’ll just go home because they’ll get so frustrated that it’s taking more than 15 minutes and they’ll go home and use their internet.

But, so now we’ve talked about the good customer and without throwing any names out there, do you guys have any stories about that bad customer? I don’t even want to call them a bad customer, but stuff that they do that drives you guys crazy as IT professionals that you have to go in there and clean up the mess then afterwards?

How NOT to Act with Your IT Provider

Lonnie: I always love the ones that wait till they’re behind the eight ball to provide you with the problem.

Dave: Yeah.

Lonnie: And then all of a sudden it’s an immediate issue. That’s one of the things that drives us crazy as IT guys. Because you’ve already exceeded the deadline and now you’re wanting me to do magic.

Dave: Right.

Lonnie: I feel like sometimes clients think it’s this IT thing, it’s so mystical and magical, you’re just going to wave your wand and fix it.

Dave: And now it becomes your problem.

Lonnie: Now it becomes my problem.

Dave: . . . And when is it going to be fixed?

Lonnie: And why haven’t you met my deadline?

Dave: Right.

Lonnie: That was two weeks ago?

Dave: Right.

Steve: So, we’ll see things like they’ll leave all of the things that they’ve been thinking about all week for 4:30 on Friday.

I’m interested. I definitely am interested and we don’t want this radio show to come out as like sour grapes that we’re not interested in adding people as customers or that we wouldn’t own the problems. But there’s definitely a give and take where the relationship works better if both sides understand. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Dave: It does.

Steve: We would love a company when they view us as one of their employees. We work for them, we are a contractor and we get that. But if you treat us as if you’re treating any employee that you’ve given a task to, then it’s probably going to go much, much better because we view ourselves that way. So, we’re . . . we’re being paid to come into the network and own the problems, even though it’s not our company, but we’re paid to own it.

So, if you treat us that way, then it works great. It works so much better. So, don’t wait ‘til 4:30 on a Friday or five o’clock to finally report your issue.

Dave: Yeah.

Lonnie: Understand you need to spend some money on your infrastructure that we’re here to help.

Steve: Right. Oh yeah.

Dave: Yeah. Well guys, I appreciate you coming in. It’s PCG IT this is Tech Tuesday here on WTSN. They are the sponsor of the Morning Information Center. So, for world-class IT service and customer support, head on over to pcgit.com. Steve and Lonnie, thanks for coming in.

Lonnie: Thank you. Have a nice day.

Steve: Thank you.

Dave: Thanks.