How it all works: Lesson from a network specialist

The analogy to ‘quality’ and the trends in the eighties with Japan, is
a powerful one. Makes perfect sense, they took it up first, others
scoffed at it, and as you rightly say, where are they now. And more
than just ‘customer focused design’ it’s a mindset shift, in other
words, how can we give you what you most need, in a manner that best
suits you, for a price that is right, ultimately sharing with you an
experience that makes you come back for more

This is the first paragraph of my response to Tom Guariello‘s comment in the conversation around the "Women Only = Design + Innovation" post, we’ve been talking about the shift away from the "Business as War" metaphor as niblettes, brought up from Doc Searls website.

Now, read the lines I’ve italicized, and hold the thought while I tell you a story. On the night of Monday the 13th, my network connection crashed. Of course it was the full moon and mercury was retrograde, as my sister would say, but the fact of the matter is that I was lost, since I’ve work due. On Tuesday morning, I called Comcast and they had their end of it up but my PC stubbornly refused to ping the system. They told me that I should reformat my hard drive.

Aghast, I attempted a few things that I’d gleaned from help sites on the net but decided not to apply my ignorance and ruin anything. I looked up Craigslist and found an advertisement for a tech support person, whose name rang a bell – I thought I could recall reading about Jim Kay somewhere on CL that he was good at what he did. He was also about twice as expensive as the others, but I plunged in and clicked on the email button. It led to a nice website with his resume and background and I sent Jim an email outlining my problem. I received a reply from him that very night, quite late. That was the first signal to me, the responsiveness, that I’d guessed right.

After an exchange of emails, where I’d also mentioned my concern about the cost, Jim called me last night and that was the second signal. He told me that he’d read my email carefully and he wanted to explain his process for troubleshooting to me, so that I’d know what he would do, and that he usually tried to do this in the first hour – the ‘magic’ hour as he called it. If it would be a hardware problem or would take more time, like an actual reformat – I believe his example was that you could take a car into the mechanic for a funny noise and the mechanic suggests a complete rebuild of the engine, tsk tsk that’s Comcast trying to blow you off – we set a time for today. I was already impressed by Jim Kay.

Today, he showed up on time, was pleasant, personable and professional. In other words, the three C’s of success – credentials, credibility, charisma. Jim took the trouble to explain what he was doing, was respectful and generous with his explanations and gave me a heads up when he was going over the first hour.

It’s fixed! It’s running! For the first time in days, I’ve not had to have three windows open to use my laptop with ‘borrowed’ wireless, contort my system – one s/w to recieve mail, one to respond and general stress from worrying about the PC (yes, it’s my baby).

He demonstrated to me the words I’ve italicized, as a professional, these are the things he did,

how can we give you what you most need, in a manner that best
suits you, for a price that is right, ultimately sharing with you an
experience that makes you come back for more

when he walked into my computer room and said to me, "Niti, I put myself in my customers shoes. I think, what would I want to hear that makes me feel better about everything? How much will cost? What is wrong? How long will it take? This is what I try to answer to help you."

Those are the crucial few words, that exemplify the reason I will not only recommend Jim highly, I will call him back if need be and do what I can for him and his business.  Because those six words, I put myself in my customers shoes mean just one word, empathy.

Jim Kay 510.903.9218
He serves Oakland, San Francisco and the Bay Area. His rate is $75/hour, one hour minimum. Worth every penny.

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