It doesn’t matter what is causing the problem… solve the problem!

By David Hollingsworth, Managing Member at Avid Communications.

Too Much Finger PointingOne of the problems in our industry is that there’s too much finger pointing.

What I mean by that is there are usually multiple vendors supporting your Information Technology infrastructure. You might work with one company for help desk support, another company for your internet bandwidth, a third company for your phone system, and a different company for your printers. As you specialize, you will have other vendors for things like Electronic Medical Record systems, Warehouse management software, and more.

What happens when something isn’t working? Who do you call? And what if they say the problem isn’t really their problem?

We had this happen recently with a real estate customer of ours. They have three large printers in their network that are managed by a local printing company. We support their firewall and network as well as their VoIP phone system. And there’s another vendor in the mix that does help desk support for their end users.

“The Printer is NOT WORKING!”

Network PrinterOne of their printers stopped working. And this is a real problem because they print hundreds of color copies a day for the properties they’re representing. When one of their main printers goes down, everything slows down and that translates into frustration and lost opportunity.

They urgently called their printing vendor to report the problem. After some troubleshooting, the printing vendor said it wasn’t the printer… it must be a network problem. So the next call was to Avid since we support their network. (See the problem here? The client is playing General Contractor for all the vendors they have at the table.)

The client asked us to go on-site to get to the bottom of the issue. And we know from experience that we needed the printing company vendor to be there as well. So we invited them to the meeting.

We went on-site and validated that network traffic was successfully getting from the PCs to the printer… so it wasn’t the network. After eliminating all variables related to the network, we KNEW it had to be something going on with the printer.

We looked through the printer settings and noticed settings related to the Ethernet interface. Without getting too technical, the printer was trying to communicate at a higher speed than it was actually capable of handling. We set it up to use a lower speed setting and once we made that change, everything started working perfectly.

The problem was the printer. But somebody had to get to the bottom of things, so we kept going.

The point of this story is to address the problem of too many variables in the mix to be able to hold anyone accountable. This is a common problem with Information Technology related support. And we know this. We know that we have to dig in, even when it’s likely not something we have control of. We know that when we solve weird problems like this for our customers, we’re investing in a long term relationship.

Do you have vendors at the table that go that extra mile? Or do you typically end up being the General Contractor dealing with a bunch of finger pointing? If you’re in the second category, give us a call.

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