Question

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Getting good IT employees ?

By bob ·
Do you find it difficult finding good IT employees that are trainable and have good old common sense so that they can do a good job for clients?

We had to let an employee go recently due to making our clients upset, because he did not follow through well enough on work that had to be done.

We are trying to rely less on our employees finding problems during on-site preventative maint. visits since it can be easy to overlook problems. So we are now using a proprietary automatic 24/7/365 network monitoring system, and automatic preventative maint. routine system. Now we find out problems most of the time, before out clients even know there is a problem.

This system means we can get by with one less employee, and we are doing a much better job for our clients. Now the problems are being caught real quick, where before an employee could have overlooked the problem.

Do other business owners here run into the same problems.

It seems like when an employer finds out that an employee has upset a client by not finding problems (or not following through on things), it can be too late to rectify things.

Thanks for your thoughts on this.

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This is anything BUT a perfect world that we live in ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Getting good IT employees ...

So you cannot please all of the people all of the time.

Striking a happy medium is obviously an attentive target to aim for but I'm surprised that you "had to let an employee go recently" for simply annoying a customer, when customers are a breed of animal notoriously difficult to please.

Sounds to me, more like the customer had your employee fired, for fear of what might happen vis-a-vis your customer relations if you didn't fire him. THIS is where you have a dichotomy - do you look after your customers or do you protect your employees.

I feel you have already made that choice.

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Thanks for reply

by bob In reply to This is anything BUT a pe ...

Hi Mycroff:
Thanks for your reply. Actually there was a series of things with various clients. The one last client was the most recent thing.

We do try to do the best we can for our clients. We wouldn't be there if it wasn't for them.

I was curious if other IT support cos. run into some of these same problems, where their IT employees could do a better job taking care of clients. I can't help but believe that most IT support companies probably run into these same situations.

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A series of problems tends to shed different light on it ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Thanks for reply

THIS was what I was attempting to ascertain, but didn't simply come right out and say it.

Far be it for me to actually lecture anyone on how to conduct their job of work - I'll slag folk off (and do repeatedly) for blatant stupidity but the practice of employing is quite a different matter.

My own 'employing history' only ever ran to 3 of us forming a Company but, apart from a Secretary we never took on any further 'employees'. Also we were servicing IT within a closed-shop industry so we never actually HAD any problems with customer satisfaction. This was mainly due to the closed-shop nature - if we didn't get along, the customer couldn't call in the competition because there wasn't any. Not without going outside the closed-shop environment (which was more of a nightmare than resolving the existing problems).

Inevitably there will always be workers that just aren't up to the job, that have perhaps lost the drive, lost the enthusiasm, at which point giving them the push is maybe the best thing you can do for your Company as well as for them themselves. Sometimes the short sharp shock is all that works.

However, by the same token and my own albeit limited employing experience, I can't help thinking that some customers occasionally like to 'push' - just to see where they fall in your greater scheme of things. I don't feel this is unlikely because I've had some clients that were utter bastards. One such isn't a ******* anymore because we dumped him in the middle of an overhaul of his system, when it became apparent we were almost fully paid-up and not liable for contractual obligation anymore.

I have it on good authority that this particular customer is now a very nice person to do work for.

My own view may be slightly blinkered and by no means all-seeing, but sometimes there is more value in one employee than in one customer. Good customers can be replaced.

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IT management

by bob In reply to A series of problems tend ...

Hi Mycroft:
Thanks again.
Looks like your previous customer learned to be a little nicer...lol.

I think you are right about some customers pushing. I have heard several IT consultants in the past talk about their "clients from ****". We ourselves have advised clients to upgrade their network or they might have future problems. And when they do have problems, they try to blame it on us...even though they didn't take our prior advice to upgrade their network. One was an attorney, who could have easily afforded to upgrade, but didn't. When he had problems, then he complained. It's like a patient who won't take the doctors advice, and then wonders later why he didn't get well. Fortunately we have had only a few of those.

We do really try to do our best for clients, but maybe I should approach it that no employee is perfect.

Because no employee is perfect, that means they can overlook emerging network problems during an on-site preventative maintenance check. That can make us look bad if we miss it. But I guess that most employees will never want to do as good of a job for a client as the IT owner will.

Thats why own owner developed his own 24/7/365 network maintenance monitoring system. It's been working great for our clients. There are expensive monitoring systems out there, but we went the more frugal way, so we didn't have to raise our prices, but still give great monitoring service.

Yes, it's difficult to know if an employee has to go or not. Thats why we usually wait and see if there are a series of customer complaints. Unfortunately by then, the employee can cause the loss of a few clients.

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I side with Mycroft.

by CG IT In reply to This is anything BUT a pe ...

Not to discount customer relations which are very important, but having a field tech not meet customer expectations is the norm. Any customer service represenative will tell you that. Most customers have unrealistic expectations of the service they deserve especially when there are service contracts involved. I know of a company that has service contracts in which the field tech often spend inordinate amounts of time on site fixing stuff all all in the name of customer service. The costs of which have to be obsorbed into overhead when the cost exceed the total contract price. Service contracts are like insurance. Those providing the service hope like **** the customer never calls. When they do, the tech should spend the least amount of time on site to fix the problem and fix it right so there are no more calls because $$ not spent providing service, is money made.

If the concept is to bill the customer for work that a field tech does in additon to fixing the original service call and let the managers or legal beagles fight it out with the customers, where's the customer support in that? That only brings to light that the $$ the customer paid for customer service doesn't get them the customer service they thought they had. Why pay for it?

This same company loses lots of customer service contracts because of that. That's like the construction industry practice of quoting a job and part way through say oh, it'll cost you more than what we agreed upon to get the job done knowing that one wants the job done and would rather pay the extra amount than fight it out in court. Very deceptive practice that leaves a bad taste in the customers mouth.

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Gee - thanks for that ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to I side with Mycroft.

There was little old me, thinking I was gonna get a veritable tidal wave of contention and abuse.

Just shows I'm not completely senile yet ...

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IT Mgt

by bob In reply to I side with Mycroft.

Hi CG IT:
Thanks for the post.
You are probably right that some customers have unrealistic expectations.

We even had a client that expected that they didn't need to pay us after we did a lot of work for them. They never complained about our work and never said they didn't get all hardware and service that we delivered. They just didn't want to pay the full amount, if they could get away with it.

So we had to take them to court. They were real flakes.

I guess what I was thinking of is that no IT technician is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes.

I guess what I'm looking for is:
If other IT support co. owners are reading this and lets say 0 is the worst employee and 10 is the best, where do you think some of your employees stand? Maybe I'm expecting too much...lol.

I was curious if other IT support companies might have a certain amount of mistakes the IT support company owner accepts from his technicians...hoping that those mistakes don't make clients go elsewhere.

I wonder if that is the case with other IT owners?

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Well there are numerous things to consider here

by OH Smeg In reply to Getting good IT employees ...

But the main one is how you treat your workers. If you constantly run them ragged they will be far more likely to miss things because they simply just do not have the time or Inclination to spend any more time that is the Absolute Minimum on site before they move onto their next job.

I can remember years ago work ringing up the place where I was working and being told that I had left there ages ago. Well that was true I had left the Office ages ago to go tot he building where I had work to do. The next time I rang into work they went off the deep end with the belief that I had been sciving off at their expense.

You really need to take what customers say with a grain of salt and ask your employee what is going on. After all you should know your own workers much better than your customers so you do need to listen to both sides of things.

From past experience with good workers that I have employed over the past 30 odd years I have to listen to their side of the story after complaints are made to find out what the truth is or at least what is happening. It is very rarely what the customer claims and while they may not be directly living to you they none the less get things confused. I can remember one client who went ballistic when one of my techs showed up claiming that he didn't have the time to take workstations off line for preventative maintenance and sent him away. 2 hours latter when it broke he was on the phone complaining that the Tech broke things.

But it also depends on the people you employ and their attitude. New School Trained Minimum Wage Staff are less likely to be the better techs when compared to people with years of experience in the field but they also cost more.

You don't get 10 years of experience and attitude to always try to help the customer on $2.00 and hour + Traveling Expenses.

Without knowing far more about your company and the way that it treats its employees I would be first looking at the company and its expectations of staff before looking at the staff for under performing.

From my previous experience of companies complaining that they can not get good staff fit is their fault in not employing the right people. They want the cheapest possible staff with the most experience and realistically that just doesn't happen.

Col

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