Posts Tagged 'managed service provider'

Surprise?

I gave a talk recently at a conference of my peers – other Managed Service Providers.  The topic of my talk was Setting Client Expectations.  The gist of it was that we need to tell the client, before they even become a client, what we will and won’t do, what kind of downtime there will be, what pain they will encounter in the switchover, what their bill from us will look like, etc.  If they know it’s coming, there won’t be any conflict. 

During my talk, I broke into an impromptu aside about how I set expectations now with everyone.  For example, I am terribly unorganized.  I have piles of papers in my multiple offices.  I have a good idea of which pile each bill, letter, etc. is in.  I have a decent idea of how much money is in my checking account, even though I haven’t balanced and reconciled my checkbook since I was in high school.  I also have an amazing group of friends that I’ve had as long as I can remember.  After years of failed relationships, I finally decided to be honest with one woman right when we started dating.  I didn’t pretend to be Mr. Organization, and I after about 3 weeks of dating I informed her that one Saturday I was going to hang with my friends rather than take her out.  We are now very happily married, and I don’t have to ask permission to spend an evening with the guys.  She knows how important they are.  She is also wonderful about putting up with my clutter, and I put up with her need to straighten every so often. 

I’ve also told the people I work with of my disorganization.  I tell them they might have to remind me several times to do things.  It isn’t that I don’t care, or am lazy.  I just have many things going on and haven’t determined how to keep it all organized.  Setting the expectation that, “if I don’t get back to you right away, it isn’t that I’m ignoring” has been tremendously helpful.

The conclusion I came to, that I guess should be obvious, is that we don’t like surprises.  Sure they’re great in a movie, or even as a party, but in our business and personal lives, we want to be prepared.  That’s why almost every day in Houston there is a chance of rain.  That’s why surgeon’s let you know what their process is, what the pain will be, and what the recovery will be like.  The sentence you almost never want to hear from your surgeon is “I bet you didn’t see that coming!”