By C.P. McGrowl, Chief Channel Curmudgeon
Gary Vaynerchuk, a serial entrepreneur and CEO, and author of The Hustler’s Digest newsletter, has a great line he uses about how crazy it is for people to do business one way, and then, as consumers, expect to be treated in a completely different way. It’s just common sense: Sell unto others as you would have them sell unto you.
Sometimes, you can break through. This author once wrote these lines in a complaint to a Fortune 100 telecom company I had a billing problem with: “Aren’t you consumers also? Have you EVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH A LARGE FACELESS CORPORATION THAT PROMISES TO FIX SOMETHING AND DOESN’T? You’re humans … right?”
Amazingly, they fixed the problem the next day. Still, for every tale of redemption, there are 8 million stories in the naked city that don’t end nearly so well.
Here’s one, delivered for your consideration as a case log of my first experience with a supplier’s “managed support” SD-WAN service. The value proposition for me was that the company promised to manage, as a third-party, other suppliers’ internet connections. Anyone who’s tried to wrangle a bunch of constituent SD-WAN connections will immediately see the appeal. This is a well-respected company with smart people, so I thought, “Let’s try it out. They’ve got the resources, scale and ability to deliver.”
This is their story.
Case log: Received an email telling me the SD-WAN was non-responsive at a customer’s site. It’s a single link, a decision based on price. I asked the customer to power-cycle their equipment. You know how people love to hear, “Did you try turning it off then turning it back on again?”
This is a big, important customer, so the problem had my full attention. (Case note: Yes, of course, all my customers are important, point taken.)
Meanwhile, the supplier sent an email to the customer and me asking, “Hey, does your site have power? Because we noticed your SD-WAN stopped responding … ”
(Case note: Yes, it would have made more sense for them to have instead called the site directly to verify if it had power.)
Anyway, I immediately called the supplier myself and, to its credit, a tech answered on the first ring. I explained why I was calling and asked, “Did you contact the service provider to verify service before sending an email about power?”
His answer: “No, we just assumed the power went out.”
To be clear: This customer is paying a premium for proactive third-party support, and this is Step 1 of the as-advertised process: Open a ticket with the internet supplier to confirm if service is working.
(Case note: Starting to think the customer should have spent the money on a redundant link instead.)
Next step, I asked the tech, “Would you please call the internet supplier and check to see if there is a problem?” Not adding: “As your contract states you will.”
Spoiler alert: There was a KNOWN AREA OUTAGE affecting multiple customers.
The tech called me back a few minutes later: “AT&T says …