Talk To The Hand

I’m sorry, I generally try to be more helpful and informative in my posts, but this one is going to be a rant. I am venting, so please understand. This will still be an informative post because it will show the intensity of my desire to always be on top of everything I do for my clients. But I am griping.

Not every Information Technology company wants to hear about your problem, even if it is THEIR problem.

Nothing is more frustrating to me than knowing that I will bend over backwards to troubleshoot an issue and find a solution, or I will determine after much study that the issue is not something in my power to fix as it is the result of some failure in a component, web site, application, or device that is not under my control, but instead find the developer of the broken thing could care less and have no desire to even attempt looking into the possibility that they are the cause.

“Talk to the Hand”!

As a managed service provider, we at NMJ Technology LLC know the services we provide, we are the engineers that manage them every day, we know their capabilities. We know their limits. We know how to troubleshoot a failure of some sort and find and correct that issue. We have the entire technical support engineering group of the various services or functionality available at out beck and call to do even deeper investigation where specific bits and bytes need to be traced to verify what is functioning or not functioning and why. Basically, if we cannot fix it, the thing to be fixed is something not under our command. Plain and Simple.

We know that outside of our realm, there are other systems that help complete any business map of productivity, be it an internet provider, a cloud service provider, a device or appliance, a hosting company. We cannot directly support or troubleshoot these because they are not part of our collection of services.

In most cases, the outside or third-party vendor of these other services have good support. We can communicate on the engineering level to collectively solve an issue. It is in fact something that should be within their desire to solve as it may directly impact their bottom line. If a developer was not willing to fix a broken widget, no one would want to buy the widget. They’d suffer as a developer company.

But there are times when outside companies just do not care to help solve an issue. They have no investment or interest in helping me fix an issue with their stuff. They do not want to spend a single man-hour to even try to take a shot at being helpful. You see, they always know that it is not “them”, but it is “us”. “It’s not our problem, its something on your end”.

Which kind of business or companies are most likely to throw up their hand when asked to help solve an issue that might be in their control. These are usually the Information Technology Support team of almost any other business or organization that is not selling a product or service to my client. The competing IT providers will throw up their hand without a single attempt to help fix an issue because fixing or not fixing it does not really affect their position or standing in any way. They may even develop a bad reputation as a result, but having a tarnished reputation still does not affect their business, because they really are not selling something to the general public or to other commercial entities.

That puts NMJ Technology LLC in the position to prove a point. Its a bad position to be in. I hate having to do it, because I get on peoples nerves when I know I am right, when I know it would be easier for the outside vendor to just take some time to try and be helpful, and they just wont. When two providers are exchanging salvos of “Its not us, it’s you” … “No it is not us, it is you…”, eventually the client will get a bad feeling about both providers.

I don’t like having anyone feeling any bad feeling or frustrations with NMJ Technology LLC. I do have something to sell, and so I need to make sure the client know I am not the source of any of their issues. I may in fact even know exactly where the cause of the outside third party trouble is to be found, but I can’t make a change. It is not my system, it is not my service. But communicating that to the other guy is basically an exercise in futility, because they’ve already thrown up the “Hand”.

Listen, I am not a know-it-all. I know when I could be wrong. I know when I have been wrong. I own it. I admit to it and say “yeah, my bad, that was me, sorry”. But it is because I have to go the extra mile and do my due diligence to show the client the evidence showing who is at fault, even if it ends up me “us” and not “them”. I will absolutely take the time to dig, and gather more and more information about what is going on, this evidence can clearly show that I know what I am talking about. It is amazing how often I will have the evidence in hand, clearly showing why it is “them” and not “us”, but “them” could care less and keep that hand up. They don’t like to be shown as wrong. I get it. There is a pride thing that happens. I feel it too. That’s why I bust my ass to find the real reason and show the client that I have done to show it is the other guy, because, after all this, in fact, it IS the other guy.

I had a client with an issue. A provider had a system to automatically send “info” emails to my client. They simply were not arriving. I did all I could to verify they were never even reaching out border of control. At first the provider of the service that would send these email was helpful. I got bit and byte “traces” from my systems, and I asked if they could provide theirs. They did. My traces indicated that their service never attempted to contact ours. When I looked at their trace, it indeed showed exactly the same thing, it indicated in their own logs, that their system never attempted to contact ours. When I pointed this out to them, they basically ignored me, I showed this to the client and cleared my position with them, and they went to the provider themselves to complain because they saw I had my ducks in a row. They wanted their stuff to work as promised. The vendor still basically said, and I am paraphrasing here, “Listen, we’ve looked into this and it is not our problem”. Up went the Hand.

Even though I showed the proof, they could care less. They eventually found a workaround, they got something working, then charged my client a boatload of cash to cover “the mistakes of NMJ Technology LLC”. If anything, they should have been giving the client a discount or refund for their mistake. The client knew better than to take that information without a grain of salt. We had the evidence on our side. And the provider never provided evidence of a counter-argument. I went on with my work and decided not to make it personal.

I had that happen more recently with a government agency for the State of Ohio who has not been able to send a particular piece of mail from a mass mailing system of some kind. I did the same process, I was able to show that the mail never even approached our border of services. No communication from the government site. I said they need to talk to the agency’s IT department to look at some logs and determine why their system was failing to send the email. My client communicated this through the user on the government system who certainly has no ability to troubleshoot at the IT level. So that person went to the IT people in the government agency, and they would not even offer to talk with me to solve it. Big hand there. A GOVERNMENT HAND. Those are the worst kind.

If I am wrong, then show me. I am not that proud. I have been wrong. I will admit my inaccuracy…. if you can prove it to me. The other thing that happens is that since I am sure of the facts, and because I know I am not just off my rocker, and because I know that I am not just being too proud to admit I might be wrong, it really is up to “them” to prove that I am indeed incorrect. They never do, because the hand is up, and they have already dismissed anything about the issue. They do not care to spend a single moment on accepting that I might know what I am talking about, complete with a white board diagram, a story-board, a PowerPoint presentation, and a long dissertation behind my podium, with music…. lol. Yeah I may go overboard. But you see I know when I am right, and I know when I am wrong.

Basically this happens:

I say, “I know the issue is on your end, because I have this, and those, and that, and these to show and prove it.”

They say, “Well, we know it is not us, and we have nothing to back that up with, we haven’t looked at it, we desire not to look at it, and we don’t care about continuing to even talk about it any longer, … oh… and we have no proof either way … oh … and … sorry… my hand is up….. TALK to the HAND”

If you want a company that always has your interests at heart, who will always make sure your systems are behaving and performing well, and that your systems nor NMJ Technology LLC are never the reason why something works, you need to call me today. I will make sure you are A-OK.

I feel much better now, thank you for listening.

I have been in the Information Technology Consulting business since 1987. I studied at Kent State University in the field of Industrial Technology with the desire to become an electrical engineer like my father before me. My segue into computer networking was a complete surprise that I gladly accepted as a way to move forward in my experiences. I learned networking from the Novell point of view, and that eventually led me into the Microsoft world which is where I have become an exceptional consultant. Away from business, I continue to perfect my musicianship and write music. I have a lovely wife, and darling daughter, and super step son, two cats, a dog, and some gold fish in my pond.