The dilema and rants of “Service Provider” quality of support and services is one we go through day by day. This morning I awoke to a rant by a Tweep on the costs of certain bank services, in this case US$2.5 (UGX 6,500) for an over the counter withdrawal. I smiled because I has been hit with a similar charge for a statement on my account at US$4.7 (UGX 12,000) per month (irrespective) of the number of transactions.
So then I started thinking, yes its going to get me into trouble, how does a consumer (non-technical) but who knows what they want live with service providers. Personally I follow a couple of rules of thumb:
- Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
- I cannot change the service provider however, though I can get them to listen to me
- The service is mass market so is not optimized for my particular convenience and usage, so I may need to modify some of my behavior to suit my needs
- If the service is not working for me I can change it, but I must be willing to pay the price for the change
- If you make your bed, you need to sleep in it
- Once you select a service provider, you may need to adjust to their shortcomings in order to make the best usage of their style of service delivery
- The cost of changing service providers is usually high, so either stick to the one you have or pay it and move on
- Research your service providers before committing to them
- The reality is you never have enough time, but if you do focus on the basic service you need and your special needs (those on which you cannot compromise)
- Most times the service provider you choose will be based on a referral or positive feedback so accept that you will not know enough when you jump in
- Read social media on experiences (spend the time now, and you will know better later)
- Use multiple service providers
- This may not always be possible hence #1, #2 and #3 above
- If its possible however, you need to determine what each provider is best at focus on that, and mitigate where they are weak. I use 3 different Telecom providers for mobile phone & data services, because over the three plans I am totally covered for voice and data needs.
- All service providers cost the same
- Even with different service offerings, always check the exceptions which is where you will get hit the most (#3 – Research)
- Henry Ford recommended creating a product or service that caters for 80% of the populations basic needs, leaving 5-10% who have special needs and are willing to pay extra to get it…. Pick a service where you fall in the 80% and it will work for you most of the time
- The best tool for the job is the one you know how to use well
- In the new consumer driven information age, this is true, learn to use your service providers as tools, at times they change to you, other times you change to suit them
How do you manage the relationships with your service providers? How do you deal with their shortcomings?