About a month ago, I ran a post on print management software that had some interesting reactions. Perhaps most surprising of all was being contacted by Noel O’Dwyer, VP, Marketing and Strategic Alliances of Equitrac.
To say that I have not had great experiences with Equitrac’s products and solutions would be a mild understatement. One of the projects I managed involved 5300 devices across 90 sites and represented about $10 million in service and equipment revenue. As with any massive project, failures of a subcomponent are amplified simply because of the size, and this project was no different. What salvaged the contract was the relationship between us and our client.
But Noel’s call started a little differently – and in fact was rather refreshing. Noel went on to say that he, as Director of Software Alliances at eCopy, oversaw the relationship with Equitrac and could directly empathize with how painful some of the experiences may have been up to five years ago. However, his decision to join the company a little over two years ago was based on significant improvement and commitment he had seen in areas of customer support and channel commitment. His role as VP of Marketing and Strategic Alliances was to retool Equitrac’s marketing programs and initiatives to better support their channel.
Noel went on to ask if it would be possible to fly in an meet in person to discuss. While many might have chalked this up as another half-baked attempt at getting just one more sale, Noel’s story was specifically compelling.
Because I used to be a client of a little company called Kearns Business Solutions, and while I enjoyed the services provide the integration process was painful at best. Literally, I was 4 hours away from closing it down because of failure to start. What salvaged the initiative was the relationship between I and my partner.
So I could empathize with the position Noel was in, the opportunity he had, and mountain he had to climb with former customers like me. I know as a customer service focused professional, I would enjoy the same courtesy.
After flying in to spend the afternoon with me, I was impressed with a few things worth mentioning:
- Training had clearly been well thought out, and a lot of horsepower put behind the Equitrac training program.
- Integration with manufacturer bonus programs and rewards programs was well conceived and would engender sales reps support.
- Marketing collateral was well put together, specifically laser-focusing on quick stand-up of a sales and support program.
But you know what impressed me the most? The candid and open stance throughout all the conversations which simply represented the tone, “It’s up to you to make the decision. All we can do ask for another chance, but it’s up to you to give it.”
Much like a failing marriage, the partners have a decision to make. The easier decision is to walk away, but the difficult decision is to stay and work through the pain.
As the business unit leader for my company’s professional services group, an avid business and technology blogger, and highly-passionate service-oriented person it is an interesting dialog to reopen.
What do you think? Do I stay or do I go?
Ken Stewart’s website, ChangeForge, focuses on the collision between the constantly changing worlds of business and technology in an information-centric world. Ken serves on the board of the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA), an international industry organization seeking worldwide best practices for the managed print services industry, and writes a weekly column for MPS Insights. He is also the founder of Seeking the Son, and is always interested in connecting with you to see how he might help you.