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CEO Down – How Just One Small Issue Can Bring You Down

Cards Technology

Sometimes the smallest IT problems can be the biggest irritations. Cards Technology CEO Sam Card talks about the need to quickly take care of small, but pesky, technology issues.

I recently purchased an upgraded mouse with a nice scroll wheel that makes it easy to scroll up and down and left to right. Shortly after buying this mouse, I discovered that the scroll wheel wasn’t “clicking.” The wheel just continually rolled without any brakes to slow it down. This quickly became very annoying. Despite being an IT company with dozens of spare mice in the office, I chose to just keep working with this tremendous annoyance.

When scrolling, I kept flying past what I was trying to read in my web browser; I flew past the email I wanted to look at in Outlook; I zoomed in and out repetitively trying to get the text the right size in my Excel sheets. It was very frustrating, but I was busy so I continued to deal with it and push through my work. Although hindered, I was still able to get my work done.

After about three weeks of this, I was at the breaking point. This mouse was only a few months old, so I emailed the manufacturer and told them what was happening. They instructed me to plug the mouse into a different port, try other applications, clean it with compressed air and test it on a different computer. None of these things worked. I told them their suggestions did not work. They said they were sending me a new mouse and asked that I discard the old, defective one. I thought that was a very nice warranty replacement process!

In passing, I told one of our techs of the problem and how easy the resolution to it was. Funny enough, he had purchased the exact same mouse at home, and he experienced the same problem out of the box! What was even funnier is that, like me, he had dealt with this problem for a long time. About 6 months! That evening he contacted the manufacturer, and they sent him a new mouse as well.

When my new mouse arrived, the tech came to install it. Our service manager’s 20-year-old son who works part-time for us in the summer came to assist. As they were preparing to install the new mouse, he asked why we were replacing the old mouse. The tech explained the situation with the scroll wheel continually spinning when rolled up or down. Our service manager’s son laughed and said, “See this little button below the scroll wheel? When you press it, it toggles between having the brake on the scroll wheel and the wheel spinning freely.”

Why didn’t the manufacturer mention this button before sending us replacement mice? Especially since they knew the model of the mouse we were troubleshooting – you would think they knew it had this button.

Then I added up what this little mouse problem cost our business – the labor costs (one CEO, a technician and an intern!) were high, not to mention how we could have been spending that time on something way more productive. We had a couple of hours of payroll among the CEO, two skilled engineers and our receiving clerk to deal with this problem – a very expensive way to spend time that did not produce any value!

The moral of the story is that you should never force yourself to tolerate simple annoyances. Get in a help desk ticket and hold your IT department accountable to getting these issues fixed. Little problems can add up to big, expensive time and money wasters – take it from someone who tolerated a silly mouse problem for weeks!

Sam Card can be reached at SCard@cards-tech.com. To learn more about Cards Technology, visit www.cards-tech.com.

Why Eliminating Technology Downtime Should Be A Priority – Q&A With Sam Card

Cards Technology

As seen in The Maryland Coast Dispatch

The modern workplace relies heavily on the use of technology and a stable IT environment is the backbone of how you do business. So, when a problem emerges, the time spent waiting around for your IT provider can really add up. Sam Card discusses why some IT providers have slow response times, and what you can do about it.

Q: My technology partner promises immediate service, but sometimes I am waiting days to get things addressed. Why is this happening?

Sam Card: Some IT providers make a lot of promises in regard to meeting your company's needs, yet many don’t have the systems in place to deliver service when you need it most. There are a few reasons for this. First, if organizational roles are not clearly defined, then there is no set process for how to move through issues quickly. For example, a provider might not have a designated person on hand to answer the phone, or online requests are treated differently than phone calls. There’s also the risk of different people scheduling overlapping appointments, resulting in double booking.

Not having a proven process to distinguish calls is another reason you might be waiting long for a response. Quick calls should be handled differently than diagnostic visits. Also, there should be a service manager in the office specifically assigned to service issues. If there is no accountability system in place to work through more complicated issues quickly, that could lead to a delayed response.

Q: The IT provider I work with usually comes out the same day, but only if I am in touch before 9:00 a.m. Is this standard procedure?

SC: Unfortunately, you can’t always predict when an issue will arise. And it usually happens once employees have arrived and the day has started. Instead of sticking to rules and timelines, a better way to address tickets is to base them on priority and age. Calculations can be used to figure out where in the pipeline an issue belongs and then work on an appropriate solution. That way, you don’t have to contend with antsy employees, lost revenue and frustrated clients.

Q: So, what should I ask or look for to ensure I don’t experience more downtime than necessary?

SC: Ask about team structure first. You want to make sure your provider has a dedicated service dispatcher that operates as the communication “hub” between the clients and the company. Second, look for a company with a multi-tiered help desk. Smaller, quick turnaround requests should be immediately assigned to T1 technicians, while more complicated issues can be sent to the more seasoned and knowledgeable T2 technicians. This system provides quicker resolution times with the appropriate level of skill.