Without Customers and Clients, We Have Nothing to Do

customerserviceOne of the more important things I do in my day job is to be sure our clients/customers get what they are expecting.  As an educational institution, our customers are faculty and staff.  They come to us with their needs, and sometimes with their wants, and we, as the IT department, need to be open to their needs and their wants, and provide the solutions they are asking for.

This doesn’t mean they always get what they want, but it does mean that we do our very best not to stand in the way of instruction and academic freedom.  We, as IT people, do not get to choose what the client wants to teach, or have available to them, in the classroom.  Our job is to support their teaching needs.

And that includes putting in software that we may personally not like or prefer.  I have had ongoing push-back from two of my technicians who do not like deploying Firefox in our classroom environments.  There is some cause for their concern, as two of our faculty/student browser-based pieces of software only work with Internet Explorer 7 and not with Firefox.  But in general, Firefox is the preferred browser for most of our students and as much as half our faculty. So the solution is to deploy both Internet Explorer and Firefox.   These two technicians do not like Firefox, and find every excuse to come back to me and tell me why they can’t put it in a particular classroom they are working on, coming up with technical reasons or blatantly personal reasons why they cannot deploy the software.

And they are entitled to their opinion.  But my customer is not me or my technicians.  My customer is the instructor or staff member who needs and/or wants this for their classroom.  We can make recommendations and suggestions, but when it comes down to brass tacks, the word “no” cannot be in our vocabulary.  The customer gets what they ask for, 99.99% of the time.  Our ability to provide what the customer wants is what guarantees our jobs aren’t outsourced to someone who will provide what the customer wants.

Without my customers’ happiness, I don’t have a job.  And I’d rather keep mine right now, all things considered.