A friend in need is a friend indeed

Published on
February 3, 2016
– and we’re true to all our customers, whenever they need us

We all know that you find out who your true friends are when things are going badly. When you need to ask a big favour, and you call around – or more likely these days post on social media – there are those that will drop everything and come and help, and those that will mutter something about getting back to you when they have the time.

Of course, when you’re a big company paying good money for a service contract, you can count on your partners to rush to your support at the first sign of trouble. Can’t you?

We at 4CornerNetworks certainly think so, and we are proud to provide the very best Cisco Technical Support, whether it be on-site or remote, at any time of the day and night. Indeed, our highly qualified Cisco Network Engineers are usually so involved in the projects we work on that it is they who flag up problems to our clients, not the other way around.

Cisco Technical Support from 4CornerNetworks

But the important thing is that whoever flags up a problem, we will throw ourselves into dealing with it immediately, because we know how important IT networks are, both to our clients in their respective sector and the companies which they work for – who we also regard as our clients and friends. When an issue arises which is threatening the wellbeing of one of our client businesses, our usual stipulations for booking resource of three to five days’ notice becomes meaningless: we scramble to it the instant we hear about the issue, and everyone in the organisation from myself down takes responsibility for what we have to do to fix it and meet the end clients expectations. Fortunately, our international network and flexible, shift-based approach means that we always have people ready to do the job, however remote the location.

Sadly, it appears that this is not a universal standard within our sector. Many clients come to us because they are unhappy with the treatment they have received for network services when the really needed them. Needless to say, this often comes after years of paying good money for a perfectly reasonable but unspectacular service, which means they are left all the more disappointed when managers who should be their friends and who know they are in trouble simply turn their phones off for the night or the weekend. In modern business, many firms don’t have the luxury of waiting until Monday before even starting to think of solving a serious problem.

The essence of good service in a business-to-business operation such as ours is therefore to be available when we are needed.

The knock-on effects of providing a 24/7 service, compared to not doing so, were neatly illustrated last week in this tale of two cities: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-east-coast-blizzard-20160125-story.html

Basically, when a once-in-a-decade storm dumped several feet of snow on the Eastern US, New York sent out 4,600 workers and more than 2,000 pieces of equipment, with its crews on 12 hour shifts so that half were on the streets at any time. This round-the-clock operation through the weekend ensured that most people got to work on Monday morning, kids got to school, and the city lost just 7% of its economic output for the affected period.

In Washington DC by contrast, fewer workers were sent out, and there was a less concerted effort generally to get the city up and running. The article highlights a number of reasons, such as the fact that the US capital has less snow on average and is therefore not as well prepared and resourced to deal with the issue as New York. But reading through the lines, we can see what are basically excuses. Excuses for why the city lost 25% of its economic output for three days.

Many businesses are all too familiar with excuses from their suppliers. Some corporations have a culture which seems to value excuse-making above problem-solving. This seems to be a mindset too many organisations drift into as they scale up, and that is why I have always strived to create an open and accountable culture at 4CornerNetworks. We are still small enough that either myself or our operations manager Heidi Toms will be on the end of that phone dealing with an issue for a customer, and neither of us is going to shirk responsibility or switch our phone off for the evening.

But we are growing, and that’s why I am also encouraging a culture where everyone at 4CornerNetworks, employees and contracted Cisco Engineers alike, takes responsibility for and ownership of our clients’ problems. The flip side of this is that everyone within 4CornerNetworks is treated as a professional, and paid accordingly.

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