Last week, I had a computer issue...not a big issue, more like an annoyance. Nevertheless, I dutifully called our IT support and after a couple of hours of investigation, we determined that the problem could be solved by one of two solutions; change the battery or change the mother board. The manufacturer of my machine was notified and was sending me a battery to change.
The next day, a technician contracted by the manufacturer called me to say that he needed to come to my house to change the motherboard. This didn’t make sense to me. I said that we should wait to try the battery solution first. I cited three reasons:
• It was the cheapest solution.
• I could do it myself.
• It was the less risky option.
The conversation between the technician and myself went like this:
“Ma’am, I’ve got this ticket to close, I’ve got to come to change the motherboard.”
Me: “Can’t we wait one more day to see if the battery change solves the problem?”
“Ma’am, are you saying that you’re refusing to let me close the ticket?”
Me: “No, I’m just saying that we shouldn’t waste the motherboard.”
“All that I want to do is close this ticket and I’m going to close it today. If I can’t come to change the motherboard, I’m going to close the ticket anyway.”
Me: (reluctantly) “I’ll be home all afternoon.”
“OK, now I’m happy.”
This is a prime example of the technician being so consumed with his small part of the world, that he doesn’t have the power to use common sense. He doesn’t even care to try to use common sense. He doesn’t consider the low cost solution, the risk to my computer, or even about the best way to provide customer service. He is only focused on one thing – closing his ticket.
Now, I know that it’s not this guy’s fault – he’s only responding to external stimulus that provides a reward for closing tickets. That’s his job, only closing tickets. He doesn’t consider the big picture – like being involved in post market surveillance, true customer service, understanding the real problem to feed back data to the manufacturer or even the recurrence rate of this problem. He is rewarded for closing tickets – it may even be linked to his pay or a promotion.
If you are in a position to provide guidance, direction or coaching to individuals or a team, make sure that you give them the tools and autonomy to look at the big picture. Allow them to make decisions and apply common sense – they will save your company money and provide true customer service.

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