Doing the same thing over and over again over a long time usually gives the opportunity to recognize some pattern.
One pattern I found in solving customer messages is the following:
The less friendly and the more agressive the customer acts with the message processor the worse is the actual outcome of the message.
What does ‘outcome’ mean here? To me a positive message outcome includes:
1) The problem is technically solved.
2) The solution was available quickly enough so that the solution is still relevant to the customer
3) The customer feels better after the issue is solved – it was a positive change for him.
So, in oder to find out how to facilitate the 3 points above, let’s look what one can do to actually prevent them. Let’s start looking for anti-pattern… these are the WTMTW (ways-to-make-things-worse) I found:
WTMTW #1: Don’t cooperate at all!
Just tell the message processor that there is a problem in some area of his so-called standard-software and let him alone with that.
If the message processor asks for log- or trace-files ignore this or just send some arbitrary file.
If he asks you for a system connection, deny this and insist that the problem must be a bug that should be analyzed in-house at SAP.
WTMTW #2: Pump up the pressure!
Open each and every message on priority ‘Very High’ or ‘High’ regardless how important it is to the business processes of your company. If you don’t get replies to your message entries that you made 5 minutes before the office hours are done in your timezone – call the CIC and complain about it.
Ask to be connected to the message processor immediately and threaten him/her with the escalation of this message to the highest management level there is.
WTMTW #3: Ignore the basic rules of human communications.
As the support people are trained to handle sensitive cutomers they get along without any problem when you don’t put any formal greetings or regards in your messages. Don’t even tell them what your name is – it’s none of their business, is it?
WTMTW #4: “Punish” the message processor by giving him/her bad rates in the customer satisfaction survey after the message had been closed. He/Her should know that they cannot mess with you.
WMTMW #5: Fortify your position!
You’re not ‘just another customer’ but the most important one. Let the message processor know exactly how important you and your company are. This surely provides the motivation to “give out the solution” more quickly. Don’t react to anything the message processor writes or asks before he has confessed your importance.
Interestingly these anti-pattern (!) are used quite a lot.
More interestingly to me it seems like the group of the users is heavily biased to be maskulin ***.
I can hardly remember to have ever read a message of a women that was not at least civilized. And in my memory I can only find phone-calls to men, that swaered and shouted all the time while talking to the message processor.
To me ‘message processing’ (similar to most other services) can be seen either as a conflict or a strategic game.
In both models one overall strategy is most often the most succssfull: focus on the goal – not on positions.*
For all involved parties the outcome of a message is best, when the problem is solved.
Assinging the guilt or blame to anyone does make nobody better off. Making the other party angry – never a good idea to get things done (ever argued with your mechanic..?).
But what if you got a ‘really bad’ message processor? Well, tell him/her directly what you don’t like and what you expect. Ask to have the message handled by a different processor if it does not get better.
If anything else fails: contact your SAP representative and discuss what can be done to improve the outcome of messages for your compary (and yourself).
*(-> reading hint may be “Getting to Yes”)