"That’s What We’re Here For"


    My main point here I think is “Tech Support should NOT be part of the normal process.”

    I needed to register for an internal company tech support website (for teleconference support) and was trying to log in to the website. I have a card here with the following info:

    • Owner Name
    • Owner Number
    • Conference Code
    • Leader PIN

    To log in to the website, it asks for “Owner Name” and “Password.” Since nothing I has says “Password” I tried the “Leader PIN.” Didn't work. It says “If you are visiting here for the first time, click on forgot password.” The “forgot password” screen wouldn't recognize me as a valid user, so it was time to call tech support.

    Turns out, tech support had to give me a 4-digit “Web PIN” to be able to start the registration process. I went to another screen and created a “User Name” and “Password.”

    I got kicked back to the main screen, the place that says “Owner Name” wants you to enter the “User Name” or it doesn't work (these are two different things).

    I said to the tech support rep, “You know, the website is very confusing. I'm good with computers and I couldn't figure it out because things are labeled wrong on screen and it seems every new user has to make a tech support call, which costs us all money.”

    The tech support rep was sort of irritated and said, “Well sir, that's what we're here for.”

    I told her, “It shouldn't be that way, I'm just trying to help, if you don't want to do anything to fix the website, then fine.”

    I can't imagine the tech support rep passing any of this along because, in a way, the poorly designed and poorly implemented website is job security for her and her co-workers. Fewer tech support calls probably means somebody loses their job.

    It's too bad that organization can't have everyone on the same team in a way that improves quality (and reduces cost) for the company and the customers. How many people tolerate a bad process out of self-interest and/or fear? Management's job is to create an organization where people aren't paralyzed by fear, where they aren't punished for doing the right thing.

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    1. I’d say it’s not just fear or wariness, but also indifference and the idea that “there’s a department to take care of it” that results in the persistence of suc bad processes. I have seen an organisation crippled by poorly designed ERP processes, yet even those affected would not take the time to initiate the minor tweaks which would have resulted in a much more usable system.

    2. It’s highly likely that the rep, or one of his/her coworkers tried on one or more occasions to get improvements made. Those recommendations get lost in the IT “prioritization” process and people eventually give up on making improvements.


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