I vividly remember being at the YMCA with my mother when I was about six years old. She was renewing our membership and the lady behind the counter was asking about the ages of my mom’s kids. I’m one of ten children so you can imagine that money was sometimes tight (I say this in defense of my mother because of what I about to recount). When she asked whether my oldest sister was under 18 my mother said yes but I was pretty sure she was older so I tried to correct her. Knowing what I was trying to do my mother stepped on my foot somewhat forcefully and repeatedly (because I really needed to correct the age thing), to which I reacted by saying loudly, “Mom, you’re stepping on my foot! And I’m pretty sure Martha is over 18.” Clearly my mother wished I had just bitten my lip, or maybe she wanted to bite my lip.
Now that I am old and wise I have better impulse control, but I still find myself in situations where I really need to set the record straight. One such situation which, unfortunately, has arisen more than once is the three way meeting among our end customer, an MSP and Provade in which the customer says something like “I really wish we could report on that”, or “it’s too bad we don’t have a report that shows X”. When these meetings are in person you can often see an uncomfortable look come across the face of the MSP because, like my mother at the YMCA, they can see me perk-up to set the record straight. For the record, this is not the norm. Most MSPs are on top of the reporting needs of the customer and know how to leverage our reporting and analytics very effectively. But it does happen enough that I was compelled to bang out this little blog.
Of course, as the solution provider I want our technology to be appreciated and accurately represented so I offer-up as diplomatically as I can, the correction that “Oh, well, there happens to be this report that shows precisely what you want to see.” This sometimes is greeted with pleasure, with the customer happily accepting the revelation. But other times it’s met with questions – “Why haven’t I been told this before?", or “Did you know this report was available?”. These are good questions and they deserve a response. I am only speculating, but I suspect that it is often the case that the daily, transactional demands of the program consume all of the MSP’s time and there just isn’t any left for the more strategic and analytical activities. I’m amazed at how long a program can be in place before these questions arise.
Given that most of our customers’ programs are run by an MSP, it isn’t always possible for us to be sufficiently involved to avoid this situation. And when we do see it occurring, we need to be respectful of the relationship we have with both the customer and the MSP. But we can’t let it persist because to do so means the customer is not getting all they deserve out of the solution and we are inaccurately perceived as providing an inferior product. The key is to figure-out how to correct the perception without getting your foot stomped-on. Maybe a blog would work…