We Charge By The Hour

So I had a deeply unsatisfying encounter with a techie.

One of those on-call IT troubleshooter gangs.

Long story short, I politely maintained that a diagnosis without recourse to remedy, lasting less time than the chat over something to ‘whet the whistle’, did not merit a full, virtually entirely unused, hour’s fee.

Especially when their hq booker was resolute that said mend would follow. And the engineer turned up late, even after they’d re-arranged the slot to their favour (at some inconvenience to us).

I remained calm throughout. 

All the screwdriver would say was;

We charge by the hour

Like a parrot.

When repeated, it had the air of a pop song refrain. Words the same, notes altered for effect.

They refused to deviate.

It was as if ‘training’ had cemented this Pavlovian brick wall.

When they had the audacity to ask for further work I was aghast.

Absolutely no chance. There is no relationship here. Never.

Win-win is the only basis on which I conduct business.

And they patently aren’t interested in such an approach.

I certainly didn’t expect a freebie. I did expect some common sense leeway landing on a fair trade. Especially as it cannot be as if the exact same situation had not occurred before.

For the sake of a simple few quid, they lose out on future revenue.

Do they even care how much and from where?

Many aspects troubled me about this.

Not least the one where in negotiation, we are told you must stay resolute in the face of buyers bashing you for what represents unmerited margin erosion. Remove personality from the equation. Stand firm to gain respect.

Which is fine advice. Except where one side fails to budge, with the other suffering a sour taste from the affair. One they will not forget. One that will ultimately cost you.

My main gripe was in the pitiful objection handling technique.

I’m all in favour of stick-to-your-guns “the price is the price”. Yet that can only be successfully applied when there is true value, both given and received. Not the case here.

Similarly, the famed old “knowing where to hit” gag does not apply either. Not least because in this instance, no hammer blow chugged my machine back into life.

Forget the fact that in a fluid schedule, such five-minute no-fix callout ought have a separate, lower rate.

No empathy, no reasoning, no dialogue.

No more.

Being so ill-attuned to customer expectations is a recipe for rampant unsustainability.

On the way out, I was regaled with how long they’d been doing their job. “I’ve fixed ten and a half thousand computers”. Who cares, mate. Mine remains broken. The final nail. Make sure you stay well clear of such catastrophe.

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