Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Two Part Fix

There are times you have a problem in the field.  These times suck. While it's going on, you're doing everything you can to fix the problem, whatever it is. And this is good. But keep in mind there are two parts to fixing the problem:
  • alleviate the customer's pain
  • resolve the underlying issue
Particularly when the issue is non-trivial or will take some time to fix, it can be a while before you are able to resolve the underlying issue. In this case, consider alleviating the customer's pain in the meantime. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is there a workaround?
  • Can we reduce the frequency of the issue?
  • Can we reduce the effect of the issue when it occurs?
If the answer to any of those is yes, you can make your customer happier while you go in and fix the problem once and for all. Generally, unless the fix is going to happen really soon now, alleviating the customer's pain is going to be worth your time.

When you have a customer issue, don't forget to look at both halves of the fix: (1) making the problem hurt less; and (2) fixing the actual issue.

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