It seems to me that clients often measure the performance of an integrator by how well the company cleans up the metaphorical messes its made. I suspect that this is one, if not THE most important, factor when considering job performance and customer satisfaction. In fact, for many, this defines the actual quality of the installation.
I’ve often used the saying, “95 percent of a good job is a bad job.” That means that it’s the last 5 percent that determines success or failure. There are many reasons for this:
- The details are what everyone understands. They may not know whether you used the right kind of cable, but they know whether you labeled each end. The servers may function perfectly, but if there’s a little LED on the front panel that is blinking continuously, it will drive many people crazy. Handwritten labels on masking tape, trash left behind, no equipment manuals – all of these are things that the client can understand and can fix. Why didn’t the integrator?
- The tip of the iceberg. If the integrator missed these simple and obvious things, what else did they miss? This turns into a trust issue. It’s hard to trust that the things you can’t see and can’t understand are OK when the things you can see and can understand are deficient.
- What will happen if something breaks? Again, the issue of trust and confidence comes into play. If it took the integrator this long to clean up after itself, what is its attention to detail going to be like when something breaks? Can you trust that the integrator will show up on time, send things out under warranty, and replace them promptly?
Of course, there’s a positive side to this equation if the integrator is prepared to step up to the task. Even if there have been problems during the installation, including the product not working or missed deadlines, you can be redeemed. A dedicated effort to finish the job, with incredible focus on every detail, will pull you out of almost every penalty box. Problems will be forgiven, and the account will usually result in a reference from the client. Sadly, we see too few integrators take advantage of this aspect of a project. As a result, companies are often dragged down as they struggle to complete things and move on.