It’s All About Attitude

Who will your customers call when things go haywire?

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By Jack Harding

When I started my career at IBM, one of the favorite sales lines we used was, “No one ever lost their job because they chose IBM.” In the burgeoning business computer market, that was true. Why? It wasn’t the size of the company. Actually, we were forbidden to link customer success with IBM’s “bigness,” which was an artifact of the Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. It wasn’t always the technology either. Fledglings DEC, Wang and Basic Four, not to mention HP, were often a generation ahead of us. Oh, and did I mention we were the most expensive?

So what was the difference? It was service, and not just seminars and brochures. It was what I call Dark Day Service. It was the belief, the trust, that we would fix the problem.

The Dark Days are the time in a project when the wheels come off…and we can thank entropy for the fact they always do. Dark Day Service was what the company did when that happened. What resources were brought? What attitude did the company present? What sensitivity and real concern was exhibited for the customer’s situation? Was there a sincere sense of urgency that led to the relentless pursuit of resolution and customer satisfaction?

Few companies ever really ingrain in their people the fundamental and unshakable truism that getting the customer to the goal line is everything. But those that do, reap the rewards of long-term profitable relationships. We see it in our industry. TSMC is known for its customer service and enjoys the leadership role. Synopsys has grabbed that high ground in EDA through customer satisfaction and became the leader as well. But it’s not always the biggest guys in the field that get the recognition as great Dark Day suppliers. We have enjoyed relationships with several small and very small IP suppliers that have done whatever it takes to make us successful and, thereby, allowed us pass it on to our customers. No, it’s not size, it’s attitude.

–Jack Harding is the CEO of eSilicon


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