Trains and customer service in IT

On the train for the second time this week and it’s only tuesday. Yesterday, the line was closed between Guisley and Leeds meaning I had to drive to Leeds to pickup my connection to manchester.

I diligently checked the west Yorkshire metro web site last night and it indicated there would be a few trains running this morning so I set off for my local station this morning only to find a complete absence of trains running. The web site made no mention of the problem and no reference to a change plans since last night – consequently my sympathy evaporated and I am now thoroughly hacked off with the local train network.

Running an IT team, I face similar challenges. We often face unexpected problems, difficult engineering challenges and my team do their best to ensure they get resolved in a timely fashion. Where we fail too often is to tell people what’s happening – as technical people we often fall into the trap of thinking its more important to be getting on with a task that’s overdue ( or putting it off because something more urgent has come in ) than telling the customer where we are up to.

I have found that whatever the situation, honesty is the best policy and people rarely react badly if you explain the situation and what you are doing to resolve it.