Monday, 28 January 2013

Bad Programmer to Customer Communications

There are five words decent application developers don't use when talking to their customers, these five words are...

"I'm not having that problem"

Because, not only are these self defeating words, but the customer has taken time to relay feedback to you, and clearly they are having a problem.

Now, if the user is a technical user saying these five words is essentially the kiss of death, you'll be instantly and irrevocably branded a dundard, if they're not a technical user you'll be branded an unhelpful fuck-tard.  But this impression you're giving your end user or customer is only one part of the defeat you will suffer.

The other part of it being your personal acceptance of fallibility.  I myself had a major issue with this until perhaps two years ago, I thought code I wrote was infalliable, I thought it was great, despite projects going over span and debugging taking time I always thought thee was a way to point the fickle finger of blame elsewhere.  And you know what, sometimes there's not, sometimes you've just done something wrong, and even if you've not and the starting point causing the whole problem is nothing to do with your code, it was your code which didn't anticipate and deal with the situation.

So folks, lets man (and woman) up here, lets be honest with ourselves and our customers, if something has gone wrong, take an interest in your customers plight.  And even if you're too busy working on actual problems to give this current issue time, make a note of it, e-mail yourself, set a reminder to come back and take a look and feed that back to your customers.  It might not improve your throughput, it might not actually solve a problem, but if a customer knows and feels you will get around to something and you will tell them, then they're impressions rise...

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