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Technical know who-ism: When it is all-over

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By James Abola

Posted  Tuesday, March 8   2016 at  02:00

In Summary

Technical know who-ism, is the idea that a system or organisation will only provide services to a person who knows an influential person within that system or organisation. It is well illustrated by the way I solved a long standing problem with my bank.

Sometime in 2013, I applied for SMS alert service from bank but it was not turned on. Overtime, I made three more applications but still received no SMS alert. This went on until last month, when I remembered that I knew someone high up in the bank management. High up set the wheels of customer service rolling and I got a call from a now responsible officer offering to be of help. Responsible officer in turn told a nearby branch to offer me all the necessary assistance. At the nearby branch, I found a very helpful staff that even pulled me out of the bank queue in an attempt to reduce the two-year waiting I had endured.

Whenever clients resort to ‘technical know who-ism,’ it means your organisation is a poor customer service provider. When many organisations suffer from the problem, it is a symptom of an ailing society where people are forced to rely on lobbyists and brokers to access service.

It means your staff do not take personal responsibility for issues that pass through their desks. They do not have a system for following pending issues leave alone telling what has been addressed or pending.
It means your staff do not care for customers that is why they remain unbothered when customers are frustrated. Very likely the attitude given to other staff who try to change the environment is one of ‘others before you have tried and failed, you are not any different.’

It means your people and your systems are not reliable. The people do not keep their words and make promises that they intend to fulfil. The system does not track issues and efforts made to address them.
It means you are client deaf and do not listen to your customers even if they yell. Client-deaf organisations will stumble over the truth and get up and hurry off like nothing happened.
In order to address ‘technical know who-ism’ you need to fix both your organisational systems and culture.

James Abola is the Team Leader of Akamai Global, a business and finance consulting firm. Email: james.abola@akamaiglobal.co.uk


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