Tech Networks is lucky enough to have a “garage story.” Not that we actually started in a garage, but we did start out of my apartment with $5,000 invested in one new computer for me and five used computers to sell. And while there were a lot of people selling used computers in those days, there were few that really cared about their customers the way we did.
That’s why when we started the retail store, we continued on with the simple rule I had developed in the PC delivery business: Test everything in front of the customer. I don’t care if it’s brand-new in the box. That’s no proof that it works. Especially for the customer, who is not looking forward to setting up a new and unfamiliar piece of computer equipment in their bedroom , living room, or basement. Every monitor was turned on, every printer printed a test page, and every computer was booted in front of the customer before they left the store.
Show the customer that it works was the number one rule at the store in the early days. And it certainly paid off. Once there was a customer who didn’t have time for our introduction to the PC when he was buying a used computer. It wasn’t his fault, really, he had a cab waiting outside. Anyway, when he got home he called me to express his deep concern with his CD-ROM drive. It had a major structural defect. CDs, when placed in the drive tray, prevented the tray from closing or just fell right off. The problem was quickly remedied when, with my encouragement, he turned the PC right-side up. (See those round disks on top of the computer, those are the FEET.)
And it turns out that customers really appreciate it when you care. If a customer’s Internet is down, our help desk just naturally calls the Internet service provider instead of leaving it to the customer to wrangle with it. If a server has been acting up during a visit, our onsite engineers just naturally login at night just to keep an eye on things. If a backup isn’t working properly, our senior engineers will quietly launch a Microsoft backup just to make sure everything is ok
It’s easy to see that caring is contagious. Caring about the customer is important, but so is caring about the people who work in the business. And the circle of compassion does not need to end there. Like many businesses, we realize that our impact extends both to our local community, and to the wider world.
Beyond caring, it helps to have a product or service that people need and want. And this is why being in the technology field is such an opportunity for creative innovation.