“Your home internet and phone installation should be running perfect now, sir”. I hope he is right. I really hope so. After several weeks and months of issues with the home infrastructure of one of Belgium’s leading telecom operators, the technician who is now leaving my house, promises that my wifi and internet connection will work and be stable for the next months and years to come. Cross fingers. I do hope he’s right. The hours I have spent on the phone calling yet another operator from the helpdesk, are countless. The word ‘helpdesk’ already gives me the creeps, when I think about it. Help, I have to call the helpdesk! Again. Yesterday I even called the landlord to ask for permission to get the cable from the other operator installed on his property. On my account, I told him. I prefer paying for a new installation, than keeping this horrible situation going on for yet some more weeks and months. Time is money, and I have already lost tons of euros in the issues with this telecom operator. Switching cost is a lot cheaper than the money I have lost. The good news is that it is working now. Finally. After several months, the speed is high ànd stable. I do hope I do not have to rewrite this blog post in a couple of days 😉
Now, what does this personal situation of mine have to do with Quarturn?
Well, it is a great example of what Quarturn is NOT. I will explain in this blogpost what Quarturn is by the example of this telecom operator. I will also proof that it is not their staff who are the issue. If my business would be in systems maintenance, I would have hired two of them technicians right away. The point is, it all starts at the top. Sorry for the bosses who are reading this. If you now feel confronted with a truth that hurts, at least you are making the first step into a sustainable profitability, by reading the next paragraphs. And if you now quit reading, remember this was a potential turning point for your business – and you missed it.
Quarturn. I’ll explain you. But first, I have to explain you what the term ‘customer value’ or ‘client value’ really means. Often, when I speak about ‘client value’, business people in the audience mix ‘added value’ (to the goods and services they buy) with ‘adding value’ (to the client’s operations and business). It’s a small difference for the keyboard, yet it means a world of difference – definitely for the clients. Client value means the client wins. Added value means the supplier is making money on the client. Every activity that does both, could be in line with our Quarturn vision. Making money, because clients are getting value. That is Quarturn.
In this example I was clearly not winning from this telecom operator. I was losing. I was losing so much that I thought changing to another operator would bring me so much more value, that I was prepared to pay for a substantial financial switching cost. The only thing that had refrained me from doing so yet, is that I already have had similar bad experiences with the other leading telecom operator, so I was not sure that they would have a better solution for me, and make me win. That’s why, in the office, I had both cables installed during the last renovation, and I subscribed to both operators, so that they cannot take my business operations in hostage any longer. And I did already need it. No joke. Back to the home infrastructure now. It is clear to me, that my operator is only trying to make money on me, and is not trying to make me win from them. In essence, we are both losing money. They also, have already spent a lot of time (and hence money) on me, and I cannot believe I am a profitable client for them.
The point is that my non-profitability as a client does not show in the management reports and their KPIs.
What’s more, I now know that my local dealer is considered as one of the most profitable dealers in the country. So I am even part of a very positive KPI. Me and a lot of other citizens in the South-East of Flanders, who are using the same local dealer who is making mistake after mistake. I thought I was the only individual who has had to cope with that – I even thought I was an impossible person, because I kept on fighting against Kafka. Now I know it’s not me (or at least not me alone). You know what I mean? “Yes, I told the agent of the local dealer to limit the data of my daughter’s smartphone. They said it was registered like that.” “But it’s not in our systems, sir, so you do have to pay the extra 150 euro this month”. It took me five consecutive calls to the xxxxdesk before one of the operators finally gave in, and sent me a credit note for that invoice. As well as for the two reminder notes that fined me with 15 euro for late payment. Okay. So now I know there are many more clients with issues in our region.
How do I know that?
Well, the technician today asked me where I had gotten that very old modem, when we only installed it last month as a replacement — advised to do so by the helpdesk. I told him, and I immediately noticed his OMG face. That’s when I ‘installed’ my most innocent façade, and went into interview mode. By the way, if you are into corporate policy and legal stuff, you’d probably want to kick the guy out. Don’t. He’s already out. I was one of his last interventions. He left on his own initiative. But that’s a different story. Back to the interview.
He gave a very down to earth human version of the Quarturn vision, so it’s worth reading on.
So yes, he told me the dealer was making mistake after mistake. He told me he had already had numerous interventions in our region that were the consequence of a failure from that dealer. He told me he had heard from colleagues the dealer’s agents are making one administrative failure after the other. “So, if you know all that, why does your boss keep working with that dealer?” “Because the dealers of this and that and that region actually belong to the same owner, so their numbers get added. That makes them all together a very profitable dealer in the eyes of the management team. And then it becomes difficult for the managers to see that there are any issues.” He told me this like we were talking about football. Or about the latest Game of Thrones series. I am talking about a blue collar guy screwing the support of a new modem onto my wall at that moment, right? No MBA here.
But he knew what was going on.
Maybe he even knew better than the people behind the spreadsheets, just because the issue is not visible in the spreadsheets. “But someone must have noticed that they are losing money on all these interventions, no?” “They don’t sir. But it’s a general problem of the last years, sir. Several years ago, we were supposed to deliver quality. I liked it, because we were challenged and reviewed on the quality of our interventions. Making customers happy. The last years, it’s only money that matters. Look at the numbers, they are going down. And then they get into panic mode at headquarters, right?” What? This is the guy you would expect to talk in three-and-four letter abbreviations like ‘RJ-45’ and ‘IP-whatever’. Without looking up from his frequency analyzer, he is explaining why Quarturn matters, and why companies that have no Quarturn intentions on the top, are losing money, clients, and their best people.
The only reason they are able to keep on doing the not so good works, is that the alternative is probably as bad as they are. Just suppose the competition would be more intense. No chance that they would be able to survive with this mentality.
They would need one of the Quarturn advisors to help them – urgently.
You know where to find them, don’t you? Or just ask some of your own people on the floor. They can already get you going in the right direction.