I received a letter in the post from my bank. It came on such awful quality paper that it looked like someone had faxed a letterhead to himself and used the printout for the letter.
There was no date and no reference number. The text said that Someone had tried to contact me regarding my account; no mention of why. It was "signed" with a circle and a wavy line, with Customer Services printed underneath.
I called up the branch to a) ask what they wanted and b) complain about the way they tried to correspond with me. I was told my account was fine and they don’t know why the letter was sent.
So this whole thing about sales targets and closing deals before the end of the quarter is still comparatively new to me. I’ve got used to it being a mad panic on the last day of the quarter to get orders out the door so we can "recognise the revenue" and thanks to Tony (pre-sales techie guy, foot in both camps) explaining things I even understand the rush to blow your budget before the end of the month. Mostly.
At previous jobs, however, this was never an issue. I assume ISP sales drones have targets just like anyone else but from a technical perspective there isn’t any justifiable reason to get wound up about sales quotas. Internet access is a 24/7 operation and if the sales guys want to sign more people up that’s all well and good; we’re just concerned with keeping it running. The only reason we might have for worrying about adding customers is if the signup process is broken … which is an issue whether it’s the last day of the quarter or the first.
Here in the realm of pushing physical Things out the door it’s much easier to observe the focus on that magic last day and I justify my claim that I’m getting used to it by reporting to you now that in the absence of a mad panic to ship Stuff … I helped create one.
We had a machine all built, tested and configured ready to send to a prospective customer … if they sent in a purchase order. Meanwhile an existing customer had been having trouble with one of their machines and, since it was an older model for which we have a replacement policy, I had been considering just FedExing them a new one.
When the PO didn’t come in I had an idea! What if I took that machine, which had already passed QA, and reconfigured it for an RMA? Cue international calls to the customer saying I could just replace their faulty kit for them and get the new machine out the door this afternoon if they’d simply return this RMA form within the hour, then haring over to Marie to tell her to cancel one FedEx collection and replace it with another, fill out all the paperwork, oh and label up the packaging for a different customer, and I’ll just duck into the build room to get the box ready…
I ended up getting back from (a late) lunch in time to see FedEx dude carting the machine away. Voilà! Panic created where previously none existed and normal end-of-quarter service restored.
You know when you get so furiously angry that you lose the capacity to moderate your speech and end up releasing all your invective-laden rage in a maelstrom of finger pointing and four-letter words?
That was me yesterday.