Misreading the Signs

SignsI had a telephone conversation with one of my long time computer outsourcing clients this morning. In it, he said to me that he wasn’t feeling loved any more. I felt terrible about it because I really had thought I was respecting a boundary that had been placed on me by his staff. You see, they had issued an RFP to select a new Indianapolis computer support company recently. When we submitted our response, I asked his contact if she needed anything else from me. Her response was something to the effect of, “We’ve got what we need and we’ll get back to you.”

I had wrestled with the idea of calling him, but I didn’t want her to think I was going around her to seal the deal. Now it looks like I might have been sealing the deal in the wrong direction because I made an assumption about their process. It’s amazing that in this time of instant communication we still manage to get it wrong quite often.

Luckily for me, he sent me a note asking me to call him. When we talked, it became clear that I should have at least continued to connect in the same way we had become accustomed to over the years, if not a bit more. The funny thing is that this is truly one of my favorite outsourced IT client in Indianapolis. I work in a lot of organizations. Most of them I really like, but few of them do I feel as if I could be a full time employee for. This organization is one of the exceptions. Their management fits me extremely well and I often model my decisions after those I’ve seen them make.

So how did I come to the brink of losing their business? I misread the message that I got from them and never bothered to ask for clarification. I hope that our conversation today cleared things up. I really hope that we get to continue providing computer help to this organization. I’ve certainly re-learned that communication is key to good relationships.

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