May 11, 2009

Coming Around Again

I have a customer. I connected with them back in 1999 or thereabouts - somebody I worked with at my last corporate gig went to work for them, and networked us together. And in the last decade, there is a pretty regular pattern to our interactions. They have some trouble sites - I work with them, straighten things out, do a little education about technical issues along the way. And then they drop off the map for a period - 12 to 24 months, typically. And then, out of the blue, I get a call, and there are a few trouble sites they want me to get involved with.

I used to worry about that - why the long time between contacts? Not 100% sure I understand myself - my best guess is that I do enough education (through my reports, my interactions on site) to let them sort things out for themselves for a while, until memory fades. Not the best way to keep customers on the hook and dependent, but that's how I am. Going back through the email archives:

6/1999 (Connecticut)
11/1999 (Pennsylvania)
12/2000 (Arizona)
3/2000 (New York)
3/2000 (Missouri)
7/2001 (Texas)
7/2003 (Ohio)
7/2004 (Tennessee)
5/2007 (Washington)

In between, a handful of proposals that did not happen (usually, the problem was resolved locally, and may not have been power related). And a handful of freebie consulting, quick emails, phone calls, looking at data, etc.

I got a call from them last week; heading up for a quick trip to a customer site in Massachusetts tomorrow. Just interesting to look back over a decade of customer relations. Also interesting how quickly I can put my hand on the history - emails, reports, proposals - even though all of my information systems are fairly informal.

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