Meeting the Customer’s Needs

Mitch HobishProductivity

I’m very dependent on automation in my at-the-computer work. I’m a firm believer in having the machine do as much of the work as possible, leaving my resources for other, presumably more creative tasks.

To that end, I use macros to smooth my activities. Some of the macros are software, often called up by specific keystrokes, that do sequential tasks without further thought on my part. Some of the macros are “wetware”, in that they are located in my brain-body axis. I often liken these—expressed through keystrokes—to playing chords on the piano: My fingers almost seem to know what needs to be done, once I formulate the goal.

So, the other day I experienced something of a shock to find that an app-related information-clipping utility upon which I’m quite dependent stopped working the way I had become used to.

It turns out that the developer had changed the functionality, and slipstreamed the update without notification. As a result, my wetware macro broke, and I had to actually think about what I was doing.

Not a big deal in the larger scheme of things, but it did put a crimp in things while I first had to realize that what I was doing had been interrupted, and then try to figure out what had gone wrong.

Very frustrating, particularly as it turned out that the “update” had enough bugs in it that the developer had to pull it. Owing to some other, installed-by-me updates, I now do not have the functionality at all, as the earlier version of the clipping software won’t work with the updated app in which it was embedded.

As usual, however, I persevere.

Questions: Do you make changes to your processes without checking with your customer (internal or external) about their needs? Why would you do this in the first place? Have you considered what such an approach could mean to your relationship with your customers? How else could you do it?