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There's lots I could blog about for once, so I'll stick to mostly one subject. First, we got a bit of good news today. The Sheriff's office recovered the Wife's stolen purse. We're not sure what's in it yet, but if we can recover the Vovlo key, that would be sweet. It's about $300 to replace once you buy the key/integrated remote and then program the key AND the remote. The Wife was going to get a new one last Thursday, but forgot about a doctor's appointment for Maverick. We believe God may have been looking after us on that one. We'll see what else gets recovered.

The story of the day, however, is on how I managed to make everyone (ok, some people) at work crazy with what I thought was an innocent statement in an email. Every now and then, I type something that I think is no big deal, but turns into one. The last time, I was working for my former employer, and had to respond to a quality supervisor about some sub-standard scores and comments on a customer satisfaction survey. I'd met this supervisor before and she'd seemed cool. Her team was in charge of sending out the survey's to our customers. So, when I looked into it, I knew who the user was. It was one of those people you can never satisfy. The user once told one of my tech's that they'd forgotten more about the application we supported than the tech would ever know. That's right, one of those kind of people. So my staff simple acted professional on the phone and didn't take it personal.

Well, I made the mistake of emailing the quality survey supervisor and saying something to the effect, "we should forget about this one. We couldn't please them even if we walked on water and were the second coming." Mind you, I'd thought I'd developed a rapport with this person where you could kid around a little. Oh. My. God. You'd have thought I'd said that the company was going down because of this one dissatisfied user. She got the "big boss" that ran the entire US division involved, got my boss involved, all over how "we're not customer focused" and "how could we ever take an attitude like this", etc, etc. Let's face it people, you can't please everyone. I'm not going to waste my energy trying to turn around someone that obviously cannot be pleased. As I said, we were always polite and professional.

So on to today. We had an issue where our pagers weren't working. Since managing the vendor is my responsibility, I contacted them to find out what's up. They told me our bill was 45 days past due so all of the pager numbers were disabled until we paid. OK.

So, first thing I did was contact accounts payable (AP). They're in charge of paying the vendors. The person I talked to said they would call the vendor and let me know. I figured it might be a while until this gets resolved, so I thought it best to email all the supervisors that pagers weren't working, as that is a big deal to some of the teams. In the email I said something like "due to a issue with our vendor and AP, the pagers are disabled." This is a typical kind of email I send when things are down. I also stated we were working on it and I'd send out a notification when everything was back up and running.

Not 15 minutes later I get a call from an irate VP of Finance asking me who authorized me to send the email and why did I say it was AP's fault. Excuse me? Did I say it was AP's fault? All I said was it was an issue between the vendor and AP. No assigning of blame, simply stating the parties invovled. So, I manage to calm the person down, apologize for implying any fault with AP, and stating I would fix the whole mess. While I'm talking to the VP, I get a call from the manager of AP who left a message to call back. She got a hold of me shortly after I'd spoken to the VP and asked why we hadn't talked to them first. Except I had talked to them first before I sent the email. But she understood I'd meant no harm and used a poor choic of words, and requested that I give them time to resolve an issue like this first next time. I happened to bump into my boss's boss and gave him a heads up about the whole flap. A little after that, the VP of Finance called me back to apologize for going off the handle.

The resolution on all of this? Well, it turns out our vendor has a policy of simply disabling access if they don't get payment in 45 days without notifying anyone. We had no warning whatsoever there was a problem. And, it turns out they were indeed paid on time. The first person I spoke to in AP contacted the vendor immediately and got the whole thing fixed in about 10 mintues. You know, about 2 minutes AFTER I sent out the email. I was amazed they'd turned it around so fast. I was expecting hours, which is why I sent out the email in the first place. I sent out an update email highly praising AP's ability to above and beyond to get the problem fixed and apologized for any misunderstanding in the previous email that might have implied AP was in any way the cause of the issue. I got a thank you email from the VP of Finance for the nice words.

What I really learned out of this mess is that the AP department has been under the gun about performing badly. They're quite sensitive to any percieved attacks on their department. Which is why the VP went off. He thought I was trying to make him look bad. Which I would never intentionally do. If I'd have known how politically sensitive that department was, I would have sent out an email initially making the vendor the bad guy and the AP department the posse out to get them and save the company. We're so used to telling it like it is when it comes to our own department, it didn't occur to me I might need to cover for another.

By the end of the day, all was well, and I ended up with this great story to tell. Tomorrow is the "Big Meeting" on the new re-organization. Between that, the den meeting at my house tonight, the slides the Wife got a hold of, and other assorted going's on, I should have some good material for a while. Stay tuned!


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