To offer an exceptional service is to not consider the amount of work or the cost but rather the success of those whom you are serving, as through their success comes your own. The aforementioned sentiment is critical to offering any service, but it is especially important to complex critical services that can literally affect your life or the future of your business. You could argue that the success of your data center service is usually not tied directly to your life, but there can be no doubt about its connection to the success of your business.
Considering the Customer First – A Data Center Perspective
Why is considering the customer first so important? It’s my belief that attempting to satisfy your financial analysts or external influencers is counter to providing an excellent service. Pleasing your bank before you please the customer is like defining a project without understanding the deliverables. While this customer first approach is likely to work in every business, it is especially important to the data center business where a lack of focus can mean an enterprise going out of business over night.
Many data center providers are getting out of the business of operating data centers because it’s not a core competency. Building a data center business isn’t an overnight success type play. The data center business is hard, it takes focus, day in and day out operational excellence and a solid understanding of how the data center creates business opportunity or conversely can generate risk.
When you’re in the market for new or replacement data center capacity you should take a moment to think about your needs outside the box of “power & cooling”. Consider the fact that you are likely to sign a contract of three years or longer and that your capabilities (as a company) will be tied to this new partner’s ability to execute. Customer service is much like web site performance, a ¼ second longer page load speed doesn’t seem like much, but the cumulative impact is more waste work done on the back end and a reduced level of productivity on the front end. In Google’s case they found that just a small added delay (200 MS) meant a dramatic reduction in search page use. The simple truth is that every minute you’re not finished with a project is a minute of lost opportunity, however you measure it.
Related blog: Speed Matters
Customer service is tied to dozens of individual activities in the data center from the initial on-boarding process to the quick and effective response to ticket requests. Equally important are the higher end customer capabilities associated with the provider being ready for your business needs when you’re ready to execute.
Related Blog: Consider Connectivity Compulsory
It’s becoming more and more obvious that enterprises shouldn’t be building their own facilities. However, as you go about reviewing the dozens of options you have for accommodating your future data center requirements, keep in mind that the effort is much more than just selecting an appropriately located warehouse via a real estate broker. Consider the entire service ownership of a data center and the impact a poorly run facility with inadequate customer service might have on your ability to succeed.
There’s obviously more than customer service required to provide a successful data center service, but if you can’t get great customer service it doesn’t matter what other capabilities the provider offers. Once you’ve identified a supplier(s) that might work as a true partner you can then measure them against the other requirements for successfully future proofing your decision and doing your best to guarantee that the data center is an enabler of and participant to your growth, not an anchor.