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How to React to Problems in Your Solution

We’re not robots…yet.

We strive to be perfect programmers at Extensitech. However, we are human and fall short on occasion. Sometimes our clients encounter problems, issues, errors, exceptions or the dreaded bugs.

Our wonderful clients react very differently to programming errors.

First, let’s talk about passive users.

shoulder shrug

Passive users experience an issue and do not report it because they assume that the resolution to the issue is either not possible or not worth the time or effort. They may think that they don’t have enough knowledge about the system to be sure they are seeing a bug. They may be very busy so they don’t want to stop and make a note about it. They may find ways to work around the issue and thus don’t really care if it gets resolved.

Passive reactions like these are pleasant but not right. Whenever you see a bug, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, you should email your developer. If you’re very busy, make a note or spreadsheet on your computer tracking all of the bugs you’ve run into and email that to your developer every so often. Almost every time we receive these emails, our passive customer is correct and the bugs are quickly and easily fixed.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have aggressive users.

shouting

Aggressive users run into programming errors and get very frustrated. This is an understandable reaction but it can be taken too far. These users have no problem with letting their developer know when something has gone wrong. However, they let the frustration overcome them and can end up sending hurtful or demeaning emails.

We still love our aggressive users: we are sorry that they are upset because of our mistakes and want to help them fix the issue. However, many times these issues are swiftly corrected and are not worth being flustered about.

Sometimes, the user will keep running into the same bug and become more infuriated each time. They may have already reported it to their developer and it has not gotten fixed yet. Even worse, the developer may have reported that they fixed the problem and it turns out the solution did not work for every situation.

Another common mishap is that the aggressive user will have trouble understanding why the solution is so hard that it takes multiple attempts to fix. They may point fingers, place blame and make assumptions. This is very stressful as it often ends up with a particular developer getting singled out. It leaves the developer feeling personally attacked.

In the end, the anger just increases the tension between the developer and our client. Tension like this can build up and eat away at a working relationship.

There is a happy medium here: assertive users.

assertive

Assertive users do not let problems go unnoticed. They do email their developer when they see something that doesn’t look right. If they’re busy then they gather a list and send it every week or so.

What makes them different is that, no matter how many times they have to report an issue, they remain calm. They know that developers are often overloaded with other clients making similar requests. They know some issues are small and easy but some are hard and time-consuming.

These clients routinely check in to ask about progress and that is totally welcomed. Their patience is key to making their message sound like an inquiry instead of an attack.

Be like the assertive users.

Don’t let problems go unreported. Don’t let the frustration get to you. Keep us aware of your solution’s stability but don’t let errors get under your skin. We promise that we’re trying our best in constantly changing environments.

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