It’s not a matter of the ‘customer friendliness’ of the person dealing with you. It’s more a matter of how the whole system in which he or she works supports or hinders their dealings with you.

Have you every stayed at home for a service engineer? Sometimes all goes well; he arrives on time, has the part and completes the work. All too often though, problems occur with timing, parts and, most importantly, the ability to make a definite commitment as to when the work will be completed.

When things don’t go well engineers are often unable to tell you when they’ll get a part. They may have been routed in such a way as to make it difficult for them to make all their calls, and the forms they carry would appear to have been designed by someone who had deliberately set out to make ‘getting things’ difficult.

Good service engineers are supported by people who see it as their job to continually improve the support they offer the engineers, in other words, they try to make it easy for the engineers to serve the customer. They think about their work in this way because the have a manager who is also focused on how the whole system supports engineers in doing their work.

But in most engineering service organisations managers believe that engineers are difficult people, from whom it is their task to extract the most. They view the activities of stores, despatch, finance and other support functions as means for controlling engineers rather than means of enabling them to perform effectively.

Again, it is not that these people don’t want to behave supportively to the engineers; they behave the way they do because they work in a conventional command-and-control organisation.

It is the same in sales as it is in service. The system will determine the volume of sales.