For most of us in the software industry, we get tripped up a bit when we see the word ‘expectations.’ We tend to immediately think of them as ‘deliverables’: dashboards, customizations, reports, roadmaps that chart out tasks or future projects. Tied up into those are considerations of expenses, timelines, due dates, and beyond.

We see those because software engineers are natural problem solvers, and those are the immediate solutions we see. Yet ‘expectations’ go beyond these things. Let me explain.

Here in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, last-minute hiking trips seem to happen about every other month; every other weekend if the weather turns especially good. So in prep, I ordered a new pair of boots on a Friday morning, trusting that the two-day priority shipping I had paid for would get them to me soon after the weekend ended, and I could leave on Wednesday morning. I was already looking at new places to see (such as Rough Ridge and its killer views!) and new places to go (the endless creeks below).

So as Mondays tend to go, I get the bad news first thing in the morning: the company I ordered my boots from sent an email, telling me they’d be arriving by the end of the day on Wednesday. Okay, not cool: I paid for two-day shipping which I wouldn’t be getting!

I had a few options: I could shell out more money for overnight shipping. Or, I could repeat the entire process and find another pair of boots that were of the right style, fit, and capabilities of the terrain I wanted to be on. Or, I could delay my trip for a day.

Yeah, right.

I contact the company right away and let them know that I was worried about the delivery date, and that we needed to find out the best way to ensure that my boots made it to my doorstep by the end of Tuesday, not Wednesday. The customer service rep told me to call them back if the boots didn’t arrive by Tuesday night, because they couldn’t do anything to help until the order was late.

They failed to offer help by addressing the problem before it occurred, nor did they seem concerned that something I was depending on would not arrive in time. There was no ownership of the problem, and any urgency to create peace of mind for their customer was nonexistent.

I hung up and sat at my desk, thinking to myself: “I never want to make someone feel the way that customer service rep just made me feel.”

And then I thought, “That’s the very reason why I work here at Encompass, and why I love what I do.”

My job is to ensure that every one of my customers can make it up their own ‘mountains’: They’ll need more than just the right ‘boots’, they’ll need the right boots at the right time; constant support during the climb; and, once they’ve gotten to the top, they need to know we’ll be there on the way down. That’s when ‘expectations’ goes beyond ‘deliverables’ and becomes ‘trust.’

Recently, I worked with a customer who had several important deadlines to meet and not a lot of time to make them happen. With Encompass’ vast global resources, we were able to pull together the right set of team members to help this company not only meet their urgent goals, but assist them in an implementation and go-live of Epicor 10.

When a client trusts you enough to have expectations that you’ll take them through the roughest terrain their business has ever seen, well, that’s more valuable than a good pair of hiking boots. And that’s worth a lot, take it from me: I never did get those boots on time. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than hiking up a mountain in the wrong pair of shoes.

A well-tuned ERP system delivered on-time is only half of what Encompass has to offer your business. If you’re worried you aren’t on the right ERP path, come meet us at the bottom of the mountain, and come take a hike with us.

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