The story revolves around a man who worked at a small IT MSP company five years ago. The company had four full-time technicians. The newest addition to the team had around five years of experience, while the most experienced technician had almost 15 years of experience.
A Massive Tech Company
The team was responsible for managing around a thousand PCs and 20 servers, which were spread across 30 different clients.
Prioritizing Customer Service
The work for the team was contract-based or lump-sum, which meant they did not have to worry about how much time they spent on a problem or how much it would cost the client.
An Account Manager handled all billing and client-related issues, which allowed the team to focus solely on their technical duties without having to deal with any other distractions.
A Hardworking and Dedicated Employee
This man had the most experience in the team and was also the most self-motivated.
He often arrived early to work and tackled the tickets that had come in after hours, providing assistance to other technicians who encountered complex problems.
The “Senior Tech”
The team referred to him as the “Senior Tech,” despite it not being his official title.
Finally Asking for a Well-Deserved Raise
After two years of working at the company, the man decided to approach the owner about a raise.
He came prepared with information showing he had closed the most tickets and received the most positive feedback from clients in a survey conducted by the company.
Boss Said He Needed Time to Think
While the owner agreed to provide a raise, he stated he needed time to think about how much it should be, and that they would get back to the man.
A Big Announcement
A few weeks later, the owner called a company meeting and announced there would be no more raises.
Instead, the owner introduced KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and the entire technical team would receive weekly bonuses based on achieving these numbers.
A New System Is in Place
The man did not like this new system, as it meant his pay was now dependent on the performance of the entire team, not just his own.
It later emerged that another technician had also asked for a raise, so the owner’s solution was to pay both of them less by introducing the bonus system.
This Is Not Going to End Well
The KPIs themselves were simple enough, and the team quickly learned how to game the system to their advantage.
The system measured the time it took to acknowledge a ticket, and if the team took longer than 15 minutes, the score for that ticket would be zero.
Learning to Play the System
There were ten different KPIs to hit, including the time it took to complete a ticket once it was opened. If the team’s total score for the week was above 90, they would each receive a $100 bonus.
The Boss Wasn’t Listening to His Plea
The man voiced his concerns to the owner about this bonus system, as it could cause their customer service to drop. However, the owner brushed off their concerns and instructed them to “just hit the KPIs.”
Customer Service Tanked
As a result, the team learned how to acknowledge tickets without actually calling clients. This caused a significant problem when a client put in a low-priority ticket and asked for it to be scheduled for the following week.
In these cases, the team would start hounding the client to schedule it sooner, and if they were not available, they would simply close the ticket to hit their KPIs.
The Complaints Started Pouring In
While the team was successful in hitting their KPIs and receiving bonuses every week, it came at the cost of their customer service, which had previously been excellent.
The company received multiple complaints every week, causing stress for the team, who started fighting when someone missed a KPI.
Working Late to Makeup for the Chaos
They even had to work late on Fridays to try and hit those last few numbers.
The Boss Came to His Senses, but It Was Too Late
After two months of implementing the KPI-based bonus system, the owner finally realized the grave mistake he had made. He acknowledged that it caused a significant drop in customer service, which was never a problem before.
Going Back to How Things Were
Without granting the raise that the man and one other employee had requested earlier, the owner removed the bonus system and asked the team to return to their previous work setup.
But the Damage Was Already Done
Unfortunately, by this time, the “Senior Tech” had already become so stressed out that he had started looking for another job. The company had already lost two clients due to the decline in customer service.
A Mass Exodus
As a result, the man was the first to submit his two weeks’ notice, and to the owner’s dismay, the other three techs soon followed suit.
The Company Lost Over Half of Its Clients
In the end, the company lost over half of its clients, and the owner was forced to hire several new techs to cover the work that the departing employees left behind.
The owner had to pay these new hires over 20% more than what the man initially requested in terms of salary raise.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / maxim ibragimov. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.