Best practices

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When Information Technology Becomes a Vocation

From the history of the EoC in North America, the beautiful testimony of one of its pioneers, Adel Chehadé

collected by John Mundell

Adel Chehadé once said to me:: «I realize that by loving we become immortal; our actions will remain forever and will bear our name and our love». Finding among my emails this testimony of his from March 2007, I thought that it is just so. Adel left us suddenly on December 1, 2008, let him speak to us in the first person and let his words reach us today, with the vividness with which he wrote them 15 years ago.


For those who do not know us, Techquest is a computer service store that started June 1995 in West Los Angeles. About 60 to 70% of our customers are walk-ins and the rest are companies we visit (on-site). We assemble, networkAdel Chehade USA and fix computers, but we also export once in a while computer-related products. In 1998 we became one of the few growing computer stores in West Los Angeles; then 6 years ago Office Max opened a block away from us and 2 years later Best Buy opened ½ mile from us. We struggled to survive the strong competition and had to drop the number of our technicians to one full time and one part-time in addition to myself.

It is only three years ago that our store started growing again after the arrival of the two large chains. One of the reasons for our success is that our customers appreciate the face-to-face talk with a technician, which they cannot do in large stores, or by phone. We also checked the services that cannot be performed by large chains, such as fixing laptops and system boards, and we decided to focus on those services; and today, once in a while, we even get customers referred to us by Best Buy and Office Max themselves. Occasionally, we help customers who cannot afford to repair their computers, and as one of our technicians said: “This is how we give back to the community, and this is what makes us different from other stores.”

The Economy of Communion made me realize some time ago that I should not be helping our customers with the sole objective of making a sale. Instead, I should tend to their needs even if it is not in my favor. This is what happened a few months ago after helping a customer; he decided to buy a product from us at a higher price than from a competitor - he was returning the favor.

Christmas 2006 showed us the importance of our actions towards our customers when it reciprocated: On Christmas, we received bottles of wine from two customers, one customer baked a cake for us, another gave us a $40 coupon towards Chinese food, and two others sent us $50 cash. We usually get gifts from vendors, but this was the first time we received so many gifts from customers.

But, life is not always beautiful! We have customers that also give us a real hard time. A couple of months ago, a lady purchased a keyboard; then, one week later she came back to return it, damaged by her. I refused to take it back, and her answer was that “Best Buy returns anything, why not Techquest?” A month later, I receive a court order; she was suing us for $14. Yesterday (March 8, 2007), I went to court, and after I presented my case, I thought to myself that I will gain nothing by winning. I might win the case but will definitely lose her. So, I immediately offered to lose, and did not mind breaking the rules by offering her in front of the mediator more than what she was asking for - a new keyboard and $15. The final result of the matter - we became friends!

We are all in this together, and I feel my successes are everyone's. Adel Chehadé

Cover photo by Marta Branco from Pexels

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