Tech company succeeds by getting personal

The information technology services provider Atrion Networking Corp. has doubled its revenue over the past four years by not – oddly enough – focusing solely on technology.
“We follow a business-led methodology,” said Robert F. Johnson, senior director of strategic intelligence for the Warwick company. “Rather than a focus on a company’s technology, we focus on their business requirements. If we don’t understand our customers from a business standpoint, we may make the wrong choices for them.”
Atrion’s focus in helping a community bank, for instance, is making sure its services are available around the clock. “Smaller and midsize companies don’t have around-the-clock service abilities,” Johnson said, “but we do. Everything we do is focused around customer service. It’s a long-term marriage. It’s a partnership.”
To the goal of better customer service, the company has gone from having and supplying totally automated phone-answering systems to live answering systems. “We realized that a totally automated system annoyed people and created barriers,” he said.
Atrion primarily works with midsize companies. “We mesh with them well because we are midsize ourselves,” Johnson said. “An advantage to working with mid-sized companies is that they have a smaller IT department and need more technological help.”
In 2009, Atrion launched an apprenticeship program for its own and its customers’ staffs. The company has been praised by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training for creating a high-quality program. •

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