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Transformation through a Customer Complaint

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In my previous blog I mentioned about an opportunity to provide housekeeping service in Yelagiri.

Our team planned every details connected with the work – the staff who would go, an innova for transporting our team and the cleaning materials. Our team started from Chennai on Monday at 4 pm as the client wanted our team to be at Yelagiri before 8 pm.

Six people including an executive started and reached Yelagiri on time. They also got up early and by 8 am the next day they started the work in right earnest. As the client was not in Yelagiri, two of the client’s employees were deputed to make sure that our team got all the support they needed and the work was done thoroughly in all aspects.

The client provided our people accommodation for the night and sumptuous and tasty food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

From our Chennai office, we kept in touch with our team on an hourly basis to make sure that the cleaning work started on time and everyone did their work with perfection.

By 6 pm that day, our executive informed us that the work was completed and done well. Our team returned to Chennai the same night, reaching our office around 2 am.

The customer transferred the agreed amount the next day promptly.

We were itching to get an amazing feedback once the client and family returned to their home in Yelagiri. We got the feedback about the work our team had done not at all as we had expected.

The client and her family were not happy about the work done by our team, in two toilets. She sent photos which explained her point eloquently. She gave us a mouthful about our quality, commitment and assurances. We apologized and assured her we would right the wrongs done.

After all the efforts made by us to create a wow experience for our customer though exceptional service, our team hadn’t risen up to anyone’s expectation. We were devastated.

On the next day, we sent another staff from Chennai by bus to redo the work which wasn’t done well. He reached the customer’s home in the morning and immediately set about cleaning the two toilets again. In about 5 hours, he completed the work according to customer expectations and returned to Chennai.

When customer complaints come, it is always very disheartening, first. Then we look at them closely to find out how they happened and who were responsible for the clumsy work.

In the case of the Yelagiri work, we found out that despite experienced people in the team and an executive to supervise their work, they hadn’t followed the simple processes we have in place.

We relearned some lessons in the process of dealing with this customer complaint.
  • The implementation of our processes should be so good and thorough that any work is always done the right way, the first time.
  • Not doing the work correctly the first time leads to rework. And, rework is always costly.
  • Even in a job done by several people, we should implement the system we have in place to identify the person or persons responsible for shabby work.
  • It is essential to that those who are not thorough in the work and bring disrepute to the company should be held accountable.
  • While it is a worthy and desirable goal to ensure the happiness of the staff, we should make them understand that they will have to pay for their negligence in work. Punishments and warnings are absolutely a must.
  • Finally, the attitude of the top team is the most important element of building a customer centric, quality oriented work force. They should consistently convey the message that there will be no compromise on quality and customer service.
If we handle complaints well, we can turn them into gifts even though they come in unpleasant guises.