Monday, February 13, 2012

Dissecting a Customer Service Failure

Whenever we have a service failure we discuss it in our weekly meetings.   I am sure everyone who reads these have the same experience where one customer seems to be cursed.  We can clean 40 homes and day and everything goes wrong with the same customer.   We also write it up and save it because we do not want to forget the lessons we learned.   An example of one of these write ups is below from 3/11/2011.

Mrs. Baldwin was scheduled for service on Friday morning with Brenda who was scheduled off so we moved her appointment to Sarah.  The person doing reminder calls did not tell Mrs. Baldwin that her team was changed.  Mrs. Baldwin did tell us she had a showing and wanted us there first thing.   Friday morning.  Sarah’s partner calls off sick.  I assign Amber to work with Sarah.  7:30 AM.  I get a call from Sarah that she will be a little late.  She left her mop at a client’s home the previous day so she went to Home Depot to buy a replacement mop and forgot her purse at home so she has to go home.  Sarah comes in at 8:30 and gets Amber.  Mrs. Baldwin calls at 9:00 wanting to know where her team is.  She is upset because no one told her we changed the teams and she has a showing at 11:00 AM and it needs to be done by then.   I assure the team left 30 minutes ago and should be there any minute.  She has to leave and is leaving the front door open.  I call Sarah to tell her what is going on, and she is at Home Depot again.  I thought she did that one the way in or we would have given her one when she came in.  Home Depot is out of stock on mops.  We tell her to go to Baldwin now and forget the darn mop.  I leave the office and run to Baldwin to drop off a mop, which we had in the office so I am unsure why she went to Home Depot after the office, and to help them finish on time.

Noon.  Mrs. Baldwin calls and is mad that her bills have been thrown out.  She keeps her bills in a trash can beside the shredder and we threw it out.  She demands we come back and dig the bills out of the trash for her.  The office manager calls me and says she does not think we should do it.  My office manager does not think it is not our fault the lady keeps her bills in an unlabeled trash can.  She thinks if you put something in a trash can when the maids are coming you better expect we will throw it out.  I tell her we should go back.  It is stupid but it will only take a minute and we had legitimately screwed up several different ways already with this customer.   My office manager  tells me she thinks I am wrong and we cannot let customers push us around but I over rule her.  The cleaner then throws attitude when we tell her she has to go back.  She is a mother and a grand mother and she is not digging through someone else’s trash.  I was not in the office at the time but I am pretty sure the office manager did not help my case when she called her.  My office manager  probably led off the call by telling the cleaner how stupid it was and she could not believe I was asking her to do it.  So I had to call the cleaner when I was out of the office to talk her down and say yes it is stupid but it is not that big of a deal.  We did not mix the trash bags and she said the bag should be right on top so all she would have to do is pull it out and open the bag.  The cleaner goes back and takes care of it.

Derek’s total time lost:  2 hours running around and cleaning due to the mop
                                                30 minutes of phone calls with the customer, the office, and the cleaner
2 Techs did not get to their first job until 9:30 AM instead of 8:30 as they are supposed to
And one unhappy customer

1)      Review the policy on lost equipment.  Was something so harsh about it that my cleaner would rather buy a new mop with her own money on her own time rather than tell us.
2)      Re-enforce the policy on lost equipment and use this is an example to explain why it is there.
3)      Find out why we forgot to tell the client about the team change and find a way to fix the system so it does not have to count on some one noticing and remembering
4)      Why was the note about the bills in the trash can not on the job sheet.  It seems this would be important information.   Another issue we need to retrain on is making sure your job sheet is updated with important information for when another team has to cover for you.
5)      Address training for the entire company on customer service.  They need to understand the principle that you can be right or you can be successful but you often cannot be both.  To be successful in a service business you need to let go of “being right” and concentrate on serving the client.

1 comment:

Taylor Maid Cleaning Services said...

Excellent article...I love the idea of keeping a log of these types of failures ... so much easier to refer back to for team meetings and to analyze the "why" of what occurred for prevention. Thanks for the idea!