Every business will have complaints from a customer every now and then. When the customer complaints keep coming in about the same issues over and over is when you need to worry. How you deal with the complaints is what will make your business stand out.
Consider getting your business into CARs or Corrective Action Requests. CARs isn’t just about fixing a problem on the surface, it’s taking a deeper look into the root of the problem and fixing the issue from within your company. Defined it is the measure undertaken to identify and eliminate the source or root cause of a non-conformance to prevent its re occurrence.
Here’s an example:
Your company receives a complaint from a customer that a service was not performed on the day that was agreed upon. This is a weekly service and this is not the first time this customer has called regarding the missed pick-up.
The first time you went through the routine of treating the customer with apologies and promises of better service.
The second time, the customer is a little angrier and slow to accept your apologies.
If you have a third time, you may have lost that customer for good.
Instead of just apologizing your company needs to figure out why the service was not performed. Here’s where you start:
Document – The recycling was not picked up from Mr. Smith at 123 Maple on Friday June 20th. Mr. Smith is requesting a pick-up on Monday morning. Order was sent to driver.
Establish a time frame to correct the issue – By the next scheduled pick-up.
Assign responsibility – Who will research the issue to see that the driver has his orders and operations has the customer on file correctly.
Document the root cause – Ask why starting from when the customer first complained of the missed pick-up. Was this a new customer that wasn’t put into the system? Did this customer just stop receiving service after a company change?
List preventative actions – How can you make sure this customer will receive service as agreed and other customers will not suffer from the same complaint.
Communicate – Talk with everyone involved in the process from the order taker all the way to the driver himself.
Follow-up – Make sure Mr. Smith received his pick-up the following Friday. If the problem resolved document it. If it hasn’t you may need a different strategy in your operations and implementations.
CARs should not be used for every complaint that comes into your business. For example, your customer received Coke instead of Diet Coke, this is a simple mistake (unless of course every customer complains of the mix up). This mistake may just require a procedure on filling your pop or soda machine.
Used effectively CARs can keep you company on top of potentially more customer complaints.