It happens, right? It certainly happened to us.
You break a plaque on a wall or a decorative figurine on someone’s desk.
Your floor crew forgets to clean-up everything at the end of a tough job – leaving your customer to walk in and find the mess in the morning.
Your cleaner leaves the back door unlocked to an account one week – only to leave the front door unlocked the very next week!
You do everything you can to avoid making mistakes. You put systems in place to catch 95% of the stuff that can go wrong – but still mistakes happen.
So, how do you fix a mistake – or more specifically when is the mistake considered – FIXED?
Is it fixed when the cleaning person at the job calls to say they fixed it?
Is it fixed when your area supervisor says they checked it out and as far as he can tell – it’s fixed.
Is it fixed when you review any complaints at the weekly manager’s meeting and pronounce it ‘fixed’.
So, when is it fixed?
Well, we suggest that it’s fixed when the CUSTOMER says/confirms it’s fixed – and not a minute before!
Let me give you a quick example.
Let’s say one of your people spill something on the carpeting at one of your accounts.
And let’s say – you promptly take action.
That’s right, you call the customer, explain what happened, take full responsibility, apologize for the inconvenience and clearly explain how you’re going to correct it.
Next, you send a floor crew out to spot extract the carpet and – they report back to you it’s done.
All set right? Not necessarily.
You see, over the years we’ve had these kinds of situations where we thought we had a mistake fixed only to have the customer call back the next morning complaining, ‘Hey, what’s the problem? I thought you guys were going to take care of that spill last night.
Whoa! Yeah, we sure didn’t expect that!
Well, of course, there may be any number of reasons for what happened.
Maybe the floor crew did a fast once over and the stain ‘wicked’ back up overnight.
Or maybe, they cleaned up the wrong spill. Yep,maybe they worked on an entirely different spill, because they didn’t read the work sheet correctly.
Or maybe the manager showed them the wrong spill.
Or maybe the site supervisor forgot to go back and verify that it was cleaned up properly.
It could be any number of things, in the end, it really doesn’t matter much.
What does matter, is that the mistake isn’t fixed and the customer is not delighted.
So, we say a mistake is fixed when we’ve done all our work to correct the situation AND the customer agrees it’s fixed.
That’s right, we call back or stop out after we have worked on the problem to make sure we’re all looking at the same thing and – to make sure the customer is satisfied the problem is properly and completely fixed.
You may want to adopt a similar standard for yourself and your company if you haven’t already.
And now, I’ll leave you with one more ‘thing’ we add to the list before we consider a mistake fixed – one more ‘bar’ we want to reach.
We say a mistake isn’t fixed until we’ve been able to turn around the customer and get completely back in their, for lack of a better term, ‘good graces’.
I mean we want them to feel as good, or better, about our company after we fixed the mistake – as they did before we ‘messed up’.
That’s an even tougher ‘bar’ to reach, but it’s worth it.
Discover the Guru in You,