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Customer Complaint due to unanswered telephone during audit

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Polly Pure Bread

#1
The telephone was not able to answer by an Auditee after continuous rings because the she was attending to the needs of internal audit teams that resulted in customer complaint. :nope:
 
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Peter West

#2
I would have thought an answerphone message or cover could have been arranged to ensure that the caller(s) were aware of the situation. This would have appeased the client and avoided the complaint.

I am sure there are a number of preventive measures that would have avoided that outcome. :cool:
 

Ted Schmitt

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
I would have thought an answerphone message or cover could have been arranged to ensure that the caller(s) were aware of the situation. This would have appeased the client and avoided the complaint.

I am sure there are a number of preventive measures that would have avoided that outcome. :cool:
Yes I agree with your point of view Peter, this should have been seen / planned beforehand. While auditing, if there is no other way, I always tell the auditee to answer the phone, never know who is calling....
 
#4
The reason for absence is immaterial from the customer's point of view. Employee could have been in rest room or first aid.
Answer customer complaint by admitting lapse and proposing a plan to cover future absences plus a list of alternate numbers for customers to use in such circumstances as unanswered extensions.


 
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Dave Dunn

#5
Maybe I'm in a different industry, but it seems a bit extreme to me to receive a customer complaint for someone not being at their phone 100% of the time and able to answer it. Unless there is a customer specific requirement that had been agreed to that there shall be someone immediately available any time a customer calls, I would not accept this. Maybe it depends on the specific role of the person who was being called, but if it wasn't someone dedicated to answering the phone, that's what answering machines are for, so that you can get their message and respond in a timely manner.
 
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Craig H.

#6
What a coincidence. Just this morning my department (QA) was being audited. As we started, the phone rang. The auditor said "go ahead and answer" before I even had a chance to tell her I was expecting a call. The call was from our external auditor, calling about scheduling our upcoming audit in January. Since it will be the latter half of the month, I can move the other internal audits into next year, when more processes will be running and all hands will be on deck.

Anyhow, strange coincidence.
 

howste

Thaumaturge
Super Moderator
#7
The telephone was not able to answer by an Auditee after continuous rings because the she was attending to the needs of internal audit teams that resulted in customer complaint. :nope:
Is this a hypothetical situation for discussion, or did it really happen?

Can you give us the exact wording of the complaint?
 

jasonb067

Quite Involved in Discussions
#8
Did the customer not have additional contacts up the organization? That is the way we deal with this. We give our customers contact information from Customer Service to COO so that in the event of serious issue we know that they can get to someone. Just must hope that the customer does not abuse that information.

What industry are you in?
 
#9
The telephone was not able to answer by an Auditee after continuous rings because the she was attending to the needs of internal audit teams that resulted in customer complaint. :nope:
If you only have one person who is available to answer a phone, you have a bigger problem! This has nothing to do with the fact they were being audited! What if they weren't at their desk - for a bathroom break, for example? (they are allowed to do that I hope). That would also result in a problem wouldn't it? Out sick unexpectedly? does your switchboard operator know who to direct the call to, if it doesn't go through to this key person. You must have 'plan B' for the operator to take a message etc. I know my company does!

Good, customer focused, companies don't rely on automated systems to answer the phone. They are nasty and frustrating. Customers call to speak with some one, to ask a question, get advise or similar. We don't want to listen to a machine! Out of hours, we expect a machine, but not during working hours.

Internal audit etiquette doesn't have any relevance here, although the points made are valid, in reality.
 
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DrM2u

#10
The telephone was not able to answer by an Auditee after continuous rings because the she was attending to the needs of internal audit teams that resulted in customer complaint. :nope:
I suggest that you review the requirements of 7.2.3 of ISO 9001 or any other standard based on it. Evidently you have not addressed them completely and the customer took issue with it. Now you have a complaint to answer to, regardless of how appropriate or ridiculous it might seem.

As a 3rd party auditor I insisted that the customer answered the phone during the audit and continued only after the conversation was over or was informed that there were arrangements made for someone else to handle the calls. On occasions I even followed the call as an audit trail to ensure that proper communication channels were in place. Of course, sometimes that led to following on a customer's complaint but that's another story.
 
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