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Refusal to Document Complaints

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#31
They fixed the part themselves due to time constraints as we were late delivering and they couldn't afford to waste time to send back to us for repair. They deducted money from their invoice due.
If top management does not get "alarmed" by a feedback such as this, it is hopeless. Late, nonconforming products leading to a monetary deduction. Don't they (top management) understand that this customer is likely to be looking for an alternate supplier? Isn't management concerned with loss of business? Maybe not. Maybe they think a mediocre performance is acceptable; some people spend their whole lives in mediocrity and that's their normal.

The reason to capture ANY instance of customer dissatisfaction is to understand if and when systemic issues exist that need to be prevented from recurring; in essence, a corrective action. Business benefits from learning from mistakes, but only if they embrace customer feedback, good and bad, and react accordingly. Organizations that are not interested in learning are too dysfunctional to prosper.
 
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japayson

Starting to get Involved
#32
Big old follow up here. We had a group training session on customer complaints and how we'd like to handle them.

Here's an example we came across: A customer had called to state that parts we made for them were incorrect. They fixed the part themselves due to time constraints as we were late delivering and they couldn't afford to waste time to send back to us for repair. They deducted money from their invoice due.

Sales person says that isn't a complaint. The other five people in the meeting said it is.

What does Elsmar think? Do you feel like this is a complaint that should have been logged? How would YOU handle something like that? Through Action Requests? Through our Nonconforming Product procedure only?
The first part of the description sure sounds like a complaint. That is -- the customer called to state that the parts we made for them were incorrect. Sure sounds like a complaint. The fact that they repaired the parts doesn't make the complaint go away, does it?
I go with a thought that customer feedback of dissatisfaction should be considered a complaint, and should be addressed. If you decide to not view dissatisfaction as a complaint, then the customer will be motivated to find alternate supply.
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted
#33
Totally a complaint...I'd be interested in the Salesperson's definition of "complaint" if they don't think this is one.

Curiosity: If a monetary credit was issued, initiated by the customer...what bucket would it go in other than complaint?
 
#34
If top management does not get "alarmed" by a feedback such as this, it is hopeless. Late, nonconforming products leading to a monetary deduction. Don't they (top management) understand that this customer is likely to be looking for an alternate supplier? Isn't management concerned with loss of business? Maybe not. Maybe they think a mediocre performance is acceptable; some people spend their whole lives in mediocrity and that's their normal.
Time out. You caught me on a day where I wish the customer would find another supplier. Their freaking part is unmanufacturable and is low value. :)
 
#35
It's obviously a complaint. That's why the guy is in sales. But what can you do about it since the customer "fixed" the parts themselves? Most of my customers would want a written response/corrective action.
 

Ralba

Starting to get Involved
#36
Here's an example we came across: A customer had called to state that parts we made for them were incorrect. They fixed the part themselves due to time constraints as we were late delivering and they couldn't afford to waste time to send back to us for repair. They deducted money from their invoice due.

Sales person says that isn't a complaint. The other five people in the meeting said it is.
Customer complaints are important, but it seems that there is a bit of a semantic argument going on with your company about the definition of the word. Personally, I take a very process based approach to viewing these problems, and tend to view them as inputs and outputs of related parts of the system. I find it helps avoid some semantics with certain personality types.

Sounds like you are in manufacturing. Your company, at its core, is a system to receive requests information from a customer, components from suppliers, and to perform actions on those components according to the information from the customer, and to then send them to the customer. Failure to meet the needs specified in the information from the customer is a failure in your system on some level. These kinds of errors happen, but the processes that created the errors need to be changed in a meaningful way that prevents the error from occurring again.

With this mindset, your sales guy is receiving information critical to the rest of the company. The information is what they need to make the changes to their processes to prevent the failures from re-occurring. This information needs to be recorded in such a way that it can be used by everyone to make HOW they work better suit the system's goal of meeting customer's needs.

In my humble opinion, it needs to be presented as the sales guy must make sure the information he receives that is pertinent to others within the company is received by those people. Failure to do so hinders their ability to do their job. Call it a complaint or negative feedback or whatever, but it needs to be logged and the root cause of the failures the customer is reporting need to be identified.
 

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
Trusted
#37
One thing to keep in mind.....

In my experience, whether dealing with world-leading aerospace and defense mega corporations or small businesses, whether dealing with cheap components or expensive completed assemblies, I believe that around half of customer "complaints," reported problems, negative feedback, whatever term you use, is unjustified. So, generally speaking, unless we get the parts back to verify the alleged problem, or unless we get back photographic evidence (where appropriate) I do not do much.

Over the years, about half of what does come back from the customer under an RMA is found to not be our fault or impossible to determine the fault, so I am sure at least that percentage of stuff that doesn't come back is also not our fault. YMMV.
 
#38
Hi, I had a similar issue in a company, I change the wording in the procedure to read Complaints / Concerns, and when speaking with the Sales team, i always tried to use the word customer Concerns. didn't always work but did improve a little, another point has to try to just write a process flow of how the system works and get HR involved if they don't follow as its part of there job role if it's in there roles and responsibility they have a duty to comply.
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#39
Hi, I had a similar issue in a company, I change the wording in the procedure to read Complaints / Concerns, and when speaking with the Sales team, i always tried to use the word customer Concerns. didn't always work but did improve a little, another point has to try to just write a process flow of how the system works and get HR involved if they don't follow as its part of there job role if it's in there roles and responsibility they have a duty to comply.
In the procedure, why not simply call it "feedback?" This way, it encourages the capturing of both positive and negative feedback from customers.

As for HR, to me that is a last step. If someone is not following a procedure, I would offer that our first action should be to ask - and understand - the why. If we have that ability to understand, then we can work on coming up with a suitable solution - could be revising our training to have more impact (e.g., showcase the risk of not capturing feedback and the benefits of capturing it), could be performance development - but until we sit down with open minds to understand the real reason, it will be difficult to implement something meaningful and sustainable.

If the Sales team (or an individual on it) is against documenting feedback, I would ask what they believe the role of Sales is in terms of client experience. There is, after all, more to sales than simply pushing product out the door and to the customer. I'd even turn the tables on them and ask if they would continue to go to a restaurant where they complained about the food/service to the manager and yet saw no improvement after making the complaint(s). Odds are they'll say they'd stop going to that restaurant. Ditto for the org's client...they'll stop buying at some point.
 

Al Rosen

Staff member
Super Moderator
#40
One thing to keep in mind.....

In my experience, whether dealing with world-leading aerospace and defense mega corporations or small businesses, whether dealing with cheap components or expensive completed assemblies, I believe that around half of customer "complaints," reported problems, negative feedback, whatever term you use, is unjustified. So, generally speaking, unless we get the parts back to verify the alleged problem, or unless we get back photographic evidence (where appropriate) I do not do much.

Over the years, about half of what does come back from the customer under an RMA is found to not be our fault or impossible to determine the fault, so I am sure at least that percentage of stuff that doesn't come back is also not our fault. YMMV.
I would still log it and explain that it could not be confirmed because (insert reason).
 
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