We Can’t Fix What We Don’t Know is Broken

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Friday, June 5, 2015

Have you ever gone to use something at home only to find out it doesn’t work?  And then, when you mention to your family members that it isn’t working they look at you very matter-of-factly and tell you it’s been broken for a while?  Ugh! The frustration!

I had this exact scenario happen to me last year following a very large snowfall we had in Chicago. My simple-fixhusband and son were out of town so I went out to start the snow blower only to find that after several attempts it clearly was not going to start.  When I called my husband and son to ask them what I might be doing wrong while trying to start the snow blower, they of course very matter-of-factly told me it was broken.  As you might imagine, my response to this was not a pleasant one.  I hung up with them and ended up having to shovel the driveway by hand, and just for the record I have a very long driveway covered with about eight inches of very wet snow.  When they finally returned home from their trip I told them that if they just would have told me it was broken I could have fixed it, but if I don’t know it’s broken, I can’t fix it. 

This same premise holds true in business.  When working with a contractor, supplier, or vendor, if you don’t like how the work was done or handled, or in other words “if it’s broken”, you need to let that supplier or vendor know you were not happy with their workmanship, their customer service, their response time, or whatever it may be.  By doing this you give them the opportunity to fix what isn’t sitting right with you.  Typically, the supplier or vendor is happy to fix the problem, and then you are ultimately happy with outcome.  If you don’t tell them “it’s broke” and give them the opportunity to fix the problem, you’re irritated, and then you either have to fix it yourself, or go somewhere else and pay more to have it fixed. 

We recently experienced this exact situation in our corporate office.  We had a contractor come in and do some work and we didn’t at all like how it was coming together.  We asked several questions about the work to the gentleman who was performing the work, but we were told this was how it had to be done. Even though we were told this, it still wasn’t sitting right with us and every time we walked by the work our frustration levels grew. 

It was at that point that we said to ourselves, okay we need to call the company, speak with a manager, have him or her come out to take a look at the work, and then ask him if he’d be happy if this was what was done in his offices. We did just that, the manager came out, he agreed with our perception of the work, and he said he’d fix it.

In the end, we were happy with the final outcome, the manager of the company who did the work learned some ways to improve his operations, and we will very likely call that same company again – a win-win for both parties.  Had we not contacted the manager of this company, we would have likely shared our not-so-great experience with others, paid more money to fix what we didn’t like, and continued to be frustrated with it all.  Also, had we called the company to share our concerns and found that they didn’t care, we would have learned a lot about that company and known right away not to use them ever again (and very likely shared our experience with the company with MANY people).

Do our customers sometimes call us to tell us they like to see some things done differently? Do they sometimes tell us “it’s broke”? Yes.  Any company who tells you this doesn’t happen to them is not being truthful.  And when we get these calls, do we disregard them?  Never! Like the scenario above, we work very hard to make things right with the customer, as well as modify our internal workings so the same scenario does not happen again.  It is also important to note, that when we “fix what’s broke” with a customer, we’ve pretty much gained a very loyal customer for the long-term because they know we stick by what we do. 

So, if you take anything away from this very lengthy article, it’s “we can’t fix what we don’t know is broken”.  Please always tell us if you feel something is broken.  We provide many channels for you to do so – by calling our office at 630-831-3311 and selecting option 6 from the menu to provide feedback about our company to me, by contacting your sales representative, by utilizing the Contact Us option on our website, by providing candid feedback during the customer satisfaction calls you receive from us following a purchase or service call, by replying to the contact information provided to you in the e-mail you receive from us following a sale, or by simply calling me directly at 630-993-4202 or e-mailing me directly at cglashagel@chicomm.com . We want your experiences with us to always be good ones.  If they’re not, please let us know.  We truly want to hear from you and be able to fix what’s broken.

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Cindy Glashagel

This article was written by one of Chicago Communication's Principals, Cindy Glashagel. Cindy has over 27 years of experience in the industry. She held many positions during her tenure at Motorola, beginning with Systems Engineer and other various customer service, quality & operations management, and HR positions before resigning to start Chicago Communications, LLC.  If you have any questions for Cindy, or another representative at ChiComm, please contact us.

 

 


Topics: Chicago Communications, Pointers from the Principals, Customer Service