Whilst we do our best to ensure nothing goes wrong with the products and solutions that we provide, we do not live in a perfect world. In the unlikely event that something does go wrong, any customer would want a reliable supplier who stands by them and fixes the issue, and not someone who balks at accountability and runs away.
Managing customer complaints effectively is vital to us, as it influences the customer’s trust, perceptions and loyalty. We understand how important it is to the customer to have a reliable supplier who will work through any issues that may crop up. As we see it, complaints are an opportunity to fix problems and prevent them from re-occurring, which will also help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty in the long run.
One of our customers, a company catering to a wide range of applications and industries with our flooring products, raised a complaint that there was discolouration in some of the coloured rubber flooring products we supplied.
Challenges We Faced
• Dealing with a disgruntled customer who wanted a swift solution to the complaint raised.
• Finding the root cause of the problem, where many variables could have contributed to it.
• Urgently providing replacements for the problematic items.
• Retaining the loyalty and confidence of the customer going forward.
Our Approach & Solution
As the first step in our complaint handling process, we listened intently to our customer to learn more about the issue and the difficult position they were in, and requested for samples and photos for further analysis. Upon further investigations carried out at our in-house R&D lab and carefully tracing back each step in our production process, it was identified that the discolouration was stemming from a grade of reclaim rubber that was in our rubber formulation. What was baffling to us is that we had been sourcing this material from the same supplier for many years without any issues, so what had changed that led to this discolouration issue?
The supplier of the problematic reclaim rubber was immediately contacted and the use of all the remaining stocks of the specific material was discontinued. From what transpired, we learnt that our supplier had changed the source of his feedstock used to process the reclaim rubber without informing us, and that was the root cause for the issues we experienced. To ensure that this problem does not recur, we asked the supplier to maintain the consistency of the feedstock and not to supply us any material processed from the problematic feedstock. They were also strictly informed to keep us informed of any change in their process going forward. Additionally, more stringent testing methods were added to our incoming raw material approval process by our Quality Control team.
The customer was kept informed during the entire investigation and was very happy to learn that we had found the root cause of the issue and what we had done to fix it. The problematic products were replaced free-of-charge to the customer, and since they were urgently required, the replacements were airfreighted and delivered to the customer’s warehouse.
Partners and relationships are always tested when things go wrong and in times of adversity. Impressed and reassured by the way we handled this complaint, our customer continues to be in our order books and has increased order volumes over the years in sign of confidence in Microcells!