We all know that when working with customers, close enough should never be good enough.  This is especially true if you want to retain customers and grow.  Murphy’s Law lies in waiting, only a moment away, ready to strike at the worst times despite all good intentions and quality systems.

Everyone has heard that news travels and bad news travels faster.  When does good news become public?  What motivates customers to pass on good news?  One thing is for sure and that is a positive experience is needed before “good news can travel”.  This blog is about how Aliva “rose to the challenge” when all best laid plans are undone by matters outside of our control.

Aliva was recently awarded a contract to supply a quantity of PC’s to a College in far North Queensland.  The customer’s purchase criteria included specification, quality of product, price and availability.  The last point, availability, was critical as they had a “drop dead date” for installation and a new classroom of students waiting to get creative.

Everything fell into place and the PC’s were shipped directly from the supplier and arrived 5 days ahead of schedule and 7 days before the “drop dead date”….and then Murphy appeared.  For a small technical reason these PC’s would not connect to the College’s network.  The new challenge was how to fix this problem when the College was 1000+ kms away.  There was sufficient time to collect and bring the PC’s to Brisbane, fix the technical problem and re-ship them.  This would also prove to be the most financially economical and most businesses would have taken this option.

….not Aliva.  We put the customer’s needs first, we “owned the problem” and met the challenge head on by immediately arranging for staff to travel to the College.  This required staff to leave home at 4.30am, fly to North Qld, hire a car, drive 1.5 hours, work through the day and then drive 1.5 hours back in time to catch the return flight to Brisbane, arriving home well after midnight.

The end result was that the College met its own “drop dead date” and had a new classroom of PC’s installed and ready for their students ahead of time.

It would have been easy for Aliva to respond as most others would, instead our staff were empowered to make their own decisions, take it on themselves to “own the problem” and to “rise to the challenge” by putting customer needs ahead of business needs, and in this case personal convenience.  Empowered and motivated staff create customer centric solutions and sometimes this means solving problems no-one envisaged and should not be there; but someone needs to own them.

We believe that satisfied, understanding and engaged customers will likely become advocates for any business.  However, to become the best advocates they will have experienced first-hand how the business they engage with handles difficult problems when something seriously goes off the rails, not just “business as usual” day to day transactions that anyone can process.

Thanks for reading….

David Hawley

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