With all the new methods for communications that we have embraced in recent years I feel it is time to re-introduce the world to a method that has been working pretty well for a number of years.
I refer, of course, to that underused medium, the human voice.
There have been a couple of incidents recently where I got calls from account managers complaining that I haven't responded to calls that customers have placed.
I investigated; the customer had placed a call but was not able to supply vital information like asset numbers, serial numbers and details of the fault, site contacts and so on. So the partially logged call was placed in a pending queue and forgotten.
It would have helped me no end if the call logger had called me and advised me that a call had been placed. It was a regular customer, who spends a lot of money each year with us and I could have visited the site, fixed the problem and supplied the missing information for the log and left the customer happy. As it was, we ignored them for 16 days until a high level complaint was lodged. Of course it was deemed to be my fault and I was hauled in for a dressing down.
This was the first I heard of the fault so at once I was on the defensive. When it was realised that I had no idea what they were talking about the investigation started properly, it was clear from the call logging system that the job had not been passed to me and they went to look for it. (This could have been done as the first action on a complaint.)
As soon as I knew about the fault I rang the customer and arranged to visit the next day. The call log arrived part way through the visit and I was able to make sure that the job was logged properly. All of which I could have done two weeks ago, when I wasn't as stressed as I was this week, when a team of six engineers was reduced to two, because of sickness, training courses and holidays.
It could all have been avoided by talking to somebody.