QuickNotes: Outstanding Ownership

Outstanding Ownership
Please forward to your teams and colleagues as this QuickNote provides excellent lessons in both bad service and Outstanding Ownership!

John, my company required 40 cell phones and a bunch of new equipment so I contacted our carrier. After installation, we started having trouble with dropped calls. I called my sales rep and he said that he’d begin “testing the system” to find the problem. A week later I had to call him again and he told me they couldn’t find any problem with the system and blamed me—the customer—saying, “You must be using the equipment incorrectly.” After several more calls, he became frustrated with me and turned it all over to his supervisor to whom I had to re-explain the problem. She then started from scratch and began to “test the system” again! Two weeks and several calls later—after plenty of my time being wasted—the supervisor decided that since our tech issues were basically in one state and we had purchased the equipment in another, she would pass our problem on to another department to handle.

Then a service rep visited our site because they couldn’t find any problems “in the system.” He proceeded to tell me that, “You bought the wrong equipment”—even though it was recommended by their own sales rep! He then said they would swap out the equipment at no charge, but we’d need additional equipment to make everything run more smoothly—and there would be a charge for the upgraded product.

I said, “Thanks, but no thanks!” and never heard from anyone again.

Two months later we were having the same problems. I called them again. After several conversations the service tech stopped returning my calls, so I went online and looked up other offices representing their firm in my state. I picked one randomly and sent them an e-mail outlining our problems—and I thought that would be the end of that!

Imagine my surprise the next day when I received a call from John Smith (yes, his real name). Mr. Smith apologized for the problems we were experiencing and said he would get the problem resolved. The next call I received was him stating that they would replace everything we’d bought with upgraded equipment at no charge. Within two weeks we were up and running with new equipment: problem solved! Mr. Smith then called to ensure that everything he had promised had been delivered—and assured me if I had any other concerns he would do whatever it took to rectify the situation.

I believed him.

I don’t know if John Smith has read QBQ!, Flipping the Switch, or Outstanding!—but he certainly demonstrated the values taught in your books. He clearly asked The Question Behind the Question, “What can I do to serve?” which lead to action that solved the customer’s problem in a timely manner with no excuses! Bottom line, one person saved our relationship with this carrier.

Tom P.

Tom, great example of Outstanding! Ownership and the power of one. When one person cares enough to say, “I will own the problem!” great things can happen. Now that is personal accountability! In fact, that’s outstanding!

Please share your story of Outstanding Ownership here on this blog. The best anecdotes will win a free Outstanding! book. Thanks for contributing!

John G. Miller
Author of …
QBQ! The Question Behind the Question®
Flipping the Switch … Unleash the Power of Personal Accountability
Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional?

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2010 at 9:33 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply