We’re pretty positive and upbeat individuals here at Minerva but every now and again we have a bad day HQ. One such occasion was when one of our school’s contacted us to advise that a supplier we had recommended had badly let them down.
The company in question had been chosen by Minerva to supply the school with their exercise books. We completed all of our usual due diligence investigations; took references, reviewed financial accounts, benchmarked pricing and every box was ticked. As a result we recommended the school placed their order for the two different types of books they required.
The timing of delivery of exercise books is pretty critical and you don’t even need to work in a school to know that the deadline will be sometime around the beginning of September. As a result we were more than a little surprised when, at the end of September, we had a call from the school advising non-delivery.
However, on further investigation we discovered this wasn’t the only problem. The School Business Manager had made multiple calls to the company Account Manager to try and find out what was happening but simply wasn’t getting a response. On one occasion she was advised that one set of the exercise books had been in the supplier’s office for a week but they simply hadn’t been delivered – this was after term had started. Then, to compound the problem, the personalised exercise books arrived (late) and were not what had been requested.
What happened next is an excellent lesson on how not to deal with a customer complaint.
Now aware of the extent of the problem Minerva contacted the supplier to get it resolved. Our view is always that we may not have caused the problem but if it’s one of our recommended suppliers we will get involved until the situation is satisfactorily resolved for our customer.
At this point the supplier made a fatal error which will mean that we will never recommend them to our clients again. He blamed the school for the problem and blatantly lied, claiming he had tried to contact both the school and Minerva about the personalised exercise books. The phrase ‘the customer is always right’ is so true. As a business owner you know they’re right even when they’re wrong! So for this Account Manager to compound the error by blaming everyone but himself was unprofessional in the extreme.
I’m pleased to report that subsequent to this we have negotiated with the supplier to give the school a full refund for all of the exercise books – generic and personalised. The School Business Manager was adamant that she didn’t hold Minerva responsible for what had happened. However, we do feel a responsibility. The supplier was one we recommended. As a result we have offered the school a full refund of our own fee making good on our promise that “we guarantee that you’ll be fully satisfied with our work our services won’t cost you a penny”.
So, all’s well that ends well for the school but the way the supplier dealt with the situation should be a reminder to us all that we all make mistakes; it’s how you deal with them that matters most.