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Defining a “service failure” can get rather broad. No-shows caused by human error, mechanical failures, and even slow billing can be considered service failures. Tracking these failures can help identify staff members who are not delivering to expectations or problem vehicles that drain cash from your business.
Chris Przybylski with Limo & Bus Compliance, an industry regulatory consulting service, provides analysis on service failures for about 30 transportation clients and examines all factors that hinder a client, such as traffic issues, chauffeur complaints, and slow billing. He reports the average service failure rate of his clients is about two percent.
You likely remember the excitement or fear of opening your school report card. A report card grades specific courses, and as we all may painfully remember, the grade may not always have been as high as expected in a particular subject. Perhaps you thought you were getting an “A” in English but instead you got a “B-.” You knew immediately you had to put a little more effort into your English class. Maintaining a log of failures may provide that same eye-opening experience. You might not be doing as well as you think you are.
You may assume your company is too small to worry about this. If you plan to grow, you should start a log now. The larger your company becomes, the more people who could contribute to service failures. When you get to the size of big-metro companies such as BostonCoach, Windy City Limousine and Bus, Commonwealth Worldwide, and Music Express, as an owner you may not be aware of every service failure on any given day. Having a log allows you to review recorded incidents and adopt new policies, change existing ones, and identify weak areas of your operations.
This might seem like a lot of information to document. However, you should not have to enter information in a failure log too often. As you use the log of past mistakes to make changes within your company, the fewer failures you should encounter in the future.
Every accident investigation report ends with findings on accident causes and contributing factors. You should come to a conclusion for each service failure such as mechanical, staff training, staff performance, human errors, weather related, or others.
“This results in them calling you again and gives you an opportunity to outshine yourself and correct your mistake,” D’Souza says. You will need to examine every failure for the appropriate action based upon its severity.
We’ve all heard the old adage the customer is always right. That’s old, outdated, and obviously not made for our business. Clients have been known to give the wrong date for airport pick-ups, flight numbers, and hotel names. Sami Elotmani, vice president of operations for Destination MCO in Orlando, recommends recording service failures caused by clients, such as providing the wrong pick-up date or time. This can help identify a need to modify reservationist scripts to improve the date verification process.
This should be based upon many factors. Record service failures as soon as they occur to avoid losing details of the incident. An owner or manager should document each incident with input from all parties involved to properly analyze and categorize them. A person familiar with the incident resolution and costs should enter it into the record. The log doesn’t need to be confidential since it’s an improvement tool for all staff members. The most logical staffers to start an entry into the log are the dispatchers on duty at the time of the incidents, since they are most likely to know the details and people involved.
Schwartz points out clients often complain because they are simply having a bad day. Sam Rubin, owner of Park City Group Transportation in Park City, Utah says you need to get on the same emotional level as a grumpy client and give them an opportunity to vent. Keeping a log of failures isn’t all bad. Consider it more of your roadmap to excellence.
How much information you record in your log is up to you. The more detail you enter, the more data you have for future examination and decision making. At minimum we recommend you keep the following details:
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