My wife came outside and told me our washing machine was making a strange grinding noise. This confirmed what I had heard through the walls while working in the garage. We talked about how old the washer was (only two years), and what we should do.
The loud grinding sound continued as I went inside to get to the bottom of the problem, giving me visions of gear teeth flying off, further damaging any parts that were still intact
I stared at the tub full of clothes, suds, and water for a bit, and when no solution came to me I turned to the internet where I found a panoply of issues that could have befallen my washer. This was not good. They all entailed serious repair work.
Resigned to the fact there was nothing I could do that didn’t involve a wrench, an assistant, or an expert, I called the LG help line.
The representative who welcomed me predictably asked what the problem was. I assumed she was fielding all types of calls for the company and would hand me over to a mechanic at some point. I also suspected she was located offshore, thereby providing LG with a low-cost way to direct calls to the correct department.
What happened over the next 30 minutes was a case study in communication excellence, patience, and humility.
She asked me questions. I answered. She told me what to do next. We (this was a team effort!) reset the machine, then ran it empty. Next we filled it with laundry again and I provided feedback on the process.
At one point water poured into the tub and swished back and forth. I told her it was agitating the clothes. She told me in a very nice way that it was in fact not working correctly at all due to a tub imbalance, then proceeded to ask me what maintenance we had performed on the machine (my answer was: none), and suggested I run the tub cleaning function.
I did. It worked. Ten loads later I remain impressed.
It wasn’t long before my NoC CBL brain started thinking about how well LG had trained their helpline employees.
There was some great communication behind this success. Clearly LG has worked out the details on troubleshooting their equipment. They have communicated that to their reps who engage directly with customers so they can deliver on the CBL principles of Accuracy and Timeliness with a high degree of Credibility.
End result: one very happy customer.
Empowering your employees to represent your organization in real-time requires some hard work. Especially since they represent you at all times. Whether at home with their family and friends, on a call with a customer, or in the worst case when a news crew sticks a microphone in front of them during a negative event.
What will your team members say when faced with an opportunity to represent your organization? Do they know what you are thinking? Have you empowered and enabled them to represent your organization in real time? LG seems to have this figured out.
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NoC COO B.J. Fitzpatrick is a retired U.S. Marine Colonel with thirty years of service. He served tours in Iraq as an advisor and two tours as the operations officer and chief of staff for all U.S. and NATO forces in Southwest Afghanistan. He was also an instructor and was assigned as the commander of the Marine Corps School of Infantry East. Prior to joining the NoC team he worked in veteran transition and employment programs for military service members and their families. He holds a Masters of Public Administration from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science from the U. S. Naval Academy.