The customers, Mr. Shelton and his wife, are deeply dissatisfied with the way Presto Cleaners have treated them. On July 28th, Mr. Shelton was asked to fill out a preference card on the new computerized system, and select a new identification number. Once he had done that, and he was told that all he would have to do is drop his clothes in a bag and leave them at the store. The computerized system would take care of the rest. Similarly, while picking up Mr. Shelton would just pick up the laundry and pay. However, when Mrs. Shelton went to drop a bag of laundry, she was made to fill out for a new preference card of her own and a new identification number. Mr. Shelton soon found out he had to get a new special order bag every time. When he was told his wife had picked up the order, he went back home. But his wife said she had picked up a previous order and not the special order bag worth four shirts, two blouses, one suit and one shirt. The counterperson at Presto Cleaners confirmed the order had been misplaced and promised to find the clothes. Mr. Shelton bought four shirts and wanted compensation for the same. He was put through to Mr. Hoffner but the latter wasn’t available. Mr. Shelton kept dropping messages, and when Mr. Hoffner finally called, he said he could confirm things only after a talk with the outlet. Mr. Shelton took offence and asked for a claim form. The claim form was late in delivery and required older receipts, which Mr. Shelton didn’t have. There was an argument but soon the clothes were found. Those had been delivered to another customer and returned late. Mr. Shelton called Mr. Hoffner again but got no reply.
Q1: Why is Mr. Shelton upset? What can be done to address his complaint?
Firstly, Preston Cleaners have been callous in their approach. They claimed that the new computerized system would save a lot of trouble, but, on the contrary, the problems raised much folds. The special bags were supposedly a one-time buy, but Mr. Shelton was later told that each time he would have to wait in a queue and get a special bag. The Presto cleaners didn’t take care of the clothes of their trusted customers and didn’t even bother much to find the clothes nor pay the compensation. To avoid Mr. Shelton, they didn’t take his calls. The clothes were returned only cause of the second customer’s thoughtfulness. To satiate Mr. Shelton, Preston Cleaners need to:
a)Give him ample compensation for the clothes he had to buy afresh and the time loss in the laundry service
b)Seek a formal apology
c)Give him a free laundry service for the next time
Strengths: The strength of any company is its customers, and Presto Cleaner is no different. It should provide excellent services and keep its customers happy and satisfied. Loyal customers, in turn, bring more customers and the profit grows.
Weaknesses: The weakness of the company is the poor service it gives its customers. Presto Cleaner was very negligent in addressing Mr. Shelton’s needs and turned a loyal customer into a dissatisfied one. They lost his clothes, didn’t stand good on the services it promised and even avoided his calls.
Opportunities: The opportunities lie in the new computerized system. If it is implemented successfully, and the customers are given the advantage of a single special bag and their clothes are taken care of, it is an excellent way to take the lead in the market.
Threats: The competitors like Kwik and Klean are ready to take over dissatisfied customers like Mr. Shelton. So, other companies, with better services, may rake in more profit.
Q2: Based on the information presented in the case, develop a comprehensive quality improvement plan for Presto Cleaner.
Presto Cleaner doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure to pull off the computerized system. As Mr. Hoffner has replied back in his memo, the people at different outlets didn’t have the knowledge about the new system completely. The system that was meant to be faster and efficient turned out to be slower and confusing to both the workers and the customers. He is blaming Mr. Shelton for coming over on the first day of the computerized system; however, Mr. Shelton wasn’t even aware of the same He had come over for a regular drop-and-pick service like before. It was the person at the counter who showed him the new system and asked him to use it. The counterpersons weren’t trained enough, but they went ahead and talked customers into it.
Next, the people taking care of the laundry are irresponsible. They pack off one customer’s clothes to another. They don’t keep any track record of the same, and if the second customer decides to keep all the clothes, they don’t even have any provision to address the grievances of the first customer.
The complaint system is very poor. Mr. Hoffner says the messages left by Mr. Shelton were vague; but had they been so, how did he find out that the messages were from Mr. Shelton? Mr. Hoffner knew that the clothes had gone with another customer, but hid the fact from Mr. Shelton. Transparency and honesty with customers is the first and foremost things any company must obe
There is no effort to compensate Mr. Shelton for his loss. His claim form is delayed and even after that, he is asked for all bills and receipts, which obviously he doesn’t have, and it is not right to expect him to keep either.
The worst part is the utter disrespect the company has for its customers. Mr. Hoffner very calmly says that Mr. Shelton is not worth much. It is grossly unjust to devalue a customer, when it is the Presto Cleaner’s fault that they couldn’t provide good service.
a)Improve the computerized system functionality
b)Give proper training to the people at the stores
c)Take care of the laundry of each customer and keep the clothes sorted
d)Have a quick tracking and recovery system in case the clothes are misplaced
e)Compensate quickly for any losses
f)Have a good grievance-addressal system
g)Respect customers and try to retain them
h)Apologize gracefully to keep customer’s trust
Q3: “ The Customer’s perception of quality differs from that of operations”-Discuss what you believe the statement means.
According to the customer, the quality of service means:
a)The promises made by the company are adhered to
b)The clothes of the customer are well kept and returned as per the guidelines
c)The complaints are paid heed to
d)The company compensates graciously for any losses
According to the operations, the quality of service means:
a)The company tries the best it can
b)The customer doesn’t seek compensation immediately and is patient
c)The customer appreciates the new technologies the company provides
d)The customer isn’t complaining and understands the time involved in recovering things
The difference is clearly due to the perceptions each of the parties holds. The customer has paid the company, is loyal to it and deserves every right to address his grievance. The company, however, should focus more on providing customer service than expecting customers to be patient; especially since it is completely the company’s fault here.
– Finkelman, Dan. Goland, Tony. The Case Of the Complaining Customer. Web. 27th October, 2014
– Bplans. com. Web. 27th October, 2014
– Princes-trust. org. Web. 27th October, 2014