How Good is Your Internal Communication?

By Tom Grandy, Founder

If you have read any of my articles over the past 30+ years you know I love using real life situations to highlight areas that might just need a bit of tweaking.  This article is no exception!

Four days ago, our garage door opener began having problems.  It should be noted that the opener was installed in 2017 so it was not new but would not normally be considered old either.   The opener would not work.  Two lights showed up on keypad and a beeping sound began.  It was a loud (very irritating) beeping sound that occurred every half minute or so and could easily be heard inside the house.  I called the company that installed the opener which was 45 miles away since there were no local options.  I described the problem to the manager.  He agreed to send someone out the next day.   A short time after the call the beeping stopped and the garage door opener worked just fine.  I kept the appointment for the next day in case it started acting up again.  When the tech arrived the next day, all was well.  The garage door opener was working perfectly so I thanked the tech for coming and there was no charge.

The next day the beeping returned but did not stop!  I called the company again and they agreed to send someone out again.  During the conversation, the manager explained that they no longer carried my type of unit.  They now carried a side-mount unit custom made just for them and that it had been working very well.  The warranty was good and they carried parts if needed.  Meanwhile, I had gone to YouTube and found my current unit and it explained how to cut out a capacitor and resolder a new one in.  That was theoretically the silver bullet to fix the problem.  However, that was definitely above my pay grade.  I mentioned the possible repair to the manager on the phone and he agreed to do some research and would send out another tech with the repair instructions or with a new unit.  The bad news was that they only come to our town every other day, so I needed to wait until Friday.   My final question was this; “How can I stop this constant beeping?”  He suggested I unplug the unit.  Dah, that made sense.  I unplugged it and the beeping stopped.  Later my wife returned home so I reconnected the garage door and bingo, it started working again. 

The opener worked the rest of the day and all day the following day.  My assumption was that unplugging the unit must have somehow reset the system.  Early Friday morning around 6:00 AM, I called and told the answering service to cancel my scheduled call.  My wife left for a meeting at 6:30 AM and the door went up…and the door went down.  Good sign, right?  Thirty minutes later it was time for me to leave for a meeting.  The door would not work!  I called the answering service and left a message to continue with the scheduled call.  After unplugging the unit and plugging it back in, all worked well again.

The company opened at 8:00 AM so I called to tell the manager what the status was and to have the techs bring a new side-mount opener just in case it couldn’t be repaired and needed to be replaced.  This was a different person than the one I had talked to on previous two calls.  Sure enough, the techs arrived with instructions to change out the unit.  No mention of trying to trouble shoot it but by this time I was frustrated and ready to have it changed out anyway.  As the lead tech began unhooking the wires the other tech brought the new replacement unit from the truck.  The new box had Lift Master printed all over it!  That was the same unit I currently had.  I then questioned the techs about why they bought this unit instead of the in-house, custom made unit, the earlier manager recommended.  They had no explanation so they called back to the office.  It seems the manager, whom I had talked to the first two times I called, had failed to communicate with the person who was answering the phone on Friday.  The end result?  The wrong unit was sent and now it would be Monday before they could return to install the new, custom made unit.  The tech rewired the current garage door opener and it was now working just fine. 

If all goes well this will be the end of the saga.  If not, look for an update next month. 

Now for the point of the article.  The point is internal communication.  Every company needs to have a detailed customer base program that allows for an unlimited number of notes to be typed in.  Recording customer comments is critical.  Just as critical are the comments entered by the company’s staff so that everyone has access to what the customer has been told.  Had this been the case with my garage door company the new opener would be installed by now rather than having to wait until Monday, three days from now!  

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