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Mistakes Happen. Here’s How the Pros Make It Better

A formal issue resolution process ensures customer satisfaction and benefits large organizations. See what we've learned along the way of making sure every team member is a customer-focused quality pro.


Nobody likes to make mistakes, particularly a quality manager like me. So to keep everything in perspective, I have a saying on my desktop that reads: “Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.”

It’s a great reminder because despite our best efforts, everyone makes mistakes. We’re human, right? To err is integral to the human experience. Recognizing this, successful companies bake issue resolution into their quality program from day one. This typically includes a formal program with processes that not only solve a customer’s immediate issue — like rapidly replacing pallets for those not on spec — but also has long-term strategies to ensure the same mistakes aren’t repeated — like making sure the customer’s pallets are always on spec.

Large organizations with widely dispersed locations benefit mightily from formal issue resolution programs. With 224 pallet facilities across North America that handle 90 million pallets annually, 48forty has seen our share of mistakes, but thanks to how we proactively resolve issues, we’ve become a much better company in the process. Here are 10 things we’ve learned on our journey to make all 2,200 team members customer-focused quality pros:

  • Recognize that quality is a journey and mistakes are part of it. Even the best among us slips up on occasion.
  • Create your formal issue resolution process and share with everyone in your organization so everyone is on the same page.
  • Inform customers of your formal issues resolution process and encourage them to use it. Let them know their feedback, compliments and complaints, is always welcome.
  • Be respectful of customer feedback. When there’s an issue, see it through the customer’s eyes. What might seem like a minor issue to you can be a big issue to them.
  • Don’t waste time casting blame. Focus on the solution.
  • Put solving a customer’s issue at the top of your to do list. A quick, effective solution shows customers how much they are valued.
  • Once the immediate issue is resolved, conduct a root cause analysis to determine what happened and the best corrective action.
  • Have dedicated resources available to resolve issues—quality team members, engineers and others—and don’t be afraid to engage them.
  • Follow-up with the customer to validate the effectiveness of the action at regular intervals and determine if anything further needs to be done.
  • Learn from mistakes!

As much as we dislike making mistakes, when handled promptly and courteously, mistakes have the power to increase customer satisfaction. We’ve seen it here at 48forty and we’re a much better company for it.

If you have questions about 48forty’s issue resolution process for complaints and rejections, please contact me online or by phone at 877.779.8577.