Undercover Boss - Part 4 - "The curse of the Chinese Whispers"

Anyone who runs Engineers has experienced a situation where by a customer says an engineer has said one thing and the Engineer say another...

During my time as an “Undercover Boss” I witnessed just such a situation.

I attended a site to carry out inspection and testing of some Height Safety Assets, I dutifully completed the job and went to see the customer and tell them that “we’re all done”.

I’m told that there are extra items on site and that Insight should inspect them, (to cut a long story short), these items were excluded from the contract by the Facilities Management company about 2 years ago, they are old items and have been replaced with new equipment. Our help-desk called the FM company and they confirmed that these items were taken out of service, that they have been replaced, that they are safely locked off, they are not used and we are not to inspect them.

I go back to the customer and explain what calls we have made and that these are no longer in service and have indeed been replaced. I ensure the customer that the new assets are a better solution to the height safety issues and explain that, as per the FM’s directive we are not to inspect these items – the customer seems satisfied with the lengths we went to, to find out what was what and my explanation.

"Dan take a look at this..."

A few days later, I’m in the office and one of the help-desk girls calls me over, “Dan take a look at this:”

I look at an email our help-desk was copied into from the very same customer to the Facilities’ Management Company (who we are working for) saying that the engineer (me) had said, that he didn’t have the the tools or the time to carry out an inspection of the extra assets and that the FM company should demand that they (us) come back to inspection the extra items free of charge.

Our help-desk girl, (who originally called the FM) calls the FM again referencing the email and asks if we should have done anything different for the customer, luckily the FM remembers the original conversation and states that we should “take no notice of this email!”.

It just goes to show, when you know you have done everything in your power to help a customer – you can still experience a severe case of Chinese Whispers.

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