Why complaints are important

Stefan Wehrmann | 26. August 2020

Complaints are not pleasant at first and sometimes throw us off track for a short term. Who likes to hear from a customer that something is not working according to plan. But they are of enormous importance to us. Only through such feedback from our customers can we improve products and adapt more and more precisely to the customer and his requirements.

Perhaps you have already experienced how important conversations are in your private life. A marriage and a friendship live on it. Personal exchange, reflection, and the willingness to understand the other person help to avoid misunderstandings. And that is not all. They also release positive feelings. In my job I see parallels. Because these points are also enormously important here. Not only in dealing with superiors and colleagues but also and above all in the interaction with the customer. A nice example is the following complaint of a customer.

Team discussion on handling of complaints

A complaint with lasting effect

It is about a complaint at the start of my job, which I have never forgotten. I have learned a lot from it. First of all, that the first impression can be deceptive. There is often a simple reason for supposed errors.

In this specific case, we were contacted by a company operating in the mechanical engineering sector. There were various defects in the cables used in a new igus chain. These errors occurred after only a short period of operation. The energy chain sent to us for examination had an unusually compressed interior separation. The foreign made cables used were partially worn down to the cores. This resulted in short circuits and ultimately the failure of the machine. This fact had to be examined.

Machine in mechanical engineering

First impression: It works better!

After analysis of the energy supply system and the cables within it, it was clear that damage by the energy chain itself could be excluded. The very unfavourable and crowded interior separation was one reason for the failure of the cables here. In addition, they were not properly strain-relieved.

We offered to optimise the separation for the customer. In doing so, we used our own cables, which we adapted to the application. We simulated the application in our laboratory and invited the customer for a joint evaluation and discussion on site.

A good two weeks later, the energy supply system was newly dimensioned and optimised. The simulated application already showed three times the service life of the real application in the laboratory without any problems.

The importance of personal exchange during customer visits

During the visit to the company headquarters, the customer was visibly impressed by the size of our laboratory and the speed of our overall service.

After some technical clarifications regarding the mechanical solution (energy chain model, separation, etc.) and discussions about further cooperation, the topic fell to the cables previously used in the system. This was our opportunity to explain the topic of cables for energy chains in more detail with the customer.

We presented the special design features of the selected servo, feedback, control and bus cables. Whilst I was discussing that the special cables for the energy chain must also be installed properly, my contact became very attentive. Due to this intensive discussion it became clear why they had relied so far on the previous structure of the energy supply system.

Customer discussion on complaints

Until now, there has been no training for the customer’s installation team in the handling of energy chains and cables. So, proper strain relief, use of shelves, correct arrangement of cables were unknown so far. For this reason, a design as simple as possible was chosen. The aim was to avoid possible mistakes. In the end a fallacy.

Our customer was enthusiastic about the possibility of our free technology training for the installation of cables in energy chains.

This was followed not only by training on site, but also by a newly designed interior separation with igus cables. The system runs flawlessly and we are happy to have a new, loyal customer.

Conclusion

Open and constructive discussions lead to new perspectives and often to unexpected solutions. It is always worthwhile to question facts, offer solutions to problems and above all to have personal discussions. Complaints are important to us and our daily efforts to improve ourselves.

Would you also like a personal consultation? Feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help you.

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