An honest look at where your business may be falling short gives you an opportunity to improve.
Even though I would like to believe that Royal Flush is the perfect company, we all know there is no such thing. Every company has strengths and every company has weaknesses. Successful companies recognize their weaknesses and build a strategy to improve.
Admitting weaknesses can be really hard to do. Over the years, we have realized it is always the best idea to have a group effort when outlining weaknesses in the company. The more eyes you have on something, the better the outcome.
Every Monday morning, we have an operations meeting. We go over all of our routes. Looking at all of the driver hours, number of services completed and complaints per route. In addition, we go through all of our weekend events. This includes any complaint calls that we received over the weekend and discussion of any mistakes that occurred.
The point of this meeting isn’t to point the finger at every mistake a person made. It’s to find out how they happened. Was it a clerical error? This could be something so small as the wrong digit in an address or the wrong street name. Was it a scheduling error? Did we have too many orders scheduled for 8 a.m. on Saturday morning? We look at where we went wrong so we can make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
We have always said that we are an operations-driven company. We are much stronger at special events and this is because we are very strong in the operations department, moving large quantities of units and equipment from event to event almost seamlessly. We can get any job done, usually in a short period of time. This is how we pick up almost 2,200 toilets the day after the New York City Marathon each year.
Where we are weak is in our processes. We will always get the job done but we don’t do it the same way every time. We have tried for years to enforce procedures but it is our major weakness. Maybe this comes from our beginnings as a small company that didn’t care about processes because we just needed more customers. Or maybe this comes from our drive to constantly grow our company. Either way, we just can’t nail down a process and stick with it.
That was hard to admit! But I know that no person or company is perfect. You just keep striving to get better with each job you take.
Try having a similar meeting. Invite order takers, managers, dispatchers, etc., to the meeting. Take your time and go through all points of the order, from the initial phone call to the day you remove that toilet from the site. Where does your company fall short?
Also take time to acknowledge customer complaints. Are they all about service or is it more than that? Do you have a driver that never signs in? Or maybe it is another driver who always forgets to refill the hand sanitizer dispensers? Do you have a customer service employee who notoriously forgets phone numbers?
All of these things are weaknesses. And when you finally recognize them, you can work towards fixing them and strengthening your company.
About the Author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.