I once worked for a large company as a QA manager. One day word got out that our VP of Customer Service was on the war path because damage complaints were up over 33% year to date! It was costing us a lot of money to resend orders that were damaged upon arrival at our customer’s locations.
I was a mid-level manager at the time and only heard rumblings from my superiors from high level meetings they attended. I was instructed to change product packaging to hundreds of items, perform drop testing and all sorts of comparisons to reduce damage complaints. Nothing worked. After about six weeks of panic and fact finding no one had arrived at a reason for the problem .
Then one day I sat in on a high-level meeting. I recalled a friend of mine that worked in our call center telling me how we started resending new items, instead of coupons for damaged products. It just so happened that our system calculated damage complaints based on resent items, not coupons. I mentioned this during our meeting; we crunched the numbers and determined that damage complaints were NORMAL! No increase had ever occurred, only the way we calculated them!!
I would have given anything to avoid those six weeks. We invented new procedures, hired consultants and changed all of our packaging! If only we would have talked about this before we initiated the changes! Communication, although not always easy, is always essential.