What is Rework & How Can You Avoid It?
Have you ever felt the pure frustration of being on the other end of an uncompleted or slapdash job? Maybe the gardener missed patches of weeds and the lawns are uneven. Perhaps it’s a botched plumbing job or a surprise visit from rodents after the exterminator’s visit. Whatever it is, as a paying customer of a service, a careless or unfinished job is frustrating. So frustrating, that you’ll probably never use that provider again. It’s not only frustrating for customers, but for businesses and employees too. Rework is costly, stressful, time-consuming and eats up resources like there’s no tomorrow. So, what exactly is rework, what are the main causes of it and most importantly how can you avoid it as a service business? Read on to find out.
What is Rework?
American restaurateur Jimmy John Liautaud once said “If you're going to do a job, do it right. If you're going to throw a birthday party, make it amazing. If you're going to do anything, do it awesome.” In the world of customer experience, rework occurs when the service is completed to a level anything less than awesome.
What rework looks like and the impact it has will vary across industries. In the home services industry, rework occurs when customers are unhappy with the final outcome, and frontline employees must return and redo the job to a standard that the customer is satisfied with. For example, a re-clean of a house, a redo of the gardens or the re-installment of a home security system.
Rework is costly, time consuming, hungry for resources and can often cause added stress for frontline teams as their workload increases. In the construction industry, rework costs—including labor, materials, equipment and subcontractors—can run from 2% to 20% of a project's total contract amount.
The better a company can avoid rework, the happier their customers, employees and the more profitable they will be.
What Causes Rework?
Rework can occur for various reasons, the most common being:
Inadequate training: Employees aren’t provided with the right training and ongoing feedback to meet the brand's service standards.
Miscommunication: Miscommunication between the customer and the service provider can cause rework. For instance, if the customer fails to provide accurate instructions on the service they require, or the service provider misunderstands the customer’s instructions.
Lack of attention to detail: Frontline teams miss the little things that customers look for in their service. This can occur due to a lack of training, lack of time, feedback or poor workmanship.
Insufficient equipment and tools: While a great worker never blames their tools, sometimes, they should. When you don’t provide an employee with the equipment and tools they need to do their job well, you can’t expect them to deliver 5-star experiences every time.
How to Prevent Rework?
The golden answer to avoiding rework is to connect frontline workers with actionable, real-time customer feedback. Have you ever wished you had a crystal ball to tell you what's coming next? Well, real-time customer feedback is the next best thing. By giving your employees access to real-time feedback, they can make adjustments on the fly and avoid the pitfalls of rework. For example, if a customer reports that a cleaning technician missed a spot on the carpet, the technician can receive a notification in real-time and address the issue immediately. This helps the employee learn on the go, reduce the likelihood of rework and improve customer satisfaction. Plus, by fixing up mistakes as they happen, there’s less of a chance for negative word of mouth to spread or for 1-star online reviews to be dropped.
Here is how real-time feedback can help decrease rework:
- Discover trends and patterns: With real-time feedback, employees can quickly discover what customers love the most about their service (to repeat it) and what they continuously seem to slip up on (to fix it).
- Learn from past mistakes: When employees can see the mistakes they made and take action to fix it, they’re less likely to make the same mistake again.
- Learn from praise: We all need a little validation from time to time. Real-time feedback offers the perfect opportunity to praise employees when they get things right. When your employees feel appreciated, they're more likely to take pride in their work and get it right the first time. Also, when an employee gets praised for a behavior, they are more likely to repeat it again!
- Receive coaching and support: Real-time feedback can uncover strengths and weaknesses in your team’s behavior which can be the start of necessary coaching conversations with managers.
- Increase communication: Miscommunication, whether it's between the client and the employee or the employee and management, can be one of the greatest causes of rework. A real-time feedback tool opens up the conversation and improves communication lines between managers, employees and customers.
The Case of Aptive Environmental
Aptive Environmental is the fastest growing pest control company in the world, on a mission to disrupt their industry with superior customer experience. Founded in 2015, Aptive entered the market with one key objective; to provide a stellar service that makes homes everywhere safer, more secure, and free of pests and problems.
Before using a real-time feedback tool, Aptive struggled with inconsistent service delivery. Members of their frontline team had different ideas of what exceptional customer service looked like, and customers weren’t always feeling the Aptive difference. These inconsistencies caused a measurable impact on the bottom line from rework and loss of referrals.
After connecting their exterminators with real-time, actionable feedback that was delivered straight to their mobile devices, Aptive was able to increase their NPS score and significantly reduce rework.
“We have already seen a dramatic rise in our lowest performers toward our best performers leading to a 28 point NPS increase. The rework cost we are saving alone pays for the [feedback] tool. — Dane Dellenbach, Sr Director of Strategy and Innovation.
Catch You Later, Rework!
By understanding the causes of rework and implementing strategies to avoid it, service brands can minimize its impact and deliver exceptional service that keeps customers coming back for more. In short, real-time customer feedback is a game-changer when it comes to preventing rework. By providing frontline employees with immediate insight into customer satisfaction, businesses can nip issues in the bud before they spiral into costly rework scenarios. Real-time feedback also helps employees discover patterns and trends, learn from mistakes and praise, receive coaching and support, and communicate more effectively with both customers and management.
Up Next: No More Rework: How Aptive Delivers Exceptional Service, Everytime.