Tolerating Problems

Sometimes I find myself wondering how to respond to customer complaints. Dealing with the individual customer is easy. We fix their problem, generally by replacing the item.

Dealing with the root cause of the problem is less easy but much more important. If we fail to tackle the underlying cause, then we invite the next customer to experience the same problem and make the same complaint. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the problem will keep occurring until we change something.

Let me illustrate with an example.

We have a recurring problem with our room mist. Where the mist spray either doesn’t spray or stops spraying. It frustrates and annoys our customers. They complain, and we replace their product. This problem has been going on for four or five years, and the root cause is the manual closing machine we use to seal the top of the atomiser spray. It doesn’t work consistently.

The solution is for us to buy a closing machine powered by compressed air. Unfortunately, these machines are expensive, and so we have tolerated the cost of replacing the faulty bottles for customers.

I recently started keeping track of every customer complaint to understand how much they cost us. You know what! We could have bought one of these “expensive” machines in less than three months with the money we have been spending on replacing faulty room mists when I factored in all the cost of replacing the item for the customer including shipping costs, staff time and so on.

It was a harsh reminder of the lesson, “What we tolerate will not change”

As soon as I stopped “tolerating” the unnecessary cost of replacing faulty room mist bottles. I became aware that I must buy the new closing machine. So, we have one on order. Sadly, it will take 6 weeks to arrive, but all being well you will see the improvement by early April.

Are you tolerating things in your life that you know need to be different? Nothing is going to change until you stop accepting the current situation.

It won’t be easy. Change often involves pain and cost. But making changes that you know are right is empowering. You will see and feel the benefit immediately. Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

Hi, I'm Luke Bream, the author of this blog, and one of the co-founders of Valentte. Thanks for taking the time to read about our journey.

We are small business based in Nantwich on an old dairy farm. We make affordable, luxurious home fragrance and natural skincare. It smells amazing, works like a treat and comes beautifully wrapped.

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6 thoughts on “Tolerating Problems”

  1. Interesting article Luke which has given me food for thought. I am tolerating issues at work which are causing me stress. I tolerate it because it is a job I enjoy and but I also know that if I found a similar job in another organisation I would be less stressed. So why don’t I leave? Simple answer, I have a fear of change. I am a Personal Secretary and absolutely love what I do. I have been working for the same organisation for over 30 years, feel I have loyalty for my employers and have gained a huge amount of respect. And I suppose I am in my comfort zone. But is my loyalty to my employer enough to make me stay over feeling stressed and irritated. Should my fear of change really prevent me from applying for a new job. Should I be thinking of stepping out of my comfort zone. Although I absolutely love what I do it is no longer making me happy anymore and sometimes I dread going to work if that makes sense. I think we tolerate things because it is easier to do so. But when in your case it starts costing you more money and in my case costing me my health, then things need to change. I just need to get over my fear of change and step out of the comfort zone for a while.

    • Hi Sally

      Thank you for sharing your story. Stress is a real killer. It silently eats away at us, damaging our health and our sanity.

      30 years is a long time within one organisation. It gives you stability, security and respect that you may not find in a new company. You may also move and find exactly the same issues within the new organisation.

      Perhaps its worth using the standing you have within your current organisation to make a change from within. There may be other solutions to removing the stressful situation beyond leaving the company. Can you team up with others at your company who share the same stressful situation and generate a plan to do something about it together? Sharing the problem and the solution can work well and give you greater strength to do something about it.

      In most organisations, senior managers want their companies to be happy, productive places to work. Often they don’t realise that processes or people are causes high-stress levels. Once they realise they will usually do something about it. Failing that can you move within the organisation, rather than leaving it?

      In my life, stressful situations usually manifest themselves when I feel something is out of my control. Maybe if you can take control of fixing the underlying cause of the stress then you can reduce/eliminate it. This can often be achieved through planning and preperation and making hard decisions early rather than later. Stressful situations are often a symptom caused by a different underlying problem within an organisation. It is like a domino effect.

      My thoughts are with you.

      Luke x

  2. Luke, I am loving your blog articles! Exceptionally pertinent and easily adaptable to one’s own circumstances, beliefs, thoughts and, above all, values. I am a long term customer. although not a customer buying huge volumes; however, I do have a strong sense that with Valentte, you really do appreciate all of your customers. May I make one suggestion and please don’t think that I have appointed myself your ‘grammar guru’!

    When you use the verb ‘grab’ for one of your offers, it really does not resonate! Partly because it is what virtually all American offers use! Nothing against Americans, needless to say, but they have made many changes to the English language that do not always reverberate with us Brits! Perhaps ‘snap up…now’ or ‘pick up…now,’ might be more in keeping with your image?

    Just a thought, ignore if you wish! But please keep up the good work, thank you!

    • Hi Jennifer

      Thank you for your very kind words regarding the blog.

      I appreciate your advice and feedback regarding using “grab” in our marketing and agree with you. I’m not a big fan of Americanism creeping into our language and spelling either! I will make some changes in our wording over the coming weeks.

      Thanks as always for shopping with us and for taking the time and trouble to provide feedback. The team and I appreciate it. Best Regards

      Luke x

  3. Hi Luke,
    Thank you for sharing your uplifting thoughts with us.
    I have learnt over time to find joy in the simple things in life.
    For instance, whilst clearing the veggie plot in early February, I found some potato plants growing happily behind the compost bin. I dug them up and found a large tray full of amazing potatoes. I was filled with joy! Loving nature is so rewarding.

    • HI Rosie
      I love the picture you have painted of those hardy potato plants hidden away bearing their fruit. Unnoticed and unloved but coming through for you. Thank you for sharing your story.

      I have very fond memories of my grandfather and his never-ending desire to grow vegetables. He could have fed the entire street.

      With each successive bumper crop, his solution to this oversupply was not to plant less but to buy another freezer, and another until his whole conservatory was full of them.

      Each one full to the brim with fabulous vegetables. He sadly died at 93 a few years ago. I miss him and smile as I think about him.

      Thanks for being a part of our community.
      Luke x


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