Excuse Me, Can I See the Manager?

The best place to start thinking about process is at the end; in this case, where a customer or guest didn’t have a great time/meal/service/whatever.

The customer/guest usually takes it out on the person who was most involved in the transaction – a clerk or waiter or flight attendant – a front-line person.

But is it really their fault?

Seth Godin wrote a great post entitled “Who’s responsible for service design?” which provides an excellent starting point for a better understanding of the “process” that must go into your Guest Services Team. Here are a few highlights, but be sure to read the entire post:

Too often, we blame bad service on the people who actually deliver the service. Sometimes (often) it’s not their fault. Sadly, the complaints rarely make it as far as the overpaid (and possibly overworked) executive who made the bad design decision in the first place. It’s the architecture of service that makes the phone ring and the customers leave.

Three quick tips for anyone who cares about this:

  • Require service designers to sign their work
  • Run a customer service audit. Walk through the building or the event or the phone tree with all the designers in the room and call out what’s not right.
  • Make it easy for complaints (and compliments) about each decision to reach the designer (and her boss).

That’s powerful.

  • What are the processes behind the scenes that make your Guest Services work?
  • What are the processes you have in place when something unexpected pops up?
  • What are the processes you have in place when something needs to be changed?
  • How do you even know that something needs to be changed?

A closing quote from Seth Godin:

In my experience, most of the problems are caused by ignorance and isolation, not incompetence or a lack of concern.

Are you ready to be a process engineer for your Guest Services Team?


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