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What's The Weakest Link In Your Service Delivery?

By Ken and Lee Estridge

"There Must Be Some Mistake..."

Recently we stayed at a beautiful 5 star hotel that prides itself on its customer service. The staff members were warm and friendly, the food was delicious, and our room overlooked the ocean. In many ways it was a perfect experience, except that a perfect storm had ensued upon our arrival: a computer glitch that jumbled our reservation combined with well-meaning staff that weren't empowered to solve the problem. This storm lasted quite a long time, and unfortunately, by the time the staff had kind of sorted us out and we got to our room, the sun had set and we were upset that we had missed our afternoon on the beach. When it came time to check out one week later, the staff hadn't straightened out our reservation and they still couldn't fix the problem themselves. While we anxiously waited for a manager to arrive, our relaxing time at the beach was quickly eclipsed by thoughts of missing our flight because we couldn't get anyone to correct "the system error." What should have been a perfect vacation was marred!

"Can You Fix This?"

Sadly, when we think about our vacation week, all the good service is overshadowed by the frustrating check in and check out process. While the computer system glitch was the sticking point, the deeper and in some ways more serious problem was that the staff were not equipped or empowered to help us. At one point there were three people at the front desk trying to sort things out and no one had the authority to make a decision!

Your Service is Only as Good as Your Weakest Link

Whether you're a CEO of a company or a staff member, service is always part of the equation. Sometimes one negative experience or encounter can offset a plethora of positive experiences. When people feel good about a company or service, they tend to tell a few friends, but when people feel badly, they tell everyone about their experience. One approach to dealing with your weakest link is to own it and work on it. Consider asking yourself these questions about your service:

  1. What are the weakest links in your service delivery?
  2. Are you willing to put the resources and intellectual capital into figuring out how to strengthen the weak links?
  3. Are you willing to empower staff with the authority to solve problems in your organization?

As the sun sets on our story, we hope that you start off the new year on a positive note with all of your clients, friends, and family, and that you're able to organize yourself and your team to effectively deal with the next challenging situation.

Warm Regards,
Ken and Lee Estridge