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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Good Customer Service is a Product of Teamwork

It's one of those high end resorts in Southern Tagalog Region where I facilitated a teambuilding workshop for a group project managers. Normally I would prefer real team building venues where the resort staffs are trained, skilled and experienced in handling numerous team building workshops like Hotel La Corona in Pagsanjan, Lake Caliraya Resort,Forest Club, MMLDC or Eugenio Lopez Center(I don't understand why I can't find their website). This time however, I had to go with my client's choice. The size of the place is enormous. I mean the whole property but they did not allocate an ideal place for team building so I had to make do with whatever is available. I don't really complain about these things. I always make it a point to adjust to the situation.

The front line people are friendly. I told them about my requirements for the activities and the person handling the account promised that those requirements will be delivered. What I needed was an open space for my outdoor activities. The front line person I was talking to showed me the place where I can hold it. My schedule was divided into two. Indoor activities on the first day and outdoor stuffs on the second day. Since the outdoor location is far from the indoor function room, and as I said, the venue is huge, the account person suggested that we have our breakfast in a nearby pavilion and then asked me what time I needed to be picked up from the lodge which is a good distance from the outdoor venue. The small inconveniences of the venue was made bearable by the friendly front line person who seemed to be on top of everything. We agreed that I will be picked up from the lodge at 6:30 a.m. have the participants picked up at 7:00 am for breakfast so we can start the event at 8:00 a.m.

I woke up at 5:30 to make sure that I'm ready when the resort van arrives. I don't want to waste time because I didn't have an assistant at the time. 6:30 came, no resort service arrived. I called the front desk to remind them I'm supposed to be picked up at 6:30. The person I talked to at the other end of the line was clueless. She said she will check if my request was logged and then found that it was so she said, the service will be there in 10 to 15 minutes. The service arrived at almost 6:45. 15 minutes delay, I told myself, not a big deal, no reason to be worked up. The Driver brought me to the new venue and found it closed.t was not prepped for our activity. The guard asked me what my business was. I told him I'm facilitating a team building event there. He was surprised. He said there was no advice of a team building activity being held there on that day. Another staff came in at around 7:30 to open the pavillion. She was also surprised by the news. I asked her to call whoever is in charge and ask about my concern. She found out that we are supposed to have breakfast there at 7:00 a.m. and at 7:45 they were still preparing the food and we had our breakfast at about 8:30ish. To make the long story short. I started late and ended the session late.

It happens a lot these days. When I need service, a front liner will face me with all the friendliness and genuine concern for my needs that she can muster but end up falling short of expectations come delivery time. Is it because the front liner resorted to "fakery?" I don't think so. I think a company fails to satisfy because the front liner is not getting the necessary support to deliver on the promise. They fail to satisfy because the internal communication line is too messed up to get the client's message across functions responsible for delivery and back. I also think that a company fails to deliver because the leaders don't know how to build a customer centric system or make an already existing one work.

I offer two courses in customer service. One is Service Leadership and the other one is Service excellence for Front liners. On several occasions, organizational leaders beg off from service leadership training because they are either too busy for it or believe that it's not the main focus of their managers and supervisors, hence it is not the right investment for them. I beg to differ. I believe that the leaders are responsible for building teamwork that will make their customer service system work. Without investing in developing the right mindset and sense of responsibility for customer service among leaders of the organization, there can't be teamwork that will facilitate the needed quality of service delivery.

Teamwork is needed in customer service and leaders should facilitate it.

1 comment:

  1. You made a point and I certainly agree with you on that matter.

    Most of the time 'head honchos' have this idea of how things should go but they wanted things to go 'instant'.

    Lets take that customer service orientation/training for example. If you really want your employees to be that 'customer oriented' then they should walk the walk and talk the talk. It has to start from within, ideally from them who should 'model' the culture down to their employees.

    I mean, you cannot get all the learning in a 'squeezed' training. Talk about the learning curve of the participants.

    (Coming from a Trainer's perspective as well...)
    That's why it is very important that they (bosses) realize how much ROI will the training bring back to the organization. Only then they will really invest much money and time to participate on these training sessions.

    On the other hand, I can relate to the fact that no matter how you prepared things to happen smoothly, Murphy's law happens...we just really have the confidence to make the most of what we have and adjust to the situation.

    Have a great day!


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