When process trumps customer experience

I was fortunate enough to stay at a fancy hotel last week with my daughter and her friend. It was a treat a long time in the planning; eagerly anticipated by all.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bit of an “interesting” stay. During the course of our (less than 24 hour stay), we were told “that’s not our policy to do that” at least four times.

Which got me thinking.

There is no doubt that the processes and procedures were well drilled into the staff. And if you’re in a laboratory or a manufacturing environment, where quality control really matters, this would be a most excellent thing. However, in a customer service environment, where customer experience is the name of the game, internal processes and procedures should be behind the scenes. Customers don’t need to know how you run your business.

Relying on “that’s not what we do here” as an explanation is lazy and misses the point that you’re in the customer experience game.

That’s not to say that organisations don’t need processes. Of course they do. Imagine 1000 employees all running off willy nilly doing their own thing. But freedom to operate within a framework is a better way to do things. Giving employees the flexibility and scope to manage within a range of options. That gives employees agency around their actions. It is motivating and results in a better customer experience too.

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