World-Class, Lean Performance in the SMEs - Small and Medium Enterprises - by Carlo Scodanibbio, Industrial & Business Consultant - Lean Management Consultant

Carlo Scodanibbio
Industrial & Business Consultant
Lean Management Consultant


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World-Class Performance Tutorials - Tutorial 02
world-class and third-class performance in the service industry
by Carlo Scodanibbio

Analysis. Let's compare the 2 cases:

  • Management approach. In the first case, the General Manager feels it's her duty to intervene directly against a customer complaint. In the second case not, even after a customer invitation to a meeting.
  • Management approach. In the first case the General Manager listens to the story in a quiet area of the lounge. In the second case the issue is dealt with in the front desk area, and in the presence of employees (excellent education) and of other passing-by guests.
  • Management approach. In the first case there is an intention to understand a message and to listen to the reasons that have originated the complaint with genuine interest. In the second case the attitude is (or seems to be) annoyed and bothered: all argumentations brought up are in support of a label already attached to the customer (a fussy customer, who dares criticising local habits, who has sleeping problems, who has a low or anyhow abnormal levels of tolerance of noise..... a typical trouble-maker)
    Moreover, some argument is deviating and misleading, like that of the traffic noise: there is a huge difference between noise produced by the surrounding environment (uncontrollable by management) and that produced within the establishment (controllable by management).
  • Management approach. In the first case a customer complaint is seen as an opportunity to improve for the future. In the second case the customer complaint is seen as a direct cause of the failure of a party which ended up too early, with possible negative repercussions on future, similar type of business....
  • Employee approach. In the first case all involved employees have simply passed the problem to management. In the second case an employee has gone into the trouble of trying to find a solution there and then to the problem.

Some final considerations on this case:

  • One customer complaint should be always regarded as significant as 3 or 100 customers' complaints. Today's target is 0 defects. Waiting for complaints to pile up before some action is taken is a sure recipe for disaster.
  • A complaint should always receive undivided attention at the right level: if high management levels are directly or indirectly involved high management levels should intervene to face it.
  • Understanding poor performance at employee level, and empowering employees to rectify undesired situations of their own initiative are very important features of a world-class status, but not sufficient alone.
  • Matching a good employee performance with an as good management performance is an even more important feature of a world-class enterprise.
  • Good performance should always be rewarded there and then, even if good performance should be the norm. Unfortunately good performance is still rare in this world. When it happens to materialise, some form of reward should always be attached to it. Generally, a good word at the right time can do wonders (and generate sparks of joy.....).

Which leads to the conclusion: performance is not a matter of geography, of techniques, of skin colour or race - performance is a cultural issue.

Read the case again - click here

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