Saturday, December 11, 2010

Customer Reality

Well you just can't escape from reality TV – two favourites in this household are Tabetha's Salon Takeover and anything with Gordon Ramsay.

And yes there is a point coming up here!

All these shows at their heart are worth catching. Even for someone like me, who has never cut anyone's hair before.

Why? Because they're about managing people, and managing your customer's expectations.

The best one to single out really is Mr Ramsay. When I first watched his show I was dismayed – he's usually shouting obscenities to his staff, threatening them. It's ugly.

Then I watched again.

Gordon in shows such as Hell's Kitchen is often running a restaurant which his name goes on. And the thing that pushes his angry buttons usually involves poor food about to leave for a customer.

Why is that? Every plate that leaves his kitchen is basically carrying his reputation. If it arrives late, it reflects on him.  If it's wrong or undercooked, it reflects on him. And when it gets sent back it makes his service look poor.

But even worse is if people receive substandard service, and they say nothing. They just pay up and leave. That's the worst scenario – because that kind of customer never comes back, and what's more they tell their friends how poor the service was, and they stay away. A bad service can destroy a reputation that's been years in the making.

The same's true of hairdressing or IT – any service industry. You may have a grand old history, but you're only as good as today's service.

That's why you check what you're sending out before it gets to the customer. Rigorously.

Of course Gordon Ramsays man-management skills could do with a lot of work, especially if he ever moves into IT. But his dedication to quality – that's spot on.

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