How do rules and systems differ from customer satisfaction?
Rules and systems are focused on what the company wants. This focus thinks only of the needs and desires of
the company often to the nearly complete disregard for the best interests of the customer. That is why it is to be positioned as the polar opposite of a customer satisfaction corporate attitude. It is very unfortunate but it is too often the rule in companies which loudly proclaim that they are “customer focused.”
How does a company get so far away from a customer-satisfaction model and into a rules-and-systems model?
Let’s look at the United Airlines company.
United Airlines has had its share of bad public relations lately. For the most part, they have brought it on themselves.
- Leggings as unacceptable dress code
- Dragging passenger off the plane
- Forcing mother to give up her 2-year-old’s purchased seat in violation of United’s own rules
“They brought it on themselves,” you say. Yes, the truth is that they did. How did they manage to do this AND do it so thoroughly badly?
It all has to do with their corporate culture.
They continually trumpet that they are focused on “customer service”–customer satisfaction–and oriented to the best customer experience. However, when they react, it reveals a very different focus.
United is a rules and systems-based culture, not a customer satisfaction–based culture, and that is why they imploded!
In their corporate planning and design for response to problems, they are focused on what is best for the company. Clearly, they are focused on a corporate-salvation model. When something untoward happens, they react to save the company and NOT to do what is best for the customer.
Will United Airlines learn better?
It remains to be seen. They certainly did not do anything between these events to suggest they were making any changes. However, we must remember that most large corporations are very similar to supertankers. They take a lot of time and space to turn around. We may have to wait for an event occurring to United a year from now to see if they have managed to improve their model.
My guess is that they will do a lot of talking and putting on a lot of window dressing without really changing their corporate approach to their poor approach. Large corporate structures are very difficult to truly change.
How does this apply to the small business?
The small business can adopt and implement rules that are much simpler, much more customer focused, and much more easily implemented. Get together with your Human Resources people or an HR company and develop your own policy which you continuously implement. This one of the advantages of being a small business. You can be more nimble and responsive.
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Here is to your facility being the dominant hotel business in your marketplace!