Tend to the Details

There’s an old saying that goes: The Devil is in the Details.

A story that illustrates this point is one told to me by the COO of a hotel chain, “Unbelievable” was his response to a recent “catch” on his part.

In his hotel restaurants, the F&B Directors reported that only 60% of the customers ordered a beverage, which is well below industry norms. To improve they established specific objectives for the servers and communicated them widely.  Then they provided rounds of training on suggestive selling and even added a shift-by-shift incentive to grow drink sales. The change was incremental.

The detail overlooked was his realization that, “We left some people behind in the process, the bussers”. The bussers were touching the customer before the server and automatically providing water without recommending anything else.  The “catch”—they hadn’t adequately reviewed the entire service process. The bussers touch on beverage sales had an unforeseen negative impact on one of their largest profit opportunities in the restaurant.

Beverage sales are a simple and efficient way to increase profitability—costs are low and margin is high. The small detail left out in this hotel restaurant’s beverage service had a large impact on their overall performance.  Unbelievable.

This story illustrates that managers must tend to all the related tasks performed in business processes to reach the performance outcomes desired.

Why is it important to have rigor in designing our business processes?

In today’s high performance environment, companies and managers compete on their ability to apply exceptional operational processes in order to differentiate themselves.  The workflow must be managed closely to deliver service seamlessly and enhance the customer experience.

Every detail counts in building customer loyalty and share of wallet.

Our experience at P3 Solutions tells us that process change works best when it is collaborative, interactive and integrated. This means everyone who will be affected is considered, given updates, asked their opinion, and given the facts to bring the process to life.  By implementing process change in this cohesive manner, you create a detail safety net often using solutions such as checklists.

In his book, The Little Black Book of Project Management, Michael Thomsett includes this resourceful checklist when embarking on a project or process change:

  1. What is the purpose
  2. What will the outcome look like
  3. What problems will be encountered and solved
  4. What is the leader’s responsibility
  5. What is the budget
  6. What is the deadline

The simple conclusion is: Tend to the Details.

Debra Koenig, President, Power of 3 Solutions

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