It’s Monday morning, and I’m getting ready for several important meetings in the Los Angeles area. I selected a hotel right near the Orange County John Wayne airport because of its convenience. My morning was planned perfectly, including breakfast, a quick workout, and getting the wrinkles out of my clothes that come from packing in one’s luggage. I waited to do the ironing after showering, just before heading out the door. I know some of you are wondering why I didn’t iron the night before, and that is good advice. Unfortunately, I failed to plan, and was left no choice but to accept the circumstances. Time to Iron I allotted myself only 10 minutes to iron my clothes, and to walk out the door. I did confirm the night before that the room was equipped with an iron and ironing board, so I was not completely irresponsible. I went to the closet to retrieve the ironing equipment, and selected the shirt to iron. When trying to set up the ironing board, I noticed the locking mechanism was not working, which meant the board would go flat, and essentially resting on the floor. I tried several times, thinking that perhaps I was overlooking a piece. I shortly realized that the ironing board itself was malfunctioning, and did the best I could with the board sitting on the floor. Because I was in a hurry, I failed to report it to the hotel management team. However, I did leave the ironing board on the floor, hoping housekeeping would catch on, and replace it that day. Nope! When I returned later that evening, the same broken ironing board was placed in the closet. I called the front desk, and a fully-functioning device was delivered shortly thereafter. A Leadership Issue The role of leadership is to create a culture of top-notch customer service. By setting high standards, everyone on the team, including the front desk and housekeeping personnel, will be vigilant in their day-to-day work. As a consultant, I know that where there is smoke, there is fire. In most cases, these small breakdowns are part of a systemic problem. In other words, the broken ironing board is a sign of enterprise-wide issues, such as poor working conditions, lack of quality control, and even low employee morale. Avoid Taking Chances An excellent leader should take a proactive approach, and consider what else might be broken. Breakdowns do happen, and that is part of running a business. However, it’s important to conduct a quick audit of processes and procedures. By doing so, we can identify a problem before it escalates into a catastrophe. My meetings went well on this Monday, and my clothing was presentable. The workaround of ironing on the floor worked this time, but I should prepare the night before to avoid unforeseen events. When these situations arise, I am reminded of what I can do in my business to improve the work I provide my customers. One strategy is to put oneself in the role of the customer. Another good approach is to ask questions, and keep asking. We want to identify issues and problems before the wrinkles create an embarrassing situation that stains our reputation.
Related Articles -
career development, leadership development, success strategies, customer service, book of knowledge, online learner, online learning,