Thursday, 18 August 2011

One is better than two,-a dynamic of customer service

A good quality UK train operator who is currently going through two weeks of planned major disruption to enable them to shortly introduce a substantially improved service has flooded its stations with people to advise would-be passengers of alternative ways of getting to their destinations.

They have done it well and there are plenty of feet on the ground. However, a familiar dynamic of well intended measures which allow most of them operate in pairs or with other staff reveals that other very human dynamic which affects even bodies such as the Police. They talk to each other. Indeed they get so involved in talking to each other that they face inwards and not outwards to the customers. Police walking in pairs must inevitably miss a percentage of what they would notice if alone, transport customer service agents become preoccupied with last nights TV, tonight's match, date or whatever . They don't notice the potentially struggling customer, the one who if not helped a little might miss or hold up the flight. Bigger groups are even worse. Airline cabin crew tend to gather in inward facing gaggles almost totally involved with each other and unaware of the impression they are making on the onlookers. On board that pulling of the curtains as they swarm to the gallies for a chat says "Don't come in here,- you've had your service".

The truth is that the larger the group becomes above the number of one, the less effective each member of it tends to become. Draw that on a cost effectiveness graph and there is only a single conclusion. In most situations one is best. Two is very rarely twice as good and a swarm............

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