Customer Service Failure – When process becomes the master

I am currently staying at a very nice hotel in South India and actually having a pleasant stay but I must relate to you my experience when I checked into the hotel, as it is a typical example of customer service management failure.

Examples such as this are not untypical, but it is important to look at the essence of their cause, if we are understand the true nature of what underpins customer service leadership.

I am currently in my third room since arriving!

I arrived at the hotel check in after an early flight arrival and completed all the check- in formalities at reception and was assigned my room. I started to unpack before planning to take a much needed shower and a rest.

Just as I had finished unpacking, I had a call from reception to say that unfortunately a mistake had been made in giving me the room. My room was actually the room next door and not the room that I was in!

After about 5 minutes two reception staff arrived at the room and said that they would like me to move next door and would like to show me the room. It was identical! But they were very polite so I agreed to move as I could see that this was causing them some cause for concern – especially after my suggestion that this was pointless ,the other guest could have the other room ,seemed not to resonate with them!

Anyway, after settling down in the other room, I had a further knock at the door and was greeted by two other more senior staff members, who were obviously very agitated.

They explained that a further mistake had been made and that my room was actually across the other side of the lobby, and that I would have to move again! By this time, I was more that bemused at what was turning out to be quite an entertaining afternoon, so all my belongings were moved again.

The new room was fine – in fact probably better that my last two! I am now wondering what will happen next!

As I said before, this is symptomatic of a situation where process has become the master. It must be recognised that Customer service management is about the balance of three distinct factors:

Process, Empathy and Capability.

It is only when these three factors are in balance, does excellence in customer service emanate. This can be illustrated by the following

If any one of these factors is out of balance with the others or delivered at the expense of one of the others, then customer service will inevitably suffer.

In my hotel experience case above, the balance was biased towards process. The guest actually had to carry out certain tasks to ensure that the customer service process protocol was intact.

The Empathy and Capability factors were not invoked. The guest was inconvenienced in order that the process could be fulfilled. It is the responsibility of the true customer service leader to ensure that this does not happen by monitoring the balance.

I have now had a shower and am just going to bed!…or am I?

For further information on how we can assist in leadership and management issues please visit us

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2 Responses to Customer Service Failure – When process becomes the master

  1. Great post. It is an important decision when it comes to selecting mobile phone service providers. Please take a look at for 02 Customer Service information.

  2. procentus says:

    Another example of failure to deviate from process, but this time with fatal results

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