Restaurant Customer Service parallels to BSM

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Recently I watched the TV program with Michel Roux (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00xjzml/Michel_Rouxs_Service_Episode_1/) where he takes a dozen people, mostly without any job or experience at all, and over a course of several weeks will transform them (he hopes)into waiters, maitre D's, sommeliers etc  for his Michelin star restaurants. Well last night was the first episode and it was amusing and cringe worthy at the same time. Some of them had never opened a bottle of wine with a cork and had to be taught. When they came at the end of the 1st programme they were made responsible for the "front of house" within a ZiZZi restaurant here in the UK's docklands. It was fascinating.

Customer service, in fact "customer-oriented service management" (BSM?), was so un-natural to them, that the inevitable happened. They worked in silo's, they focused on their tasks and not on the customer, SLA's were not understood and ignored if they were, some stuck to process regardless of the bad impact on the customer (business). For example they were told not to take the food order until the drinks had arrived (they must take the drinks order first and process it). So when the bar was really busy and could not provide the drinks for over 20-25mins, the customer had to complain that not only did they have no drinks, not no-one came to take their order, and worse, when the customer asked them to take the order, they were informed by the waiter that they cannot until your drinks have arrived!!!!! Unbelievable, but it does show that sticking to the "letter of the law" on the process and not being flexible can adversely impact your customers (businesses).

The correlation to ITSM and BSM was all too apparent to me. The "greeter" would be the service desk, the interface between the waiting staff and the customers. They would greet the customer, take some details (how many in the party etc) and place them in the appropriate area of the restaurant and allocate to the appropriate waiter (even introducing the waiter to them). All this allocation was based on demand management, capacity management, priority (had they booked, or just a "walk-in").

The waiter was the support staff, managed and controlled by the Maitre 'd (service manager) who is responsible for the entire front of office experience and the customer (business) service. The sommelier being a specialist support person interacting and delivering a solution appropriate to the meal and the customers taste, but the waiter is still the "single point of contact" for all the interactions with the table and the customer. 

It will be interesting to see how they develop their (business-oriented) service management stills.

Today, I was visiting a London financial services organisation who are seeking to implement an organisation cultural change for IT to be less technology focused and move to a customer (business) centric focus. The examples they gave were so mirrored by the experiences shown on the TV programme and prove that Service Management fits across all markets and perhaps we need to drop the IT prefix and simply focus on the customers. Often the best way, I've found, is to imagine you are the customer and how would you like to be served or be treated in the circumstances you are in right now!

Looking forward to seeing how Michael Roux and his students progress.

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1 Comment

Intresting article, have a great day!


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This page contains a single entry by Ken Turbitt published on February 5, 2011 5:42 PM.

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