The Foundation Of Great Service Is Culture

by Jay Deragon on 02/04/2013

service cultuireI get my automobile serviced by a local company (3 miles away) Randy’s Auto Service, and have done so for years. I never make an appointment I just show up when I notice it’s time for an oil change or I sense something is wrong. Everytime I am instantly serviced (30 minutes at most) regardless of how busy they are, and they are always very busy with six service stalls.

My wife’s car recently needed to be serviced. She drives a BMW and it is still under warranty. To keep the warranty BMW forces you to have your automobile serviced by the local dealer. The dealer was so busy that the earliest it could be served was two weeks later. Two weeks later I arrived at the dealer (24 miles away from my home), checked in with the service attendant assigned to me and said I would wait for the car. He said the car would have to be there all day.  I asked why? He said they couldn’t predict when they could get to my car but they would call me when they have an estimate as to how long it would take.   They offered me a loaner to use while the car was being serviced.

Six hours later, after driving 24 miles back home in traffic, the dealer called and said my wife’s car was ready. I drove back (24 miles), picked up the care and drove home (24 miles). So getting my wifes car serviced stole two hours of my time traveling to, home, back to and home again.

When I picked up my wife’s car at the BMW dealer I asked “Could you change the process or terms of the warranty to save the customer time to simply get an oil change?”. The answer was ” We don’t control the terms or process of service, BMW does”.

It’s Not The People Or The Process, It’s The Culture

How often have you had similar experiencs?  One time is too many regardless of the product, service or brand. In all of these frustrating cases it isn’t the people or the process. People know what needs to be done to satisfy customers. Processes aren’t created to serve the company rather the aim is to serve the customer.  Processes created and controlled by management are designed to serve management controls.

A culture of control leaves no room for improvement. While a process may be in control it doesn’t reflect whether it is designed to serve the customers need.  It should be no wonder that organizations whose culture is designed to control people and processes inevitably fail to meet customer expectations. Companies that do not give up control to the front line will fail while trying to enforce a broken process.

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