Finding the right fit

Finding a Good Fit

Why the right person for the job matters…

In every position, regardless of what product is involved, having the right person in the right position is essential to the success of the company.  In a successful work environment, work processes are carefully designed to ensure an efficient and smooth flow to minimize waste and increase productivity. Even the best processes won’t work if the right people are not in the right position within the company.

One night a group of us went for supper at a popular chain restaurant and experienced what happens when staff isn’t a good fit for their role in the organization. My daughter was competing in a dance competition in this small town of 5,000 people. The three-day annual event brings in several hundred people to the community, occupying hotel rooms, and supporting local businesses. This is an opportunity to boost sales and build a business’s reputation. It also gives management the chance to demonstrate their leadership skills and to develop their staff.

Right person for the job

When we arrived, the restaurant was busy, but our party of seven was seated quickly. We noted a large party occupying several tables, and the rest was filled with dancers proudly displaying their studio clothes. Our very pregnant waitress took our drink order swiftly, and we waited.  And we waited some more.  Finally, she returned with our drinks but wasn’t ready to take our order.  Several minutes later, she returned to take our order.  During the wait, I observed what was happening in the rest of the restaurant.  It was evident that they were horribly understaffed. That occasionally can happen at any restaurant, but the manager needs to control the situation and manage the expectations of the guests.

After finishing our meal, I tried to signal the waitress that we wanted the bill.  Twenty-five minutes passed, so I went to the hostess desk and waited.  Another ten minutes passed when another waitress came by. I asked if I could speak to the manager. I expressed my concerns about the service we received that evening and the effect that type of shift has on staff and customers alike.  The reaction of the manager was shocking.  She accepted no responsibility for our experience or for the stress her staff was under, nor did she apologize.  I wasn’t looking for a discount; I wanted to see what type of leader she was.

Unfortunately, this scenario is commonplace in many businesses. Whether it is out of desperation, obligation, or union rules, it is not uncommon that the wrong person is in the wrong job or position.  Having the right employee in the correct position starts at the interview.  But past that, the employer needs to ensure that staff remains in the right position throughout their time with the company.  Not only does it support personal and professional development, but it reinforces the organization’s commitment to their staff.  This will not go unnoticed by employees.  Through on-going staff development, evaluations of staff and employee satisfaction ratings and knowing the staff and their capabilities, the employer can manage the leadership within their organization.

For the staff level readers, I ask you to consider the last time you felt your employer took an interest in you, either personally or in your job.  I also challenge you to examine your own position and job performance.  Are you the right person for the job?  If you are in a management or owner position, how well do you know your staff?  Do you encourage your staff to develop themselves?

KLM cabin hospitality

Lost and not found: Hospitality at KLM

KLM Hospitality customer experienceTraveling the world, my wife and I often use KLM, especially for specific destinations. Dutch pride, good service, decent food, value for your money and at the same time they often fly us non-stop to where we need to be! Unfortunately, we have seen an interesting and rather disappointing/concerning/ uninspiring development.

KLM, what happened?

I still remember one of my first KLM flights from Accra, Ghana, back to Amsterdam 8 years ago. A warm welcome entering the plane, amazing atmosphere, pleasant team dynamics. When the meals were served, my nose was pleasantly surprised, an amazing meal with cauliflower and meatballs served with love and a smile.

There’s always the moment that most fall asleep, but I’m not really the type that closes an eye on a plane. I was one of the few up, but the flight attendant made sure I was taken care of with pure sincerity. Even though I was young and flew economy class, she made me feel like the king of the skies! And I’m still grateful for that treatment. I secretly hope to have an amazing experience like that again!

I fly KLM more frequently than I used to and found that the service has declined tremendously on so many levels over the past year. The entire customer experience, from the booking process, the automated baggage drop of at Schiphol, to the customer service center and the simple process of changing seats has become so user unfriendly that I have come to dread the process!

In the past on-board service compensated for the lack of service and comfort on the ground.  Staff was friendly, welcoming and demonstrated superb hospitality but lately, things are drastically changing in the sky. Take my last few flights from Amsterdam (Holland) to Calgary (Canada).

The team dynamic is nearly non-existent. The staff acts almost like robots, without common sense and an authentic sense of hospitality making the customer feel like an inconvenience rather than a valued partner. More often staff is dictated by stressed pursers, who are supposed to be the team leaders and set a positive example. Many have even lost their smiles! The odd individual puts in extra effort to make the customer truly satisfied. It’s those individuals that I applaud and try to give  personal compliments on my trips to encourage their way of working.

Besides a decreased level of service, the famous welcome almonds are no longer served, the face cloth is no longer steamed, the iconic square bottles of water are cut back to only one a flight and the refreshing snack in the form of ice cream or chips is no longer offered.  The served meals are more limited than before, and breakfast has all but disappeared. Oddly enough, the tickets got more expensive!

So much for all the reasons I once became a proud KLM customer and later a frequent flyer. Although I guess for now, we still get a free blanket and headphones.

Long story short, KLM misses out on huge opportunities to exceed the customers’ expectations and actually surprise them by creating an amazing customer experience and engagement.  The general decline of hospitality leads me to believe that staff are unhappy and dissatisfied with their current work environment.  This is another example of how staff satisfaction has a direct impact on the customer experience.