Consider the common shortcomings we endured on a recent trip to New York – it was 11a.m. when we arrived, too early to check-in to our Marriott hotel, but we wanted to drop our bags and pre-check- in to confirm our reserved room type (two rooms, each capable of accommodating two adults and one child) – with mission accomplished, we headed out to enjoy the day – we also received a mid-afternoon phone call stating that our rooms were ready
Great news
Only that wasn’t to be – the rooms we had reserved were not available – instead, we had been allocated two rooms, each with one king-size bed and neither with sufficient space for roll-away beds
“We’re fully booked tonight and can’t change your rooms,” said a rushed employee – minutes later, this escalated to the manager who started our conversation by saying that I should have informed them of our requirements in advance!
Poor customer service aside, the display of incompetence was astounding – not only had I stated our requirements in the reservation, I had also sent a follow-up note directly to the hotel and reiterated it face-to-face that very morning
Some might call this a failure of processes, but to me it was a classic case of poor human productivity
What shouldn’t have even been a problem in the first place took three employees two long hours to resolve – had they been productive, they wouldn’t have wasted their time, or ours – this is a good example of what UK consultancy Vanguard Consultants call Failure Demand
And the blunders didn’t end there
The next morning, I woke early and decided to get some work done before my wife and kids surfaced – slipping out of the hotel, I made my way to Starbucks but, when I arrived, their doors were firmly shut – they should have opened at 6 a.m., and I was right on time, so I joined other early risers braving the cold for a pre-dawn caffeine shot, and waited
Soon, a line had formed and the owner of the neighbouring mini-mart strolled over and asked: “What time do they open?” feigning concern – “Ten minutes ago,” I replied sarcastically – “Well, I have coffee inside,” he announced, pointing to his store – with that, the Starbucks line gratefully filed into his minimart
Clever guy
Was Starbucks’ failure to open at 6 a.m. a process breakdown? – No
Like the Marriott hotel booking debacle, the mistake was down to the employees, whom I had watched through the window as they prepared for opening, apparently oblivious – or indifferent – to the time