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Monday, November 13, 2006

Simple Signal, Important Message

Communication amongst the team is critical to successful delivery of service. A baseball pitcher works out the signs with his catcher. The football team reviews the play in the huddle before they head to the line. There are any number of such examples in the sporting world. How do you handle such signal coordination in the workplace? Maybe via an instant message, or a page, or maybe if the workplace is a restaurant, you use the salt and pepper shakers.
Salt and pepper shakers?
Yes, indeed. It requires coordination and execution but when successfully done, the customer won't notice that detail.
So how does this work?
"Here's a good one, " Emeril told us. "We have both a front waiter and a back waiter serving any particular table. One of our commandments for service is that your cocktail order should be taken within 15 seconds of your being seated. Now, how do we make sure that both waiters know whether the order has been placed? We use the salt and pepper shakers on your table. When you sit down, the two shakers are separated; when one of the waiters takes your drink order, he or she puts them together. That way you won't be bothered by a second waiter asking you about drinks. It's a little thing most people would never notice, but that's what great service is all about--- little things that add up to a big difference."
Emeril is the Emeril Legasse of Food Network fame. This is from Jonathan Tisch's book The Power of We. I am reading it now and when I read this story (page 89) I could not wait to write about it.
This is a simple and cool idea.
How can you use your environment to help deliver better service to your customers?
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Comments on "Simple Signal, Important Message"


Blogger Rosa Say said ... (1:18 PM) : 

Thank you for sharing this Steve. It is a simple but powerful example of collaborative teamwork that gets the thoughts flowing about several different things. Great timing for me too, as I spent an entire day yesterday with three different teams, and the small signals of great teamwork were discussed in all of them. We get stuck at times thinking that we need big ideas, when all we really need is the consistent execution of small ones.


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