The party was well planned:
- hotel visited and booked in July 2011
- a separate dining room area agreed by the hotel – a lovely cosy room just big enough for our small but important party
- the bedrooms inspected and all to be refurbished by the time we hold the party (it was 9 months to the party date)
- a hamper ordered from a well-known London store some 6 weeks before it needed to be delivered
Look what happened:
- the hamper had not arrived by 3.30 on the date we ordered it. A call to the store said that it had not been packed yet and would Friday be OK for delivery. No we said, it was delivered later that day by courier
- no separate dining area; we had to point out this was promised to us. Eventually, after approaching the staff we had the room as promised
- one of the rooms (mine) had no mirror in it. Try shaving without a mirror! I was given by the staff a mirror about 3 feet by 2 feet. It is the first time I have had to shave on the floor – the only place to stand the mirror.
So, what has this to do with project management? Many of you will be delivering projects for a range of clients. However, what is their view of the services you provide? Not everyone uses agile where engagement with customers is integral to the whole process. But:
- Are you delivering better, much better than the people and companies we had to deal with? How do you know?
- How much are you engaging with your stakeholders – the right stakeholders about the right issues?
- Are you keeping your promises? Do you deliver on time?
- What levels of reporting are you using and does this include your customers?
- How do you respond to changes from customers? They will happen and you need an agreed process to manage them.
We all supply a service to our customers. We had some poor service but a great time. But, we had to complain to the well known London store (the letter went off on Monday) and the hotel. The event could have been spoiled by frankly very poor customer service but we did not allow this to happen. You do not always have that luxury!
As for poor customer care – take a look at John Cleese in his classic Fawlty Towers. He has some ‘interesting’ approaches to customer care which I guess no project manager would want to copy?