Alignment – A case study (Actually 2 cases)
How could being in alignment with your team ever be bad? Let me share 2 case studies….
We recently visited Vancouver, BC. From the moment we arrived at our hotel, we felt a sense of welcoming. Our room wasn’t ready yet, but the desk clerk informed us that he had a nice upgrade for us and would give us a call when our room was ready. When we walked into our huge suite (I originally booked a standard harbor view room) it looked like the front of a cruise ship with panoramic windows overlooking the beautiful harbor, without the rocking or cheesy draperies.
At dinner that night, as we were walked to our table, 2 separate people welcomed us to Vancouver. We experienced this type of hospitality literally everywhere we went. You could see everyone in the hotel was in alignment. I felt like I knew their mission—tourism is our lifeblood, so treat the tourists like gold so they keep coming back and spending money here. Everyone was in alignment, good alignment.
Just bought a new hot tub! They told us we should have it in about 4 weeks. 6 weeks later, after numerous calls they called to schedule delivery. We told them we would be home on that Friday anytime EXCEPT between 12:00-1:30. They called around 11:30 and said they would be there at 12:30. Really? We reiterated that that was precisely when we would NOT be there. They arrived at 11:59. I am not kidding. We were now late for an appointment.
They were just the delivery company so they could not even help us with starting up the tub. Now we had to make another appointment with the hot tub company for an in-service and startup. We called the company. “Sure, we’ll be there in 2 weeks.” Are you kidding? We’re 2 months out from our original order date now! No matter who we spoke to at the company, it was the same story….we’re very busy….this is our busiest time of the year…why didn’t you call sooner?… Just fill it up and follow the instructions on the startup kit….. Of course there were no instructions or manual provided with the tub!
That’s what we eventually did since we didn’t want to wait 2 more weeks to use the hot tub. We received error messages upon starting the tub that they could not explain on the phone and therefore waited two weeks for their technician to come out.
Since we are in a service business ourselves we decided we should call the owner of the company and share the experience we were having with their store. Surely he would want to know. It took about 2 minutes to understand why their staff behaved the way they did. They were in perfect alignment with the owner. He literally had an argument with my husband, a very calm guy I might add, and said everything his staff told us was correct. Several minutes later his wife called…ah, the voice of reason. Not really. She started out asking what the problem was, but as soon as we told her the tub was not functioning and we really didn’t want to wait 2 more weeks to use the tub that was already several weeks late, she gave the party line, “Well, I don’t know what you want me to tell you. We’re very busy.” It seems everyone was in alignment after all.
Alignment is a powerful thing. When everyone is rowing in the same direction, the mission and vision of the company is more likely to be achieved. Alignment is key to the success of an organization. Business owners and managers have to do more than talk the talk. They have to walk the walk. People emulate what they see. Are you modeling the customer service philosophy you want your team to have?
We have placed a Company Alignment Assessment on our website training page (http://tecresourcecenter.com/tec-training )that will help determine where your company stands in the alignment process. Feel free to download a copy today. Getting your team aligned with your vision and values will empower your employees, energize the entire company, and put a smile on the faces of your customers.