Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Moments of Truth

In 1987, Jan Carlzon, then President of Scandinavian Airlines wrote Moments of Truth, one of my favorite books.  In it one of the statements he makes is that "Coffee stains on the flip tray suggest to the customer that we do not service our engines properly."  I read this book when it came out and this statement has always stuck with me.  While I understood it, I never quite experienced it as strongly until the last weekend.

My wife and were recently in Pittsburgh where we stayed at the Holiday Inn, located on the University of Pittsburgh campus.  It's a nice clean facility with overall friendly service and reasonable rates.  We have stayed there many times and we certainly plan to stay there many more times.

On this recent visit though, we decided to have dinner at the restaurant located inside the hotel.  When the server brought out the salad, they used the tray shown in pictures above.  It had plops of dressing, beacon crumbs, salad droppings, etc. all over the tray.  What an unappetizing site it was.

As I saw this, while logically it may not make sense, I wondered if this is how they serve food out in the open, then how must they handle food in the back, how dirty must the kitchen be, how dirty must the rooms be, and so on.  What started out as just a dirty tray turned into my questioning how they must maintain their entire facility. 

This particular incident really hit home the message of Moments of Truth. That being it isn't the big things but rather little things that lead to big impacts.  If you haven't read the book, it is a very worthwhile reading.  Apply what is presented in the book and watch your business grow.  It certainly worked for me when I was in my own business.  It was in fact one of the big secrets behind the growth we experienced.  I am confident it can have the same impact for you.

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