Service Design | Avoid the Ripple Effect

Returning from a trip overseas, we were treated to a first-class lesson in Service Design: Don’t make life hard for those delivering your service.

The place: 39,000ft over the Pacific in business class of an international carrier.

The service: Lunch. A choice of stir-fried chicken or a steak.

Intended experience: Relaxation and delight.

Complication: Turbulence and …

… cooking a steak to perfection is enough of an art in a land-based kitchen — one that has a proper gas burner say and doesn’t happen to be bumping around when it hits air turbulence. While the idea of a steak is appealing, here’s a case where the chef/meal planner could have made life easier for the stewardesses and stewards. Around us, nearly everyone who ordered steak sent it back because it wasn’t “done enough.” The result, aside from impatient diners, was a back-up of meal service and increasingly harried stewardesses. This made for a decidedly less than prestige-level experience.

What seems like a good idea before it gets off the ground may not work so well in the actual delivery. A lesson worth remembering when designing a service experience. Always consider how the operational elements will impact the experience from start through preparation and delivery. Think what could go wrong and the Ripple Effect of small upstream issues on downstream experience.

Fish anyone?

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