Coexistence of good and fast service

Gallup recently did some research about how faster service doesn’t mean better service quality despite the trend for many companies to lean towards speed and efficiency as points of differentiation. In many cases, I couldn’t agree more. If your employees struggle to get things done properly in five minutes, why encourage them to do them in three? I love this line in particular: “In short, companies must bear in mind that ‘speed of service’ contains two critical elements: speed and service.” 

In response, some are contesting that slowing down service will increase customer happiness, saying, “Spending more time with customers is critical in creating a lasting relationship with them.” Though interesting, I’m not sure I’d agree with this one. Remember the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode where Larry David is given the extensive room orientation? I’m sure we’ve all been there before — “this is the TV, this is the safe, this is the floor, this is the window, etc.”

There are few hotels that get it just right — with natural employees who have the intuition and experience to provide both good and timely service. But if they don’t, can the hotels and their guests have their cake and eat it too? I recently stayed at a very prominent hotel. I called housekeeping and asked for bath salts and was surprised the employee on the other end understood me. Minutes later an employee knocked on my door to tell me, “The bathroom is behind the bathroom door.”