In the Trenches: Learning From My Team
Being the owner of a business, I'm constantly thinking about how to improve the way we do things. That often leads to me training the team to make things go the way I have them envisioned in my head. Sometimes, however, the opposite happens and I end up being the student. I love when that happens... within reason.
Business is good, and I'm extremely busy these days, but I always feel this weight over my head. I always feel responsible for coming up with new ideas and passing them along to everyone in the business. It sounds funny, but it honestly feels like quite a burden when I'm barely able to keep my head above water just helping to service our clients. I'm working on hiring someone to relieve some of the pressure, but until that happens, I'm just swamped.
For that reason, I'm doubly appreciative when I see people on the team step up and help improve things on their own. Sometimes, they do things that are better than what I would come up with, and that's the best. It makes me feel good knowing that I'm not the only one taking initiative to improve the client experience. There's nothing quite like that "team" feeling.
It could be as simple as a small process change idea. One of our concierges started sending emails this week with baggage claim information upon arrival after each part of the trip. We aren't currently doing that because baggage claim information isn't always readily available and people don't always have baggage, but those clients seem to like the additional email connection upon arrival, even if they don't have bags. This one small change might be worth rolling out company-wide.
Of course, there's a fine line here. If too many people take too many liberties, we could end up with sloppy and inconsistent service. But while there needs to be a fair bit of consistency, I'd hate to prevent a good idea from bubbling to the surface. Like I said, there's nothing better than having a good idea come up from someone else on the team.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.