In the Trenches: Preventing Mistakes
When any business grows, it needs to find a way to do so without compromising the integrity of its products and services. Cranky Concierge experienced some problems recently that made me realize our quality could start slipping unless I took immediate action.
In the past couple of weeks, we’ve made a few mistakes in booking and monitoring flights. We were able to resolve the incorrect bookings easily albeit expensively: The company ate the cost of getting our clients back on track. But that short-term financial hit doesn’t account for the potential long-term cost of customers losing faith in our service.
Meanwhile, on the flight-tracking front, we had two instances in which the wrong information was loaded into our trip-management system. We have enough safeguards in place that the errors didn’t impact any customers, but it created extra work for our concierges and shook their faith that the information they have is accurate. And when people are unhappy and doing unnecessary work, it’s a problem for our company.
I realized that we could start to lose business and concierges if I didn’t take steps to address these issues. So, I scheduled an all-hands conference call to figure out the best ways to ensure the mistakes do not happen again. We spent an hour on the phone looking for holes in our current process. In the end, we made some good changes. For example, we altered the way we determine how to contact clients while they’re traveling. And we set up a method for noting that we’ve double-checked an itinerary a couple weeks before each client’s departure to make sure the flights are logged correctly and haven’t changed.
The end result is that we came up with a plan that should help us overcome our weaknesses. As we continue to scale, we’ll need to look at automating some of these solutions. But, for now, I just need to make sure that the quality of our offering remains high. If it starts to slip, I’ll have to put the brakes on our growth until we can catch up.
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.