Monday, July 18, 2011

Masterchef: a blood sport?

If you read the Sydney Morning Herald today you may have noticed an opinion piece that implied the popular TV reality show, Masterchef, is a blood sport.

I happened to watch it last night - yes, I know that this may not have been the wisest thing to do - but I was impressed with the reaction of the contestants when one person, Elly, I think, had problems with her dish. The contestants were cooking for the Dalai Lama and Elly had all sorts of disasters resulting in the possibility of her not presenting a course to the judges. The other contestants got behind her and helped her. The approach was summed up by one of Elly's competition who said something along the lines of "cooking for the Dalai Lama is bigger than the competition between us".

There's a message here that relates to the subject I have been dealing with recently - customer service.

Our western business model seems to be predicated on the individual. I know we talk "teams" and "cooperation" and the like, but we tend to reward individuals. Just like in Masterchef, in most organisations there will only be one winner. The result is that, when the chips are down, competition comes to the fore and it is "what's in it for me" that takes precedence in what I do and who I support. In this situation the customer can run a very poor second to me winning a bonus or a promotion or some other reward.

Great customer service comes when everyone realises that serving the customer and meeting her or his needs must be preeminent. This is quite easy when your customer is the Dalai Lama - but every customer deserves the same level of respect and service.

Great customer service demands the right sort of leadership. What sort of leadership is reflected in the service you and your organisation provides?

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