iSixSigma

Managing the unmanageable

By Chin

As I was getting into the cab outside Sheraton Saigon, the concierge guy handed me a small squarepiece of paper. “What’s this for?”, I asked, without really looking at what was handed to me.

“In case you havetrouble with the driver sir.”, the concierge guy answered. It was a small feedback form allowing hotel guests to rate their cab drivers. Don’t think I would have the need for it though, I thought. The airport ride’s just a 7km-distance, 45-60 minutes. I took the form anyway. It was so tiny one wouldn’t call it a form.

Well, I did hit a little cab trouble. Upon reaching the Tan Son Nhat International Airport the driver insisted that I pay for a’parking ticket’ which I would not; translating into some unpleasantaries on his part. I finally got out of the cab, very upset, after paying the correct fare. The form came a little handyin facilitatingmy complain to the hotel as the concierge guy had written the cab ID on it earlier.

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A few weeks later I did have the opportunity to ask the Director of Rooms how on earth the hotel manages a process which are out of the hotel’s scope of processes. As I found out bad cab rides are one of the major reasons why people don’t return to Vietnam. No guessing whether this impacts on hotel guest experience in the check-out processor not. Well Andy relatedto me that his hotel works closely with the Tourism Board andcabcompany ensuring feedback is directed back to the cab company and to that particular cab driver. Apparently the hotel takes a serious stance against errant cab drivers trying to make a fast buck.

On my next visit I don’t think I’ll ever run into the same guy again in cab 256.

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Chin

Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology

Comments 3

  1. michael cardus

    Great post.
    You illustrated the new power that organizations can have in actual collaboration of leadership to make the experience pleasent for everyone.
    This innovative solution seems simple on reflection although must have taken some tiime to establish.
    Many organization would be quick to say "the cab ride is not our responsibility" and leave it at that.

    This place actually recognized the problem and innovated a solutiontion.
    Think how else can we use this idea?
    Vendors?
    Truck drivers?

    Great post

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  2. Vincent Chin

    Thanks Michael for your comment.

    The story has not ended yet, as I have found out- and the root cause well, is almost bizarre. Further updates later.

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  3. Manish

    Indeed an eye-opener!

    …till one year ago I was working with one of the prime Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel in India and this hotel had quite a smart way to handle the cabs.

    A collective idea of involving the best practices, it worked around the concept of a "Baton". This Baton was nothing but an empty decorative piece of a hollow cylinder that had frills on its either side and looked something like the image below:

    Just after the guest was seated in the car, the Lobby Manager’s job was to "Hand-Over" this Baton to the cab driver, entrusting him as the "I ge" of the safety and comfort of the guest. After all, the Baton was a symbol of responsibility of good faith and duty! This small act seemed to give ownership to the driver and not only made him feel important for his passenger, but also gave him a sense of pride!

    We had absolutely minimal cab-related-issues and almost always had the highest tick in the online Guest Feedback forms that were filled in by the guests themselves a week or so after they had checked out from the hotel.

    Nevertheless, I agree that such initiatives are fairly difficult to take when the cab drivers are anonymously called off the roads. Yet, if used in the right way, I believe small steps like these can actually change the total perspective of the person involved in giving the service!

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