03 May 2011

Bureaucracy kills the customer.

In developing economies there are many similarities. Particularly in the service sector.
I spend time between Ukraine and Sri Lanka do to business.
The service sector 'practices' in both of these countries are similar.
Take for example the simple processes in a restaurant.

On too many occasions in both countries I see situations where customers get so angry due to the bureaucracy of the so called systems they operate.
I think it all stems from a culture of mistrust.

For example, you are in a restaurant and maybe there are only four or five customers.
At the end of the meal, the customer requests the bill. A normal process in developed countries where the bill will be provided to you within seconds/minutes. The waiter/waitress takes the cash or payment method and the whole process is completed within a few minutes.

NOT in developing countries. It will take maybe 10-15 minutes to prepare the bill.
Then they eventually provide the bill.
The customer offers payment and usually offers more than the required amount, expecting change to be given and only then will they think about a tip.

Unfortunately, this is where the lack of trust comes in to play.
The person who takes your money is not allowed to be involved in the process.
The bill together with payment must be taken to another party who proceed to check the accuracy of the bill and correct payment. Then after they have 'signed off' the transaction, another person will become involved in the issue of any change or confirmation of payment.
Eventually the 'change' may be sent to your table approx 15-20 mins later.

During this whole process the average customer will be totally frustrated as to WHY everything takes so long.

Its obvious that the process is far more important than the customer.
On far too many occasions I have seen restaurant customers HAPPY that they have enjoyed a great meal and even some good service, BUT the whole bill/payment/change procedure is the KILLER for most restaurants and the good experience turns into a nightmare for the customer.


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