The Longest Toe Learns Pain First最长的脚趾先知疼
One winter morning, I could not start my car engine. The hotel guard asked me if I needed any help, and said that he could call the hotel fleet for help.
I said,“It’s early and cold. Will they come to help?”
His answer was really interesting,“I am authorized to call the general manager as long as a guest needs help.”
This is the reason why this 5-star hotel in Qingdao can be ranked as first class. Most problems guests experience can be well solved here, because the hotel has authorized its front-line staff to utilize any resources necessary.
“The longest toe learns pain first.” The front-line staff know the guests’ needs best because they are in direct contact with guests.
Being a manager, if you can give the front-line staff easy access to resources when complaints are received, they will be able to give timely solutions.
Hierarchical differences are inevitable for most companies in the process of their development. On one hand, the management layer, which is insensitive to the guests’ needs controls the resources and has the authority of decision-making. On the other hand, though the executive layer knows much better about guests’ demands and desires, they have neither access to resources nor the power of decision.
One important reason for the employees’ poor executive ability is that they don’t understand the concepts of administration. The lack of resources or authority makes them unable to realize their own solutions. They have to spend time communicating and negotiating with superiors; this not only leads to a worse customer experience, but also decreases real achievements and end results.
The gap between resources and guests is extremely dangerous. Therefore, administrators should either get closer to guests themselves or decentralize their authorities.
Once I served as a consultant and
conducted some grass roots marketing research with an area general manager. When the research was done, the branch manager and the salesmen said that they hoped that the area manager could arrange to meet with a potential big customer. Our local team couldn’t impress the customer and negotiations had continued for more than eight months. The general manager granted their request and I went along with him.
It was a dramatic event when the contract was signed within twenty minutes after our area general manager had understood and satisfied the demands of this major customer. Everybody cheered and praised him for his excellent ability; however, I felt sad about it.
I was just wondering: if the general manager of this area could have gotten closer to the guests earlier, or if he could have delegated some of his powers to subordinates, those precious eight months could have been saved.
Many managers stay at the leadership level, analyzing financial statements and other data forever. They have no substantial feeling of the market. On the other hand, our marketing staff just stays at the performance analysis level. Concentrating on their salary and the relevant policies, they actually care little about the guests’ real needs as well. Such a situation is very dangerous to an enterprise’s survival and development. The key to managing an organization is to make the authority
equivalent to the responsibility, and combine the workers with the resources. If you make your employees responsible for something without giving them corresponding powers, you will only find that they have seemingly poor executive abilities.
According to Sam Walton, you should share whatever you know with your employees. The more they know, the more they will pay attention to; and once they do that, they will become unstoppable.
It is crucial for an organization to transform its advantages on professional operations into healthy competition involving its employees.
Many enterprises think highly of talents, especially “the super salesmen”. This was a good concept in the early stages of marketing; however, in the fierce competition nowadays, any specific super salesman no longer exists. Instead of counting on the personal capabilities of the salesmen, an enterprise would better off exploiting its organizational ability to help its front-line staff.
(From Business, issue 5, 2017. Translation: Wang Xiaoke) 却没有实质性的感觉。而我们的营销人员又只是停留在提成管理层面，只关心销售收入和销售政策，只关心提成管理而不关心顾客需求。