Set a New Service Standard and Lose the Standard Operating Procedures
By Scott Hale Chief Experience Officer, Brand New Stay | April 17, 2016
Do you really need all of those Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)? Are Standard Operating Procedures throttling your business growth, stifling your team's development and diminishing your guest experience? We'll explore these questions in the piece that follows. While this discussion doesn't mandate that you cease and destroy all SOPs, it will equip you to elevate your business, team and guest experience by thinking twice about the standards that you've set. Most important, it will get you thinking that there could be better ones out there.
What is a Standard Operating Procedure?
A Standard Operating Procedure assumes that there is one standard (right way) that will successfully apply to all types of situations. Theoretically, applying the standardized process to any guest situation that your team encounters will deliver the same expected and preferred result. Sadly, that's just not the case. There's no standard that could possibly apply to every guest experience that you or your team will encounter.
Standard Operating Procedure. Just saying it doesn't sound hospitable or like anything that we should get excited about. Would you celebrate a guest experience survey that qualified your team or the experience a guest received as 'standard?' Of course not.
Do you equate a guest arrival experience to an 'operating procedure?' Of course not. How about service recovery - is that something that you can standardize? Nope.
So why do we have Standard Operating Procedures? Results. We all want the right result every time we interact with every guest. That's the key to satisfaction. However, as we know, guest interactions are anything but standard. And, setting a standard could backfire. You might limit your team rather than elevate them.