General Manager George Chock was in his comfortable second-floor office suite at the Marigold Hotel In the Chinquapin area of New Delhi. He had been alerted to a brewing customer service problem, and wanted to resolve the Issue before It got out of hand. Chock belonged too family of real estate developers and entrepreneurs. Over the turn of the century, he had noticed that New Delhi lacked sufficient high-quality hotel space to serve the increased business and aorist traffic that was generated by the rapidly growing and globalization Indian economy.
Prices at existing 5-star hotels in the nation’s capital were sky-high, and service was sometimes indifferent. His entrepreneurial instincts sensed an opportunity – and led him to design and develop Marigold Hotel in response to this situation. A 4-star hotel, the Marigold opened for business in 2007. It rapidly developed a strong reputation for providing excellent customer service, offering a clean and hygienic environment for guests to stay In, and employing well-trained and routes staff.
The Marigold was particularly noted for Its restaurants – the “Attar” which served food In the North Indian tradition, and the “Dashikis” which served food In the South Indian tradition. Beyond the hotel’s guests, these restaurants were frequent destinations for the residents of Delhi as well. Room service at the Marigold was also of high quality – guests often praised the quality and presentation of the food, and the timeliness of service. Room service orders were serviced in a separate DOD preparation area that could draw on the resources of both restaurant kitchens.
Overall, occupancy rates at the Marigold from 2007 through mid 2008 were frequently in the 90100% range. Chock had an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering. On the production side, he employed his knowledge about process design and implementation to run things efficiently. Marigold’s ratio of employees to guest-served was the lowest among hotels In Its competitive set, and this helped keep costs low. Despite this, a strong focus on employee training and productivity ensured that customer service and the guest experience continued to be top notch.
Toward late 2008, however, nations across the globe were confronted with what some economists considered the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression of the late sass and early sass. The shock waves from the imploding financial and real estate sectors in the united States echoed across the globe, leading to contractions in the economies of developed nations, and to rapid slowdowns in the growth rates of developing nations. Countries like Brazil, China and India, which old rely on rapidly growing internal markets, were insulated from some of the worst effects of the downturn.
However, growth rates in these countries slowed substantially as well. In India, for example, annual GAP growth was projected to fall from 10% to 6-7%. Indian’s hotel sector was not Immune to this slowdown either – occupancy rates at the Marigold, while still high, began to fall from the high 90 percent figures. George Chock foresaw a 1 C) Proof. Sahara Valetudinarianism, UNC Chapel Hill. All rights reserved. On hotel expenses in various areas. Some of the hotel’s fresh flower and plant displays that required continuous upkeep were replaced with artificial ones.
The housekeeping manager had recently decreed that a lesser inventory of linen and towels was to be stocked on each floor. A note in the hotel rooms encouraged hotel guests to use bath towels multiple times before setting them aside to be collected by the housekeeping staff. Many other cost-cutting initiatives were undertaken, but always after carefully consider whether, and to what extent, these initiatives would effect the customer experience and customer satisfaction. Over the last few days, though, an unexpected problem had cropped up – one that Chock had never encountered before.
As noted earlier, one of the high service points at the Marigold was the quality and timeliness of the room service breakfasts. But over the last week, at least five guests had complained about their room service breakfasts being delayed by 15 minutes or more beyond the requested delivery time. This delay had thrown them off their planned work schedule for the day. Some guests had also implanted that the hot breakfast they had ordered was cold by the time it got to their room.
These complaints were initially transmitted to the room service department, but all complaints were ultimately forward to the General Manager. The last couple of weeks had been quite busy, but Chock did not think that was the cause of the problem. The hotel had gone through many busy weeks in the past, but food ordered from room service had always arrived on time. Chock was irritated about the flurry of complaints. Customer satisfaction was his highest priority and he anted to fix the problem – fast.
He picked up the phone and called the room service manager, and with a sharp edge to his voice, demanded to know what was going on. The room service managers was herself puzzled – she noted that order taking and food preparation was going on smoothly, as it had been in the past, and that she could not discern any particular reason for the delay. Chock responded sarcastically that when customers had a problem, there was a problem. He recommended that the room service manager should have a tough conversation with her subordinates and SSH the probing down the line until the problem was resolved.
As he hung up, Chock let out a long sigh. He had passed on the problem to other people in the organization. But he wondered if he was missing out on something. He calls you – his trusted consultant, into his room and discusses the matter with you. He remembers that you have recently spoken to him about a “GAPS” model and wonders if you can apply that model to help him. What do you think went wrong? How would you recommend that George Chock systematically analyze and resolve the service problem?