Do You Have the Fundamental Systems to Serve Customers?

Man Confused by Gap in Bridge

Does your organization have the fundamental systems in place to serve your customer’s needs? It seems a simple question, yet often the most basic concepts are overlooked. Here’s an example:

Bad Systems: An Example

Imagine buying a full vacation package for your anniversary through a major airline. Then, when booking your flight, that airline chose to seat you with strangers rather than your spouse. Sounds common enough, the flight was just too full, right? But then, when aboard the plane, you learn the other passengers in your row were traveling together but separated by the airline so you and your spouse could be seated apart as well. Here’s what it looked like for my wife and myself:

Delta seats parties separately

This seating layout could not be coincidence. There’s only two reasons three traveling parties would be so poorly organized. Either the company intentionally separated us, with the hopes of extracting more money by pushing us to purchase upgraded seats, or their seating systems lacked any ability to meet their customers most basic needs.

In a situation like ours, customers would expect the vendor, who had more information (and money) from us than even their typical passenger, would accommodate our most simple needs by placing us beside each other. If that is not possible, the vendor may consider allowing us to pick our own seats, as Southwest Airlines (a servant leadership company) does.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the fundamental needs of my stakeholders?
  • What systems do I have in place to ensure their needs are met?

For anyone interested, the company in this case was Delta Airlines / Delta Vacations. Please know though, I’ve already tried to coordinate through their customer service, so to quote the Bloggess, don’t “go all angry-villager” on them. Instead, just know there are airlines out there that give better attention to your needs, like Southwest Airlines.


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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