Solving the real customer experience issues.
Customer complaints over cold food
P&O’s highest service related customer complaint was that they had been served cold food from the on-board restaurants sailing between Dover and Calais. This appeared related to the lengthy queues that formed during most sailings which caused frustration for staff and passengers alike.
Hot food cooled before customers could sit down
A Lean approach
The operations teams had tried a number of initiatives to address the problem but none had resolved the problem. It was felt that sustainable success could be achieved if staff were able to focus on service problems using a specialist and proven Lean based approach.
The process began by involving staff on board who came into daily contact with customers by developing an internal improvement team of experienced managers. They were trained and coached in Lean tools and techniques to enable them to tackle the issues and were supported by Director sponsorship to improve the customer experience in this way.
Following training, the team approached the problem differently and were supported through a far more effective problem definition, root cause identification and solution process based on observation and measurement as well as staff feedback.
Improvements included better signage and queue formation, simpler offering and presentation, standardised layout, work guides, daily team huddles and better definition of staff roles and responsibilities. They were then able to test and refine their solutions successfully in a number of pilots before implementing across all of the Dover-Calais ships in time for the busy summer period.
A key aspect of the sustainable success of this improvement was the continual involvement of the front-line staff to help understand the process problems and root causes, the passenger journey and interactions, and the testing of solutions until they worked and were part of everyday business as usual.
A better customer journey
The results of the improvements included more customers, fewer complaints and a better experience for customers.