Does Your Team Have a Back-Up Process for Service?

The opening keynote was preceded by the safety briefing for the large banquet hall attendees.  It was the usual “in case of fire” cautions and instructions.  It dramatically and clearly called attention to the exit signs over the doors completely invisible in an otherwise “take it for granted” perspective.  The flight attendant on the airline does the same “notice the exits” speech before every flight.

Great service has great exits!  We all enjoy the convenience of self-service and automation...when it works.  But, if we are caught inside with a less than satisfactory experience, we need a great exit.  Great exits include cross-trained wait staff able to swing into action when your waiter seems to have disappeared.  It includes supervisors who can take over for a front line person who unexpectedly needs to abandon his or her post.  Great exits are the capacity to change delivery channels or get seamlessly passed to another agent without requiring the restatement of all the information just given the last person.

Great service exits have the same features as other effective exits in our lives.  They are there when we need them.  They are easy to spot.  They are avenues for getting us back to normal.  And, they are brought to our attention before a “service fire” breaks out in our encounter.  What steps are you taking to manage the service exits for your customers?

© Chip Bell Group, 2023.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.