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What Makes General Electric (And Other Fortune 500 Companies) So Successful?

Six MarblesThe first time I heard about “Six Sigma,” I thought it was the name of a fraternity. Then after working with General Electric for a number of years, I learned that this one tool helped make GE one of the best companies in the world.

If Six Sigma works for GE, Motorola and the majority of other Fortune 500 companies, it can work for customer service and guest relations initiatives, too.

What is Six Sigma?

First, what is it not? It is not a secret society, a slogan or a cliché. Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process that helps companies focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services.

Why “Sigma”? The word is a statistical term originally used in the manufacturing sector that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection. The central idea behind Six Sigma is that if you can measure how many “defects” you have in a process, you can systematically figure out how to eliminate them and achieve as close to “zero defects” as possible. Technically speaking, the maturity of a manufacturing process can be described by a sigma rating indicating its yield or the percentage of defect-free products it creates. A six sigma process is one in which 99.99966 percent of all opportunities to produce some feature of a part are statistically expected to be free of defects.

Although it sounds complicated, it’s actually very simple:

I’m not exaggerating when I state that Six Sigma changed the DNA of companies.

Today’s competitive leisure environment leaves no room for error. You must delight your customers and relentlessly look for new ways to exceed their expectations. This is why Six Sigma can help you improve customer care in your business, too.

To focus on quality, you must review three key elements:

1) Your guests.

They are the reason your business exists, and they expect friendly service, competitive prices, accurate information, clean environments and pleasant transactions. On a daily basis, you are competing for your guests’ leisure dollars. If you can influence their perception in a positive way, you’ll create customer loyalty.

2) The Process.

Step into your customers’ shoes to gain a new perspective about which guest perceptions are created by each transaction. You’ll see through new eyes some of the problems that need addressed. Now, step out of your customers’ shoes and take care of those issues.

3) Your employees.

This is where the water gets muddy. It would be easy to say that employees are the most unpredictable element of the delivery chain. But I disagree. As managers, we sometimes just make the people aspect too hard. When employees possess the following elements, they can succeed:

  •  a clear vision
  •  an invitation to be part of the bigger picture
  •  an understanding of expectations and performance standards
  •  tools to do their job
  •  training to help them do the right thing
  •  motivation and recognition for fulfilling the mission

Six Sigma 
isn’t rocket science. Rather, it’s a model that can help create a better experience for guests at all levels. 
In your next staff meeting, use the following checklist to discuss some of the key concepts of the Six Sigma Strategy:

  •  What part of the process is causing you or your staff to fail at delivering what your customers want?
  •  What services are you capable of delivering?
  •  What steps can you take to stabilize operations so that you can ensure consistent and predictable service — improving what the customer sees and feels?

Utilize this approach to help your team develop its sense of how to enhance the overall delivery of service you provide. That will make everyone on your team a member of the “We are all in this together” fraternity!

(Photo via Pixabay)

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About Ruby Newell-Legner

As a Fan Experience Expert, Ruby helps leaders in sports, leisure and entertainment build strong teams between front line staff and management, and make exceptional customer service a way of life. She has consulted with and designed customized training programs for more than 60 sports and entertainment venues, 80 leisure facilities and 29 professional sports teams. From the only 7 Star Hotel in the world to Convention Centers, from Denver to Dubai, Ruby brings unprecedented expertise and insight on how to create a service culture that motivates employees and promotes customer loyalty and retention.

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