Language Barriers and Customer Service

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Language Barriers and Customer Service"Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it" (Customer Service). The reason customer service is called customer service is because the customer is the key to success. Baderman Island Resort provides many amenities for their guests; exemplary customer service however, is not one of them. The process to be analyzed is customer service; specifically how language barriers can create unsatisfied customers for Baderman Island. The need for multi-lingual employees at the resort is clear. The chart that the reader will see outlines the good and bad results that could occur depending on the satisfaction of the customer. The reader will also learn the where the opportunities for improvement are within the process as well as the quality management tools that can be used to improve the process. Many people within an organization or group, like this team, think along the same lines.

This is evident in the summary of the simulation exercise found at the end of this paper.

The Customer Service Process at Baderman IslandThe largest problem encountered during analysis of the customer service process at the Island is a language barrier between the staff and the guests. Customer service is one of the few processes that changes can be made as the process is happening. Each process is a unique and immediate occurrence, so the ability to pre-check for errors is impossible. A vacation resort that advertises around the world, like Baderman Island must be prepared for language barriers that will come up and deal with them with the same attitude of service that any other customer would expect. While these customers require additional service, it should not appear that the process is out of the ordinary.

The strategic implications of the inability to service the customers should be an unacceptable process. Baderman Island resort must determine how to fill in the gap in the process so that customers with a language barrier can be helped just as any other customers. The strategic plan is to make Baderman Island a resort that guests can be completely served on, and this includes accommodating the communication process in several different languages.

The external customers who would benefit from process improvement would be the guests that visit the resort. They would not have to feel isolated because of the language barrier and could enjoy the amenities the resort has to offer. Investors to the island would also benefit because they could then market the resort to many different countries if the language issue could be resolved. The internals customer is a customer who helps an employee to get his job done (Earl, 2007, ¶ 3). Being able to improve this process would benefit nearly anyone who has contact with the guest. There would be a quicker flow of communication resulting with a satisfied guest and employees (internal customer) who would feel more empowered and less frustrated or helpless, with regard to the ability to perform excellent service.

The quality management tool that can be used to collect and explain data dealing with process improvement changes is process improvement. Organizations designed to work well with limited competition, long-term stability and fixed technology are having trouble in this new world where the customer is in charge, competition is keen, technology is vital to success, and change is the norm. Simply put the new business environment. Every service is the result of some process. Processes play a critical part in the survival of all organizations. How organizations perform the processes will determine the success as a business.

Most organizations are divided into functions and these functions carry out processes. The larger and more complex the organization, the more functions and therefore, processes it has. Each of these functions may have several duties defined by processes. When one looks at the process view of an organization, one will see that the managers and leaders play a key role to nurture a process view within the organization. Just about any improvement a manager or a leader makes in any process will be in one of these four areas: cost, quality, speed or service (IBM global learning, 2007). Every process must have an owner. A critical first step is to ensure an owner is in place for the process. The process owner assumes the following duties:•Determine and document process requirements that meet or surpass customer expectations.

•Establish measurements to ensure that the process is working right and meets defined cost, quality, speed, and service (CQSS) goals•Assign responsibility for sub-processes and tasks within each process.

•Report process status and results to management and the organization. (IBM global learning, 2007)Meaningful change in any organization is impossible without top-down leadership and vision. That means providing purpose and strategy. Purpose is driven by either inspiration or desperation. Desperation often sets in when one discovers gaps in our processes. The final objective of all process improvement is to provide greater satisfaction to the customer. This begins with knowing their requirements. Selecting the processes to focus on is a critical step. One only has so many resources to apply and must use them wisely. One may discover that several processes need work. Organizations will need to determine which ones and in what order the organization wants to work on them.

The smart move is to target the organizations resources for maximum effect. The next step would be to redesign the process currently being used by the organization. Once an organization has completed a thorough analysis of the process they would like to improve, organizations must implement the new design. Numerous tools exist for this purpose -- Gannt charts, PERT charts, and diagrams, etc. Many of these are computer-based applications that can organize, schedule and track the results of an organizations process-improvement activity. Organizations must understand that none of the redesign efforts will impact anything unless organizations implement them. Implementation is where many organizations fail. When organizations have finished mapping and redesigning their process, organizations must put action plans into place.

The process improvement opportunities include: management and staff taking the time to know their customers in much more than a casual sense, and understanding what their current needs are, and what they might require later. When management and staff practice better customer insight they have a deep understanding of the customer's perspective. Management and staff take responsibility to solve customer problems and demonstrate they have a keen insight into not just their business but also the customer's wants and needs. The management team can motivate employees to strive to understand and satisfy underlying and future needs of the customers. Management and leaders who demonstrate customer insight are those who go beyond the professional relationship. In turn, employees will be able to come up with solutions that go beyond the customer's request or expectations.

Professionals know that customers tend to be loyal to organizations that are interested in the customer's satisfaction. One will find that increased customer satisfaction results in increased revenue and profit. The level of improvement in customer satisfaction is an essential factor in the success of Banderman Island resort. The management and employees of Baderman Island are essential for the success of the resort. Providing exceptional customer service will help to retain customers. For many customers, the first line of access at Banderman Island is through the front desk staff. By consistently providing exceptional service, the entire organization is rewarded with the customers' dedication and repeat business.

Simulation Exercise ReviewThe first area of the simulation was to identify the process that was causing the problem in a manufacturing company. The team immediately narrowed it down to two choices; welding and stamping however, opinions were drawn on which way to go. Initially stalled between welding and stamping for the answer to find the first mistake in the process, Jessica finally chose welding, reasoning that because the costs were higher to fix the problem at the stamping level and there seemed to be more defects in the welding area, it would be better to start there. Apparently, the better starting point is in stamping where it is possible to fix the more expensive problem; also the defects in welding could have been carried over from the defect in the stamping process. Stamping was the correct place to start and the correct answer to the question. Jim followed my line of thinking and "…also linked welding and stamping together," (Jim Miller, email LT B Forum, December 17, 2007) he believes that fixing the area where the most problems are will result in reducing the overall reworking costs for the stamping. He realized, "In hindsight stamping happens and then welding so it was a poor decision" (Jim Miller, email LT B Forum, December 17, 2007) (Jim Miller, email LT B Forum, December 17, 2007). Jamie however, realized that "stamping comes before welding and the cost to fix errors in the stamping process was more costly so it is necessary to fix the issues occurring in the stamping process" (Jamie Geise email LT B Forum, December 19, 2007).

The next area of the simulation used analysis of a Cause and Effect Diagram for different categories: manpower, machine, materials and method and stamping are the effect. The exercise is to identify the factors under the processes that might be causing the defects. Jessica chose four, Jamie chose one main cause and Jim chose the 2 correct causes: tonnage and sheet metal thickness. All choose at least one correct cause, tonnage. It seemed to be the main cause, with sheet metal thickness falling just slightly behind. Jim seemed to understand this part the best and described his reasoning asI ended up choosing tonnage and sheet metal thickness. My reasoning for this as the solution was due to the discrepancies in suppliers C's product as the major cause. The thickness being outside the acceptable limits would mean that a percentage of the product would always be made improperly. I noticed the problem with the tonnage being exerted upon the metals and saw that this could adversely affect properly made products as well, but primarily was caused by the sheet metal thickness. (Jim Miller, email LT B Forum, December 17, 2007)The Problem waiting in the next area was with regard to taking corrective measure to fix the supply problem with supplier c who and variations in the sheet metal thickness. If the company drops the supplier, then the supply demand has to be absorbed by the other 2 suppliers and an effort has to be made to replace supplier c. If the decision made to retain the supplier, then measures must be suggested to rehabilitate the supplier by undertaking a series of supplier development strategies. One team member initially though about the option to retain the supplier if possible, reasoning that a company can easily go through 3-4 different suppliers before they find one that seems to work out. After seeing the data, she changed her mind and decided it would be fine to drop the supplier. Two other sources exist to procure supplies; the supplier with the problem is only supplying 10% of the product at this point and has only been working with the company for 3 months. The next option was to shift to suppliers A and B temporarily with a later shift to eBuying permanently later. The information for this chart seemed to reflect a lower defect and cost with this method. Apparently that was exactly the right decision because the rest of team members decided the same.

Now that the initial problem in the process is taken care of, the simulation turns to long-term goals for Quality Management. Any plan has to have the support of the employees, who have just completed a survey on consciousness, employee empowerment, quality, team building and rewards. According to the survey, quality consciousness was a big problem. Most employees did not know or care about things like: the company handbook, policy on quality control or even that their work was essential to the overall performance of their company. Empowerment was another problem area. The employees did not believe that they were encouraged or rewarded by their supervisors for suggesting changes or solving problems. Most employees did not feel recognized or valued. Their was absolutely no confidence that they, the employees, would receive any type of reward or recognition for going above and beyond. The only hopeful sign was in the area of team building. The survey indicated that the employees were comfortable with and trusted their peers. Jamie also believed that developing a Comprehensive Quality Policy would be a good idea believing "that a policy that employees could understand and that is outlined is necessary in any type of organization, especially one producing goods (Jamie Geise email LT B Forum, December 19, 2007). Jim pointed out that a "well understood policy makes people more likely to want to strive to achieve the goals of the company" (Jim Miller, email LT B Forum, December 17, 2007).

Jamie also reasoned for more employer training and education.

Jim did believe that the Problem solving groups had worked before and the surveys showed that the employees enjoyed working in teams and with each other. Getting the perspective of multiple levels of workers allows for changes to be made with less aggravation from one particular group. The employees felt insulted and thought outside consultant groups were not worthwhile. They added nothing to the knowledge of the employees. Linking performance to pay is generally a bad idea so I did not believe this would be a good option.

The past quality initiatives section made it clear that the failures of the past were due to employers requiring training that did not seem to add to their skill set and tied performance to the process. The shift supervisors did not like rearranging the schedules and the management felt that delegating authority to their subordinates was a statement about their status in the company. Although the team continued to meet for six months after the initiates, it slowly fizzed out. Delegate Authority to Employees also was a pick for Jamie who believed that by delegating "authority to employees the company is allowing the people who truly know how the process work and how effective it is to take some initiative and possibly improve the existing process" (Jamie Geise email LT B Forum, December 19, 2007). Jim felt the same about letting the employees who know the process be involved when troubleshooting the process. And that "d[sic]elegating authority seemed like the best way to help employees believe as though they were important and their opinions mattered." (Jim Miller, email LT B Forum, December 17, 2007).

Taking all of that into advisement, the final choices were to: create problem-solving work groups, delegate authority to employees and develop a comprehensive quality policy by 2 of the 3 who participated in the simulation. According to the simulation, the choices made were an almost optimal set of strategies that would have the maximum among the employees and can be implemented in the shortest period of time.

ConclusionCustomer service and being able to cater to the needs of every guest is going to be essential to the success of Baderman Island Resorts. Language barriers could hinder the growth of the organization. Communication is a concern that all organizations that depend on customers for their success should be concerned about and Baderman Island Resorts is no exception. Management and all of the employees of the organization need to make sure to cater to the needs and wants of their customers. Management needs to utilize process management to improve the communication of the organization. A series of training courses could be offered, or making a policy to hire employees who are multilingual, will both help the resort cater to the needs of each customer. In order to decide what languages the resort employees will come in contact with the resort could do surveys and acquire the demographics of their guests. This will help to maximize customer satisfaction, which is the most important result that the resort is trying to achieve. After doing the stimulation exercise, one can see that the team was in agreement on most of the exercise. If Team B were the management team of Baderman Island they would be able to work together to capitalize on the success of the resort. Management teams need to work together so that the result that is desired can be acquired. Customer satisfaction and communication can help to make the resort the stellar vacation spot they desire to be.

ReferencesBurrel, Claude W., & Ledolter, Johannes. (1999). Achieving quality through continual improvement. [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-Text]. Wiley & Sons Publishing. Retrieved December 6, 2007, from University of Phoenix, rEsource, MGT 449- Quality Management and Productivity Web site.

Customer Service Points (2007). Favorite Customer Service Quotes. Retrieved December 19, 2007 from:, D. (2007). What is internal customer service? Donan Earl Training. Retrieved December 20, 2007, from Global Learning. (2007) Execution: Process Improvement. Retrieved December 21, 2007 from the employee intranet website.

University of Phoenix, Phoenix. (2007). Process improvement, RetrievedDecember 20, 2007, from University of Phoenix, Week Four, rEsource. MGT449 web site.