On the face of it, the bus driver is paid by the hour to get passengers safely from point A to point B. But most of the value he creates for the bus company, not to mention the city, has nothing to do with his driving ability. It’s in the empathetic work of reassuring passengers…

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Many shoppers wandering the department store on Saturday are browsing. Some are buying. Most people the menswear assistant offers to help, decline. But one or two ask if a particular shirt or jumper is available in their size. The response depends. It depends on three things—the stock levels, the training the sales team received, and…

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If you search ‘best breakfast in Hobart’ on Trip Advisor, you’ll find a tiny, backstreet cafe in the number one spot. This cafe opens for six hours each day, only seats a dozen people and has a queue of eager diners waiting outside before it opens. It’s the kind of place the people who visit…

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One of my first jobs was in the hospitality industry. We worked long hours, weekends and holidays for average pay. Staff turnover was high. It was hard for managers to motivate people. One of our best managers didn’t bark orders about smiling at customers or showing up on time. She led by example. The first…

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My mum, (who is in her late seventies) wanted to negotiate the renewal of her internet and phone contract. She dialled the customer support number listed on her bill and was placed on hold for 30 minutes. When she finally got through to a human being, she was transferred to the ‘loyalty department’. She waited…

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When we visit the doctor with a health problem, we are keen to have our immediate needs met. Perhaps we need pain relief or a blood test. Maybe we need a diagnosis and treatment. But alongside the desire for a physiological solution is the yearning for our intangible wants to be fulfilled. We need treatment,…

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When a traveller books a $700 a night hotel room she assumes that she’ll have a five-star experience. She’s expecting more than a better bed, thicker carpets and fancier facilities. When a five-star hotel gets a one-star review, it’s an indication that something went badly wrong. Of course, guests and customers are disappointed for a…

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Melbourne’s newest bean to bar chocolate maker’s glass-walled factory and bright, airy cafe is stunning. Their packaging is beautiful, and their small-batch chocolate bars are delicious. The stage is set to deliver an incredible customer experience. And yet that experience promised on the roaster’s website falls flat—for want of training their staff in the art…

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