When things went wrong….

Coming about in relation to an outsourced service not meeting standards, the matter escalated when Customer Services proved ever more disjointed. I’d contemplated the situation with an initial conclusion, the situation was as clear as mud.

It wasn’t until (eventually) meeting an appropriate manager who could efficiently illustrate that combining knowledge with authority (in this case the right person for the job) wasting resources could be avoided: the ‘gatekeeper’ element can avoid being a `business beware’ element.

With a value proposition which, for me, isn’t easily understood (nor tripped lightly off the tongue), John Lewis’s proposition of being ‘never knowingly undersold’  had a lot of ground for discussion – they offer to match or beat price (high street outlets only) with, if I’m correct, the interesting bit for me, comparable service offerings (although I’m still not clear about how a service offering is measured).

Until I’d had this recent ‘debate’, revising management systems for queues (of any type) might have fleetingly got my attention but I’d never had any inclination to ever ponder management systems, subjecting management effectiveness, subjecting gatekeepers’ authority, subjecting a business value proposition to vulnerability…. I’d met it before (in big Corps) but hadn’t realised how this ‘system’ could, transferred to smaller businesses,  have a bigger impact.

Placed at points of convergence, a business gatekeeper is as easily able to undermine a business, or lose an opportunity to capitalise, as it is (when well managed) to be a value proposition and add value to a business.

Driven through a business environment, and checked by maintained commitment, commercial success  is the objective:  for the majority in business. Therefore, it stands to reason that any business support mechanisms ‘placed’ on the frontline need to be effective. The bigger the business the lesser the impact – hence, my vague contemplations on ‘gatekeeper’ not being a buzzword but, from sole trader through to large corporate, a business tool with challenges.

My current thinking remains that business:  small, medium or large, with vertical or lateral management and sole trader (including  co-ownership (John Lewis) cultures), ‘gatekeepers’   can leave businesses susceptible when ‘behaviours’ aren’t managed.  And, as we’re ALL gatekeepers to our customers, whatever forms the gatekeeper takes; performance is relevant if the business is to benefit.

Typically this returns to managing business to avoid having one that could have let, like a Trojan Horse,  a lot of unnoticed additional problems in.


Image credits: Joshin Yamada      Jackie Curry  Article credit: Copyright SUF 2014 ©