Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Guest Experience

When I was studying at Warwick, we had a few truly exceptional lecturers. These lecturers and (one really terrible, slightly racist and majorly overweight Year 7 ICT teacher) in turn inspired me to become a teacher. Martin Campbell-Kelly was one of the former. He inspired me to go deep into retro computing, I guess that's why I still play around with typewriters and Polaroids. This also in turn fed into some of Mrs Lau's research into things like the Memex and the World Brain.

As it's Sunday and we all love a bit of a History of Computing on the Holy Day, let me share a bit of the genious of HG Wells. In 1938, HG Wells conceived the idea of a "World Brain". It was a free, permanent library of books accessible to all. He hoped it would make signifcant contributions to world peace too! Well those of you with astute minds will recognise that his idea was pretty much the same as Wikipedia- he was just way ahead of his time.

A few years later in 1945, Vannevar Bush and JCR Lickleider (Both amazing names which you will never forget) came up with the concept of the Memex:

"Bush envisioned the memex as a device in which individuals would compress and store all of their books, records, and communications, 'mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.' The memex would provide an 'enlarged intimate supplement to one's memory'."

For non-geeks, he basically laid down the blueprint for the Internet back in 1945. Some of his ideas (like following paths and thought processes throughout documents) are so advanced, that even today they have not yet been implemented by Mozilla or Google.

Onto other great lecturers, I have to mention Bob Johnston and Alistair Brandon Jones.

Dr Alistair Brandon Jones

These two superstars lectured "Operations Management". Their lectures alone were worth the tuition fees we paid at Warwick. Granted, they had more-engaging material to start with comapred to say Statistics for Business or Accounting for Business. But even if you are working with a diamond, you still need to work hard for a polished final product. These two literally made their subject come alive with vivid case studies and they were masters in delivery. They taught me a lot, not just about business and teaching but also about life.

Take for example expectation theory. The theory goes that if customer expectations are too high, you can never meet them and you will dissapoint them. So your aim is to manage the perceived expectation and then you can meet and exceed these managed expectations and hopefully blow them away. Companies like Singapore International Airlines do this very well. They always deliver an amazing customer experience. For example, they will replace your suitcase if it is broken in transit with a shiny new one. Not just any suitcase, probably a samsonite or something similarly high-end. That's just the amazing service you get for your money. As another good teacher (Martin L) once said, "always under promise, then over-deliver. Never do the opposite."

We have friends who work at some of the top hotels out here. That means they're amongst the best hotels in the world in terms of setting and service. You would expect these standards though if some of your guests pay £5000 a night. One of our friends joked that he treats us well as friends because it's all about "the guest experience". As he said that, all of my Op's management memories came flooding back to me. Ever since finishing my degree in Computer Science and Business back in 200, I've never wanted to work in business, but right now whilst surrounded by high-performing businesses and service operations, I've suddenly caught the bug. I'll analyse how a waitress serves us, how receptionists greet you, how they respond to awkward queries. Not in a sadistic or patronising way, purely out of curiosity. Then I think, what would Bob or Alistair recommend to this business to improve their service op's.

Enough eduational chat. Time for some pictures to illustrate the guest experience. Jetski and Paddleboards come as standard.

WELL...the Internet upload isn't working as we're still on the satellite backup system, so there's no pictures. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the read!

Poolside king size bed. Complimentary Tattinger, well iced water...

Double infinity pool-for the Maths geeks.



Before the experience, it's all smiles. But I've got about as much balance as an Elephant on a Gym ball. Needless to say, at one point I fell off 5 times in 3 mins. Whey!

Schoolboy error. Never look down on a paddleboard, even if the sea is amazing. You have to look forward to balance apparently. I learnt this the hard way!

We got pretty far out on the paddle boards, then we clearly wussed out and came back into shore.

1.8litre engine means you can get to Mahe in 30mins...


Next week's guest experience will be drop fishing. Setting off at 5.30am for the drop off. As preparation for the experience, I decided to watch Finding Nemo tonight. Quite an educational film: