Arby’s had a problem and I knew it. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to let the decision-makers know what was going on.
Several years ago, I was General Manager for Arby’s. A customer approached me while I was waiting for my tires to get changed at Walmart. He said, “I like your food… but the meat is cold.”
I explained to him how we have three different systems in place to ensure the optimal temperature of the meat before delivery. The meat was kept under a heat lamp before cutting, it was wrapped in heat-retaining foil, and slid down a heated slide before being handed to the customer.
He patiently waited for me to finish. Nodded his head and said, “The meat is still cold.”
Arby’s had two problems. First, the meat was cold. Second, I didn’t know what to do with that information. I called the supervisor, and we went over our systems to ensure everything was working properly. But at the end of the day, that customer was right, and I didn’t know how to tell the people that could fix it.
Long story short, the problem was the scale used to weigh the wafer-thin, 3 oz of roast beef. It wasn’t heated. A year and a half after my conversation with the customer, Arby’s solved this with a hot steam scale that actually kept the meat hot while also accurately measuring its weight.
Arby’s spent an extra year and a half with cold roast beef because their decision-makers didn’t have access to all of their team’s ideas.
Every organization needs a clear process for sharing customer feedback and ideas for how to address that feedback. Sodium Halogen uses our Innovation Workshop as a framework to share validated ideas with decision-makers, but whatever your process is…make it simple, make it clear, and make it a part of your culture.
You want to equip your team with a system to not just recognize problems but solve them. Here’s how you’ll know you are doing it well. By the time you hear about problems and ideas, they are already structured in such a way that all you need to do is say “yes”.
Simple next step
Here are a few questions to help determine if your team knows what to do when they see or hear about an opportunity.
- When was the last time you heard about a problem and potential solution?
- What would your team say if you asked if they know how to share problem-solving ideas?
- What could your team achieve if your feedback process was clear and easy to follow?
I hope this helps!