Aiming for the “Five Nines” – How many mistakes/defects in your customer service? (Thinking the Six Sigma way for customer service)


Without going into detail, my wife and I had a disappointing experience with a restaurant over the weekend. Not terrible – just disappointing.

I got to thinking… It’s no secret that customer service needs to improve, in a lot of arenas. And especially in the face-to-face encounters in retail and restaurants, things especially need to improve.

from Six Sigma Institute
from Six Sigma Institute

And, the idea of “Six Sigma,” with its emphasis on “reduction of defects,” allows us to think about the customer service experience. Our disappointing restaurant experience had to do with: the order was wrong; the server did not really listen and write down aspects of our order correctly; and, thus, there were “defects”/mistakes in the delivery of our order.

In other words, too many mistakes – too many defects.

I’m reading The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly, and he observes our now consistent expectation that we will receive what we expect. From the book:

Clouds are among the most reliable machines in existence. They can provide the famous five nines (99.999 percent) of near perfect service performance.

I sent something to my printer from my iPad during a commercial while watching the Cowboys. A notice popped up: “low on toner.” I clicked over to Amazon, ordered the toner, and it will be here today. Total time: maybe 30 seconds. The five nines at work!

In this era when so much of what we use works as expected, time after time after time, the restaurants are going to have to step up their games. Too many defects, too many mistakes, will lose too many customers…

And, by the way, how’s the customer service in your work? Too many mistakes, or the five nines?

One thought on “Aiming for the “Five Nines” – How many mistakes/defects in your customer service? (Thinking the Six Sigma way for customer service)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s