Service breakdown caused by one hand not knowing what the other is doing

I inadvertently left my credit card at a local hotel restaurant before heading out of town the next day. I didn’t notice until I was in the airport. I called the establishment. A nice, young-sounding woman answered. I told her of the situation.

“I think I left my credit card at lunch yesterday.”

“Oh no. Who waited on you?”

“I don’t remember her name. She was a Hispanic woman.”

“I don’t know who that would be. I didn’t work yesterday.”

“Could you check the cash register to see if it’s there?”

“We don’t have a cash register.”

“Could you check with the manager?”

“We don’t have a manager.”


“OK.” She returns a few minutes later. “He doesn’t know anything about it.”

“Who else might know? The front desk manager? The manager on duty?”

“I’ll check.”

“No one knows anything. Could you call back in two days when the supervisor who was on duty will be back?”

“It was my business credit card and I’m going out of town tomorrow. I was hoping to take it with me. Could you call the supervisor at home and see if he knows anything about the card?”

“No one here would have his number.”

Exasperated, I couldn’t think of anything else to do but say I’d call him. When I did connect with him, he said, “Let me check the safe. Yep. It’s right here.”

I wondered why he couldn’t have let someone know, or put a sign on the safe that it was there so I could have been informed when I called. He said that wasn’t how they worked.

So I had to be inconvenienced because of their lack of communication among themselves. I wonder how many other customers have been inconvenienced because of their lack of internal communication.

Ask yourself about your own internal communication.

  • Do you have processes designed to inform others of important details when you aren’t around?
  • Do you have a way to get hold of staff if extenuating circumstances arise?
  • Are you inconveniencing your customers because of your lack of communication with each other?