06 June, 2012


As someone who has worked in Customer Service, sometimes it is good to be able to recognise it, when others provide great service and to be gracious in allowing someone else to have the pleasure to serve.

Last night, I celebrated the day of my birth, by dining at Esquire with my beloved wife.  The menu at  Esquire is extraordinary.  We had a degustation menu.

I am convinced that one finds happiness by losing oneself in the service of others.

On this occasion, it was a bloke called Chris, serving my wife and I.  Chris must be very happy.

As someone who does not enjoy cooking, as I rule, I find eating is a chore.   I cannot do justice to try to describe the culinary wonder that were served to us.There was all sorts of gels, foams and sorbets.  There was shredded mud crab with macadamia and coffee crumbs.  We crunched on crispy slivers of crackling (made from the double chin of a fattened pig).  There were crunchy wafers of saltmarsh stuffed cows.  Wavers of honey dipped pumpkin with chocolate.

My beloved wife and I both figuratively and literally sucked the marrow out of life (and the thigh bone of a cow).

Fortunately, Chris was able to talk us through each course, telling us what we were about to eat and equipping us with appropriate utensils.  Chris spoke with passion and clearly enjoyed working at  Esquire.

Across the room sat a renown Sunday Age restaurant reviewer: Dani Valant out on the town with local foodies: Mel Kettle & Fleur Cole.

Dani was in Brisbane running thermomix: "in the mix" cooking classes.  My beloved is a Thermomix consultant in her spare time and had attended Dani's course, earlier in the day.

There were others around us taking photos of their food to post on blogs and their twitter feed.  I refrained from doing similar.  I was to engaged, watching my beloved enjoying and discussing the food, our future and our aspirations.  As parents of infants, we don't get out much.

Recently, the someone at work, gave some examples of good customer service that he experienced at the service department of Llewellyn Motors Toyota.

This led to a discussion of the levels of service.

I work for a water/sewage treatment utility.  My customers have come to expect that my company will deliver them a high quality product, available on demand & remove their poo, their wee, the water from showers, sinks, washing machines.

My 1.3 million customers use the water we supply them.  The soil it and send it back to be treated (and disposed to rivers & the bay).  The pressure is on to reduce the cost of the services that my company provides.  The cost of raw water is fixed by the Qld State Government.  The prices we can charge our customers are capped at Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases.

Meanwhile, there are a billion potential customers (globally) who do not have access to drinking water.  There are 2.6 billion people who could be (or should be) in the market for a service provider to collect and treat their poo and wee.  There are young women who cannot complete their education beyond puberty, because their schools lack the facilities to allow them to change pads.

So the challenge faced by my company and those involved in my industry around the world - is how can we reduce the cost of the delivery of water and sewage treatment services, yet maintain (or provide) an acceptable level of service.  How do we reduce the environmental impacts of providing those services? 

Water treatment and transport is energy intensive.  Sewage transport and treatment is also energy intensive.  Disposal of the effluent and residues also present challenges (and opportunities).

I see a convergence between the needs of developed and developing communities to develop new ways to provide exceptional water and sewage treatment services.

We need to reinvent the toilet!

We also need to develop the institution arrangements, service delivery, the back of house (down stream processing) systems, networks, business models, markets, supply chains etc. to support a new generation of toilet technologies.....


No comments:

Post a Comment