I watched Gosford Park last night. It got me thinking about service. First, to quote from the movie: Mrs. Wilson: I'm the perfect servant. When they're hungry, the food's on the table; when they're tired, the beds are turned down - I know it before they know it themselves. This movie is about a hunting party take place in a English country manor. In this multi day event, there are the upstairs English aristocrates, and the downstairs servants -- butlers and valets and lady's maids. The level of service the downstairs provide is simply to die for.
Now fast forward 70 years to 2003, or fast forward 30 more to 2033. With the physical world (distance) getting smaller, and the virtual world getting larger, what is the general population's expectation on service? And is it the same around the globe?
From my own experience, one end of the spectrum is Germany. A German co-worker once commented: Germany is a service dessert. Germans simply do not expects service. Any service. The other end is Japan. Service is so good and perfected. Buy a small gift that is worth a few dollars, ask for wrapping,and you get 20 sheets of tissue paper plus fancy wrapping, all for free. Buy a book and they fold a book cover for you. Then there is the restaurents. I could go on.
Hong Kong is another interesting place for good service. In expensive hotels and restaurent the service is first rate. No surprise there. But at a street side cafe, buying a $5 lunch, and you get the full service treatment. polite, fast service is expected and given.
How about the United States? They are somewhere in the middle? I dare to say that the in general, people do not expect good service, nor they give it. Small town America would be the exception. But if you look at major cities and urban area, the level of expectation and supply is in the middle.
So, as the world is getting smaller. People will start experience the different level of service, and the servers will experience the different types of expectation from customer. Where will it all go? Will good service be expected and win out? I truly hope so.