ALTI's Apprentice Boardroom Report For 1/28/05 (Episode #2)

Allan's 2
Why Brian Failed

Game Analysis
Strategies for Episode Three
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(Burger King)
Episode # 2
(Hotel Renovation)
Episode # 3
(Nescafe Promo)
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(Dove Commercial)
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Apprentice Task Lesson: 
How Do You Measure Success?

With every task or project there must be a clearly articulated definition of what "success" is.  I know, when I wrote this, it struck me as funny, but, lets look at the Hotel Renovation task in this weeks episode of The Apprentice.  Mr. Trump stated that the winner would be determined by a customer satisfaction survey.  

Success is not always measured as profits, margins or revenues, sometimes customer satisfaction, (when applied to the appropriate circumstances), can be a very effective measure of success. While it is difficult to tell if either team took a minute to study the actual survey, that would have been a logical and prudent first step as it could have a significant bearing over the prioritization and execution of the entire project.

Here is what I found by taking 2 minutes to look at the actual survey.  The survey is broken into 5 categories, and ratings are between 1 to 5 stars, (and there are no "ZERO" stars).  The categories are Overall Experience, Amenities, Room Quality, Service and Value.  

As with many business projects, tight timelines and skimpy budgets are to be expected.  In this case, the teams had just 48 hours and $20,000 to "renovate" what I estimate to be 14 rooms. Remember, in this task, more rooms is not necessarily better so one strategy would have been to spend more per room to elevate scores in room quality and amenities.  

Lets assume they were each required to renovate 14 rooms and that room rates were also controlled to prevent deep discounting which would yield higher value scores.  The categories you can have the greatest impact are amenities, and service, together, these can lift a sagging overall score as well.

We do not know if team Magna had a well developed project plan (listen to my rant about why Brian got fired, and what you can do in your business to achieve success by clicking here) but we do know they knew how to party.  Further, it seemed that most of team Magna understood the importance of delivering big in the service and amenities category.

Why would you want to use customer satisfaction as a measure of success?  Assuming slender budgets, and cost controls insure profitable operations, you should make customer satisfaction a top priority and find ways to measure this in your own business.  After all, its more cost effective in the long term to keep a happy customer than to acquire a new customer.

Shameless Plug: 
Have you measured your customer satisfaction lately?

ALTI Consulting and our team of specialists can help you to execute an affordable and yet meaningful customer satisfaction analysis.  Give us a call, or shoot us an e-mail at (206) 984-9560 or

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