Tabatha the Service Design Goddess

Business owners, service delivery managers, business analysts and user experience consultants could learn a lot from tacky reality TV shows like ‘Tabatha’s Salon Takeover’.

Photo Credit: Mitch Haaseth, Bravo

Photo Credit: Mitch Haaseth, Bravo

The straight-talking Ozzie, Tabatha Coffey lends her sound advice and styling expertise to help make over America one salon at a time in this new series (Friday’s, 9.30pm on TV3).

In the vein of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Tabatha cleans up failing businesses with a keen eye for the customer experience and broken business processes.

Her formula is simple…

  • For a day she observes the business.
  • She then sends in some mystery customers to gauge their experience.
  • She feeds her observations back to the business owners and staff.
  • She then fixes the broken parts of the business process (in last Fridays show, a phone-book sized staff instruction manual was painfully shredded).
  • Next she hones in on the staff through up-skilling, and gives those who are failing a chance to learn and improve.

What I also like is that she allows staff to have more freedom over how they work, so long as the business benefits and the customer experience is improved.

Later she returns to check if her action plan has worked. She checks the financial performance of the business, staff morale and customer satisfaction.

As a viewer we are enraptured by the sharp-shooting and frank honesty of Tabatha’s whirlwind analysis. It’s all so obvious! We baulk at the abject stupidity of the business owners (usually in tears after Tabatha’s biting analysis), and at the amazing ignorance of the staff who treat their customers as if they are an annoyance and/or a chance to experiment with scissors and hair dye.

But some of us shouldn’t feel so smug at watching these poor people be frazzled and fried in public.

Don’t Mash the Method

Is ‘process’ the same as ‘method’? Many people seem confused.


When you try and mess with the method it gets messy.Photo by H is for Home

Does it matter? Sort of.

It matters when your job is to take a look at how a company runs its design and production line.

Over the years I’ve re-engineered the in-house processes for a handful of IT and New Media companies. I’ve learnt that, while you can redesign the process, when you try and mess with the method it gets messy.

Kissing the Lips of E-govt

Achieving e-Government compliance for public sector websites will require a makeover that’s greater than skin-deep. Zef Fugaz looks at the realities of putting public service websites on the operating table and making them skip to an e-Government beat. Trevor has spoken. By 2006 all public service websites will have to be well and truly on