WHO PUT THE FUN IN HUNGARY?
submitted by Karen MacKenzie – MCQI: CQP: MASQ: FCIPD: IRCA Principal Auditor, our returning visitor – may 25, 2015 Fungarian is a small team of language, history, arts and geography teachers dedicated to share the best Hungarian culture with travelers and visitors to Hungary. They named the company Fungarian because they aim to impart the language in a light-hearted way so that learning is a joy. They conduct their tours likewise to make them a memorable and fun event.
I first met Fungarian in 2013 when I decided after so many visits to Budapest to learn something of the language without engaging in long and involved language learning classes. I wanted something more like a friend to sit with me over a cup of really good coffee and cake and teach me the basics and that’s exactly what I got – down to some of the most delicious cakes (thank you Balazs).
Let us remind ourselves that behind ISO 9001:2015 sits the Principle No 1 – Customer Focus – The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectations.
In an earlier example I described my experience of the Sofitel Chain Bridge delivering fully on this and outlining some of the actions taken by them to achieve this principle. I’m going to do the same with Fungarian but focus on difference actions that can be taken to achieve this underlying, sustaining principle – the actions I shall focus on this time are:
‘Plan, design, develop, produce, deliver and support goods and services to meet customer needs and expectations’.
I don’t know about you but I had an aversion to organised tours. You know the ones I mean – with the guide striding out before their group of sheet, umbrella raised in the air and shouting ‘with me, keep up’. I think the last time I engaged in such a tour was in Ronda in Southern Spain when I took my mother, aunt and uncle for a visit. How it rained, it ran in rivers down the cobbled streets and as the guide turned left shouting ‘keep up we are now visiting that church ahead…’ I turned right and shouted to my family group, ‘with me, we are going for coffee and warmth.’ And so we did. And so I like to do what I want on a tour.
I studied Budapest and designed my own tours which were very enjoyable and educational and fun. I stopped when I wanted, sat down when I wanted, jumped on the underground when I wanted, came back to the hotel for a foot massage when I wanted and then went back out. Can you imagine finding a tour company, who could provide the same experience but with accredited, experienced, knowledgeable, entertaining guides who make you laugh added in? No umbrellas, no groups if you don’t want to be in a group and a tour tailor made to your requirements – then imagine Fungarian. I now, pronounce to its Directors, Miklos Molnar and Balazs Eff, ‘I’d like to go to the famous coffee houses and learn about Budapest around the 1900s (at the height of literary and artistic success) and also learn about the political discussions and planning which took place in the Kaffe Haz. Then if you could throw in some up-to-date information on the political situation in Hungary now and give me some historical context on where Hungary is on its journey and also what it was like growing up under communism and advise me about using trolley buses and oh yes where are the best cake shops and what is the word for ‘how much? – and there you have it, Karen’s perfect tailored tour. My day spent with all of my needs and expectations met, nay exceeded and I had so much fun.
And how was that possible? It was not rambling and unstructured – Fungarian brought to me the outcome of their well-researched, planned, piloted, timed, tried and tested, adjusted tours – their product. What sits behind this seemingly ease of flow, is also the fact that the accredited guides are also all qualified teachers and this combination makes them an excellent resource to have with you as you explore Budapest on your own terms. I was able to visit the somewhat dubious, but interesting 8th district, which I would never have done on my won but I was so safe and had such an interesting time with Balazs (he’s the one who knows all the best cake shops).
And on top of this there is the flexibility of meeting where suits me or being collected from my hotel; of leaving me in the shopping centre, by design, to shop and make me own way home, or delivering me right back to my door, throughout all these gentlemanly guides looked after me. They also asked for my feedback, my views on all aspect of the tours and when I returned in 2015 I say some of my 2104 suggestions had been implemented – don’t you love it when you are listened to? A veritable feast of Deming’s Plan-do-Check-Act model of quality assurance in action.