New PDF release: Command Performance: The Art of Delivering Quality Service

By John E. Martin

Discusses the artwork of providing caliber provider. successfully integrates state of the art pondering on profitable carrier supply with studies from actual businesses. DLC: customer support.

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Additional info for Command Performance: The Art of Delivering Quality Service (Harvard Business Review Book)

Sample text

More important than any of these features, however, says CEO Carl J. Schmitt, "was the concept of keeping the 1/2 of 1% of customers who are bad guys out of the bank's customer base. " The "two bad checks and you're out" policy improves the bank's service in an interesting way. For one thing, local merchants know all UNBT checks are good, so they honor them as if they were cash. For another, tellers don't have to spend time checking the customer's credit. In almost all cases, the bank cashes customer checks without inquiring whether they have money in their accounts.

The students get five checks a month for a monthly service charge of $1, and they pay 50 cents for each window transaction. The bank knows where it wants the studentsand it isn't at the teller windows clogging up service to its regular customers. Classifying Customers In reality, most companies can't segment their customers as sharply as Shouldice Hospital and University National Bank & Trust do; the set of existing customers is usually too diverse to be stuffed into a single pigeonhole. The problem is most difficult, of course, for manufacturers because they usually sell to a wide range of buyers and use distribution channels that insulate them from direct knowledge about their customers.

Ranking customers by their value is essential for any service operation that must live with big swings in aggregate demand and can't adjust capacity quickly to meet those swings. Ranks or tiers are the key to allocation. When capacity is short, smart suppliers give top-tier customers first claim on service and cut back on service to lower value customers. That's what popular restaurants do at peak dining times by finding tables for regulars and keeping newcomers waiting, and it's what American and Japanese semiconductor makers do when capacity is short and they fill the orders of long-term customers first.

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