Thursday, April 21, 2005


There’s a very interesting –and useful- article by David Maister titled The Psychology of Waiting Lines.

Here’s a brief outline of Mr. Maiser’s piece:

  1. People Want to Get Started.
  2. Anxiety Makes Waits Seem Longer.
  3. Uncertain Waits Are Longer than Known, Finite Waits.
  4. Unexplained Waits Are Longer than Explained Waits.
  5. Unfair Waits Are Longer than Equitable Waits.
  6. The More Valuable the Service, the Longer the Customer Will Wait.
  7. Solo Waits Feel Longer than Group Waits.

Recommended reading if your customers have to wait for any reason during service encounters.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Can’t buy me loyalty... or can it?

Darrell Zahorsky, who manages the Small Business Information topic in, has an article about customer loyalty titled “Can Customer Loyalty be Bought?”

Read it, and you’ll be rewarded with the Eight Ways for Small Business to Earn Customer Loyalty.

(Via Church of the Customer)

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Power of Saying Thank You

Some tips for expressing gratitude to your customers and other business associates. Link to the full article coming up after the list:

  1. Throw a bash that boosts their business.
  2. Be warm and personal.
  3. But know that timing counts.
  4. Pass along compliments.
  5. Send value-added appreciation.
  6. Consider when to send for maximum impact.
  7. Be quirky.
  8. Appreciate employees.
  9. Thank your complaining customers.
  10. Don't go over the top.
  11. Feel the power.

Source? Microsoft's Small Business Center. (See? They are not the bad guys some people say!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Measuring Service Quality with Quantitative Data – an example

The 2005 Airline Quality Rating received quite some press coverage earlier this month. This report (pdf) is conducted by Brent Bowen, director and professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Dean Headley, associate professor of marketing at Wichita State University.

The Rating is basically a weighed average of data collected and disseminated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The criteria and their weights are as follows:

  • On-Time Performance (Flight Delays) (+8.63)
  • Involuntary Denied Boardings (Oversales) (-8.03)
  • Mishandled Baggage Reports (-7.92)
  • Consumer Complaints (filed at the DOT) (-7.17)

This year’s “winner”? JetBlue.

This is an example on how quantitative data can be used to measure customer service quality.

Technorati Tags: Customer Service Business

Friday, April 08, 2005

Operating Hours

At the door of most businesses, there’s a sign like this:

Operating Hours
Mon-Fri 9AM to 7 PM
Sat-Sun 10 AM to 6 PM

¿Are these the hours when customers can do business?
¿Or are these the working hours of the employees?
A customer that arrives at 6:59PM expects an establishment open for business, not an employee locking the doors of a dark store.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Management by Fear

It’s noon on a Saturday, no breakfast yet. I saw a family restaurant nearby (No names, just its initials: I.H.O.P.), so I decided to go there.

The place was crowded; I was promptly seated and asked for coffee. After looking at the menu, I ask for a Turkey Sandwich.

After almost half an hour, Turkey Sandwich arrives. At the first bite, my teeth find the frozen tomato slices inside. After considering the pros and cons of returning the sandwich, (another 30 minutes?) I decided to keep eating the sandwich sans the subzero produce.

But wait. There’s more.

The taste of the soft drink was terrible, so I continued with my coffee.

At the register, I asked the cashier if someone read the comments in the suggestion box: “Oh yes! The manager reads them all! But he’s off for the day. Do you have a comment?” she asked.

After explaining the icy tomato and the flat soda, I asked the cashier if the manager actually does something with the comments inside the box:

“Well, he reprimands the guilty employee, and if it’s the third time, the employee is fired”

As you can imagine, the suggestion box is not the most noticeable feature of the cash register counter.

“So it’s management by fear”, I reply.

“Kind of…” was her answer.

I took a suggestion card and kept it. Apparently, the manager’s approach was not working.

Technorati Tags: Customer Service Business

Monday, April 04, 2005

After some days of self-inflicted hiatus, we are back.

After some days of self-inflicted hiatus, we are back.

HBR does it again: April’s issue of Harvard Business Review has an article titled The Quest for Customer Focus by Ranjay Gulati and James B. Oldroyd, both from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Try to get your hands on it. I won’t spoil it for you.

Technorati Tags: Customer Service Business