09 Jan 2013  Sharpening Your Skills

Understanding Customers

In these previous articles, professors discuss a range of topics about customers: why they are not always right; understanding their motivations; providing them dramatically enhanced services; and making things right when you don't meet their expectations.

 

Questions to be Answered

  • What's the biggest obstacle to excellence in service organizations?
  • Should I do what my customers tell me to do?
  • How can I understand my customers better?
  • After the screw-up, what next?

What's the biggest obstacle obstacle to excellence in service organizations?

Break Your Addiction to Service Heroes

In their new book, Uncommon Service, coauthors Frances Frei and Anne Morriss show it is possible for organizations to reduce costs while dramatically enhancing customer service. The key? Don't try to be good at everything.

Should I do what my customers tell me to do?

Customer Feedback Not on elBulli's Menu

At its height, Chef Ferran AdriÓ's elBulli restaurant may have been the most popular in the world, but why? In professor Michael Norton's course, students learn about marketing from a business owner who says he doesn't care whether or not customers like his product.

How can I understand my customers better?

Empathy: The Brand Equity of Retail

Retailers can offer great product selection and value, but those who lack empathy for their customers are at risk of losing them, says professor Ananth Raman.

After the screw-up, what next?

JetBlue's Valentine's Day Crisis

It was the Valentine's Day from hell for JetBlue employees and more than 130,000 customers. Under bad weather, JetBlue fliers were trapped on the runway at JFK for hours, many ultimately delayed by days. How did the airline make it right with customers and learn from its mistakes? A discussion with Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Huckman.

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Comments

    • Kapil Kumar Sopory
    • Company Secretary, SMEC(India) Private Limited

    In my view, customer related excellence in service organisations does not receive the attention it deserve probably because nothing tangible is being manufactured which could come for immediate comment. Service, in a sense, is something abstract reaction to which is directly proportional to the sensitivity of the customer - time-frame for completion of the task/job/service does matter however. We have to be very receptive to the demands of the customers which have to be examined keeping attendant factors in view and implemented to the extent possible. Frequent interactions to know the customer by stepping into his shoes is always necessary. The idea is to create a win-win situation. Lot of patience and forward planning is required to solve "screw-up' situations. There are no tailor-made solutions and each case needs special treatment. It is here that the service provider's experience, skill and patience receive the test of his ability and acumen.