The article written br Frances Frei deals with the idea that for firms to be successful, they must first realize that the customer can greatly hinder or help them succeed in their goals. Frei describes that the customer is an integral part of production in a service company and there are four elements that must be combined in order to fully succeed in customer service. Learning from the customers is one of the most important parts to succeeding and combining these elements in order to ensure this success. The problem the article addresses is how to combine these four elements in order to gain the most success out of a service business. The four elements are the offering, funding mechanism, employee management system and the customer management system. The balance of each of these elements is vital to the success of the company and it is up to the management team to uniquely combine these elements in order to ensure their success.
The offering is the first element to understand in order to ensure the success of the business. If the product/service offering is flawed, there is no way the company will survive. The first take away that I really found interesting was that service excellence can be defined as what the business chooses not to do well. The path to excellence through inferior performance is a very odd concept for me to grasp. It seems as if though my personal definition of excellence is doing as many things as well as possible. However, Frei describes this is simply not the case. In order to excel at some aspects, a business must sacrifice other aspects that may not be as important. It is up to management to define and determine these aspects that will be less focused on in order to ensure that the company excels. Once the author provides some examples of this concept, it begins to make more sense to me. For example, in order for a store to stay open longer it must charge more to its customers in order to pay employees...
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