MANAGEMENT is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; LEADERSHIP determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall - Stephen Covey

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Customers Failing?

Recently, I read an article titled “How to Prevent Your Customers From Failing” on Sloan Management Review (SMR) that talks about customers often being caught up in the design or delivery of services, and in this respect, functioning as co-producers of the service and sometimes resulting in failing to perform their roles effectively. The authors cite research indicating that customers cause about nearly one-third of all service problems (remember we say CUSTOMER IS KING!!??).

To study the issue of customer failure and its prevention, the authors conducted interviews with managers and customers in a variety of industries about experiences of customer failure, developed case studies related to the topic and conducted secondary research to identify examples of best practices in customer-failure prevention. From their research, the authors conclude that recovering from instances of customer failure is difficult, in part because the customer and the company may have different views of the causes of the problem. As a result, companies should focus on preventing customer failures (obviously, PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!)

The authors have devised an effective three-step approach:
1) To collect diagnostic data about where customer failures occur.
2) To analyze the root causes of cases of customer failure — whether the root causes are issues of technology, people, processes or the design of the physical environment that customers encounter.
3) To establish preventive solutions, such as process redesign.
In conclusion, the authors cite a number of examples of companies that try to prevent customer failures. Nice read for all those who say 'Customer is King!'.


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