TIME IS MONEY AT DISNEY'S THEME PARKS
Everyone goes 0 Disney theme parks, p-everyone has to wait in lines. (Vlei. almost everyone.) And most people hate to wait in these lines. Now some people have ways to avoid these lines.Disney's policy is that everyone is a VIP, but the reality is that some are more VIP than others.For an additional cost of $50-$60 per ticket, you can buy a theme park VIP tour. This will get you sp social privileges such as viewing shows from preferred seating to a personal escort on and off certain attractions. This service isn't very widely known, and you almost have "to jump through hoops to obtain it. Another way to avoid waiting lines is to be a celebrity or top business executive. Disney reasons that the top executive or celebrity is an attraction in and of itself, and ,.tries to let that celebrity enjoy his or her stay at the park as well as retaining a modicum of anonymity. Another way to get this so-called star treatment is to work for a company that sponsors the ride. It just takes a little savvy, like having a business card from your organization, knowing how to ask the right people with the right words, and you're there! Other rides (that your company may not be affiliated with) are available simply by networking. Ye~another way of avoiding these waiting lines is to spend big bucks at the hotel. Just put down an extra $300 a night for a stay on one of the special concierqe floors and your concierge may even jump through hoops to accommodate your wishes a,nd give you special passes. The best way to endpre a theme park, unless you're exceptionally rich or a very special person? Grin and bear it, and wait in line. Who knows? You might even meet anew friend.In providing fast service. however, the real goal of service managers should not be to ensure that customer are served within a specified time (e.g., a stated number of minutes),hut rather to ensure that customers are sufficiently satisfied with the level of service provided so that they will want to return in the future.
Customer Waiting Time versus Process Efficiency: The Trade-Off in Waiting Line Management
The classical operations management model relating service and cost. illustrated in Exhibit 11.2. shows the trade-off between the cost of providing fast service and the cost of having the customer wait. This trade-off between providing high levels of customer service (i.e .service) and obtaining high worker productivity results from the direct interaction of the customer with the service-producing process. Although easily understood in theory, this model is not easily applied to real-world situations, due primarily to the difficulty associated with measuring the cost of having a customer wait, particularly when we are dealing with external customers (that is, customers who buy the goods and services offered hy the firm). With internal customers (that is, workers within the company that require a particular service). such a. a truck driver waiting for an order to deliver or a worker waiting in line to use a copy machine. the cost of waiting is much easier to measure. In these cases, the cost of waiting i. the time lost by the worker while waiting in line multiplied by that worker's hourly age. (Several examples of waiting-rime COSh relative to internal customer" are presented in the supplement to this chapter.) In compare ng a service operation with a manufacturing firm. customers waIling for service are often ed as being analogous to inventory in a manufacturing process. Thus. a service firm that increases it prices efficiency by having - for service parallels a manufacturing firm that increases its process off-inch by maintaining a work-in-process
inventory. In both instances. management faces a trade-off between improving process efficiency and increasing waiting time or inventory. The difference between the two. however. is that in the manufacturing facility, the parts that are waiting are inanimate objects. whereas in the service operation they are actual people in the form of customers. An inherent assumption in the model presented in Exhibit 11.2 is that the contact workers or available service capacity remain idle when there are no customers to serve. The basis for this assumption lies in queuing theory (which is discussed in detail in the supplement to this chapter). which establish the mathematical relationship between the number of servers or station" assigned and the average customer waiting time for a given level of demand. With this traditional approach to waiting line management, there exists an "optimal"waiting time. T.,. that minimizes the sum of the two cost components: the cost of having a customer wait and the cost of providing service. However, as presented later in this chapter, there are a variety of ways that service managers can reduce customer waiting times without increasing costs.