The Importance of Good Service
As stated previously in Chapter 2, those companies in both manufacturing and service operations that provide outstanding service-to their customers can achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace in todays highly competitive environment. And good service begins when the customer first comes in contact with an organization and waits in some type of line or queue prior to being served. There are many factors that contribute to good service, such as the friendliness and knowledge of workers, but customers' experiences with waiting lines, which are often their initial encounter with a firm, can significantly affect their overall level of satisfaction with the organization. Providing ever-faster service, with the ultimate goal of having zero customer waiting me, has race toy received managerial attention for several reasons. First. in the more highly developed countries, where standards of living-are rising, time becomes more valuable as a commodity and, consequently. customers are less willing to wait for service. As a result, customers in many cases are willing to py a premium price to those firms that mini- . maze their waiti g time. (See OM in Practice box on Disney's Theme Parks.)Another reason for this increased emphasis on providing fast and efficient service is the realization by organizations that how they treat their customers today significantly impacts on whether or not they will remain loyal customers tomorrow. This differs from the past, when the treatment of customers in the present was viewed to be independent of any potential future sales. This antiquated perspective has persisted because the impact of future customer behavior does not appear anywhere on the firm's financial statements. Finally, advances in technology. especially i~ information technology, have provided firms with the ability to provide faster service than was previously possible. Fax machines,computers, air. and satellite communications provide firms with this new capability to respond faster to the customer.