November 11, 2010

Learning Service Management through Sesame Street: Accommodation Strategy

I'm still a pretty slow learner and Sesame Street is at about the right level for me:

I watched this video with my son tonight and it reminded me of the HBR article titled "Breaking the Trade-Off Between Efficiency and Service" by Francis Frei.  Professor Frei brings up the librarians problem, mainly that sometimes customers might want something that is not usually offered (um num num..cookies...)  and service providers have to make a choice to accommodate or not.  She argues that services that choose to accommodate special requests have higher levels of perceived service experience, but also have higher costs.  She encourages service providers to think about different types of customer induced variance when trying to create an accommodation strategy.

The library, for example, is a pretty low accommodation service, but how could it maintain its low cost while adding a degree of accommodation?  One way would be to create a self-service option that could provide some cookies in the library (vending machine).  Another way would be to outsource some cookie production to another service provider that has the capabilities of producing cookies at a low cost.  Finally, the library could maintain its "books only" policy by, as Frie puts it,  "limiting the service breadth." I read that as meaning create a service process for which customers will not ask for special accommodation.  In the case of the library maybe these means switch completely to e-books - if Cookie Monster still wants a cookie, send him am electronic tracking cookie...

This post was brought to you by the letters C and A and the number 4.

No comments:

Post a Comment