Quality Fires Up Service Industry the Service Sector Is Trying to Improve Performance of Employees by Utilizing Various Quantitative Methods like Those Used in Manufacturing

By Mark Trumbull, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, September 16, 1991 | Go to article overview

Quality Fires Up Service Industry the Service Sector Is Trying to Improve Performance of Employees by Utilizing Various Quantitative Methods like Those Used in Manufacturing


Mark Trumbull, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


THREE years ago USAA, an insurance company based in San Antonio, Texas, began using statistical measures to guage performance in its new-member service department.

That year, according to quality manager Jerry Gass, that department had its highest sales level and highest customer satisfaction ever, despite having fewer sales representatives.

Like USAA, other companies in the service sector are learning that quality and quantity go hand-in-hand.

Banks, hotels, and other companies are developing quantitative measures of how well employees are serving customers, and then trying to push the performance level to new highs - much as manufacturers work to track defects and then modify the production process to make errors less likely.

"You can't improve something unless you measure it first," says S. G. Johnson, chairman of the newly formed service-industries division of the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC), an 85,000-member organization based in Milwaukee.

But measuring the quality of a service is not as straightforward as for a product. Some companies, for example, track how long telephones ring before they are answered, or how long it takes for workers to handle calls. USAA expects 80 percent of calls to be answered within 20 seconds. But these benchmarks don't give a complete picture of how the customer was treated.

So USAA's program involves a "family of measures," which not only charts timeliness and productivity, but also includes customer surveys and quality audits. In the latter, managers listen in as employees serve customers by phone and give them a percentage ranking.

The push for quality is not new to the service sector. "Service companies have measured themselves and their competitors for decades," looking at factors such as the length of waiting-lines in stores, says Martin Stankard, a quality consultant in Westford, Mass.

However, "there are a lot of forces that are coming together right now" to make service companies pay more attention to quality, Mr. Johnson says. Among the factors he cites:

*-Customer demand. "People expect more today."

*-More publicity about the topic of quality.

*-Growing foreign competition. First, Japanese carmakers attacked Detroit; next may be United States hotel chains. Comparing US and Japanese attitudes toward quality, he says, "We don't believe in it like they do. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Quality Fires Up Service Industry the Service Sector Is Trying to Improve Performance of Employees by Utilizing Various Quantitative Methods like Those Used in Manufacturing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.