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Question 1.0 Failure of the shuttle company to deliver the promise
The promise given by the company to the customer is that: if the customer reserve the service in advance, he or she would receive the priority service to be picked up by a dedicated van delivered to do the transportation. And the only thing that the customer needs to do was to go the the place to wait for the pickup which was described as “arriving soon”.
But the shuttle company failed to deliver the promise in four major aspects:
(a) first of all, the dedicated van ordered to pick up the customer never show up at least within the 35 minutes since the customer had been waiting there, in the right place. But in contrast, the customer was told that the van will be arriving very soon, hence, the company actually failed to deliver the promise to provide fast transportation pickup service.
(b) Secondly, there had been many vans passing by the customer, but the company never considers the customer as “priority” and asks one of these vans to provide transportation service to the customer and replace the van that was obviously coming in lateness. The rationality is very simple, if the customer was the priority to the company, then the company should make his or her need the priority, but the fact that many vans passed by and just let the customer waiting alone actually broke this promise in term of giving “priority” service.
(c) thirdly, still we talk about the promise to provide priority service to the customer, if the author is considered as priority customer then the company would have difficulty to explain that fact that the van that actually pick up the customer would have to wait for another two passengers before it could leave the airport which took another 10 minutes. And the most importantly, the dispatcher had never asked the permission from the customer to wait for another couple who were supposed to sit in this van.
(d) fourthly, when the dispatcher first receive the report from the driver passing by indicating the existence of this case, if he or she had check with the driver of the correct van the company should have known what happen to the correct van and how much longer it will take for the correct van to arrive, but the customer had not been updated about what happen but instead the author was informed that the correct one will arrive within a moment which turned out to be very long because the customer wait for another 15 but still had not seen the correct van.
In all these four ways, the final result is that the customer was very angry and unhappy with the company’s priority service which seemed to be sarcastic in that particular scenario. And the main responsibility of the event could be blamed on the decisions made by the dispatcher who played a critical role in this situation.
Question 2.0 Appropriateness issue in the dispatcher’s decisions
Let us first look at all the decisions made by the dispatcher from the beginning to the end of this case. At the very beginning, when one driver said that there was a customer waiting for van for 20 minute, the dispatcher should have know that there would be a high possibility of delay which could be quite long but the dispatcher decided to manage the customer by promising that the correct van would be arriving soon. Then when the second driver in similar situation reported to the dispatcher about that the customer was still waiting for the correct van which was another 15 minutes after the last report made to the dispatcher. The dispatcher granted the kind driver’s request to change the driving route to send the customer to the hotel but he or she did not allow the driver the leave the airport until another 10 minutes passed and the couple whom should be picked up by this van finally get in the van.
We will say that the dispatcher’s decisions were not very appropriate in three major aspects:
(a) first of all, the dispatcher from the very beginning did not mentioned to the driver that what happened to the correct van and how long it took actually for the van to come to the customer. If the dispatcher knew that within the coming 15 minutes the van would not be able to show up, it was really not appropriate that the dispatcher told the customer that the correct van will arrive in the airport to pick up the customer momentarily who made the customer misunderstand the van was almost there.
(b) Secondly, if the dispatcher knew that within the coming 15 minutes the van would not be able to show up, the dispatcher should at the very beginning send another van to pick up customer rather than kept him waiting for 35 minutes which was really not appropriate in term of enjoying a priority service as promised by the company. Since there were many vans came to the airport and departure from the airport, it could be possible that the dispatcher send another van to do this case first if the customer of that van had not arrived.
(c) Thirdly, what key inappropriateness that the dispatcher had made was that he or she should not insist that the van that picked up the customer finally waited for the original customers before departing the airport. Since this cause another 10 minutes during which the customer was waiting in the van in the airport for the additional two passengers, it was understandable that the customer felt unhappy about this arrangement since the customer had already waiting there for 35 minute. Obviously, the dispatcher’s decision had prolonged the total travelling time for the customer to get in a van and finally departed the airport.
Question 3.0 Policy changes to be carried out to improve the service quality level
The company policy users could be categorized into two major groups: external company policy users such as the customers and the internal company policy users such as the drivers and dispatchers who are the employees of the company. Therefore, we will talk about the possible policies changes in these two categories but they are all designed to improve the service quality level as perceived by the final customers.
External company policy changes
The company should add clear remarks in the advertisement that under the unexpected situations, with much regret the delay of the arrival of the van could happen but the company would try its best to provide assistance to the customers. Such indication in the advertisement could be in small sized words in the edge of the advertisement to inform the customer that the pickup service is subject to some unexpected and uncontrollable factors, for example, we can not control the traffic jam or avoid the car accidents for all the time.
The company could make clear term and conditions in any of its promotional materials or website that if the unexpected delay of service what compensation policy would be offered to the customer as to recover the customer confidence. For example, the following compensation policy could be adopted.
For reservation service, the van should be ready within 10 minutes since the customers call the company. Compensation policies include:
If the van lateness is ranged from 10-15 minutes, then a next time free transportation service would be granted to the involved customers within the coming 6 months.
If the van lateness is ranged from 15-30 minutes, the next two times free transportation service would be granted to the involved customers within the coming 6 months.
If the van lateness is 30 minutes and above, the next two times free transportation service would be granted to the involved customers within the coming 12 months and also a $60 cash rebate would be given to the customer onsite by the driver on behalf of the company. .
Internal company policy changes
In term of the internal company policy changes, there could be two major changes.
(a) Drivers who observe that there are customers waiting in the place for our service for a long time should report immediately to the company for further handling. Such reporting would be rewarded in term of incentive pay to encourage the drivers to extend more care to the customers and help the customers to enjoy better
(b) What is more, the internal company policy would provide more empowerment and flexibility for both the driver and the dispatcher to handle the problems to better serve the customer especially in the exceptional case like what can see in this case.
Both the internal and external policies changes make sure that the company have such rules to be followed by the employees and the customers could use such rules and policies to protect and claim their rights.
Question 4.0 Lessons about customer focus, empowerment and leadership in this case
Customer focus could be defined as the orientation of an organization toward serving its customers’ needs (Kotler, Shalowitz & Stevens 2010). There are lessons to be studied in this case involving an unsuccessful customer handling in this area. Though the company has stated in the advertisement that the customers who reserve the service would priority arrangement but it turned out to be a promise breaking. So from the customer perspective, his or her needs to be picked up as soon as possible in the airport had not been satisfied and the company should changes its policy to put the customer in the priority place.
The term employee empowerment refers to practices whereby company leaders make the decision to extend more decision-making power to lower-level employees (Potterfield 1999, p. 45). There are lessons to be studied in this case involving an unsuccessful customer handling in this area. First of all, the drivers who met with the long waiting customer could do nothing but only to tell the dispatcher and ask for permission to help the customer, if they have more empowerment to handle this case, the results could be different. And in term of the dispatcher, he or she could have limited authorization to ask another van to pick up the waiting customers. More empowerment should be given to the dispatcher to make flexible decisions to provide better service and customer experience in term of customer oriented arrangements. But on the other hand, a balance between empowerment and the operation efficiency should be maintained to make sure that all the customers’ needs are addressed because the company could not take care of one single customer while resulting in inconveniences to other customers. And therefore such empowerment should be backed up by more resources such as more vans to be used in emergency scenarios.
Leadership is usually considered as an influence relationship between the leaders and the followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their share purposes (Draft & Lane 2008, p. 4). There are lessons to be studied in this case involving an unsuccessful customer handling in this area. First of all, the leadership in the company should show care and empathy to the customer in the particular cases. In another word the management of the company should put the customer satisfaction in the priority place rather than giving the contact number to the customer for further complain making, Secondly, the leaders should give more empower to the subordinates to handle the similar case with more flexibility based on the particular case to put the customer in the priority place because if an employee encounters too many limitations in helping the customers, such effort would not be effective.
Draft, R. L. & Lane, P. G. 2008, The Leadership Experience. Natrop Boulevard Mason, OH: Thomson Higher Boulevard. p. 4
Kotler, P. K., Shalowitz, M. D. & Stevens, R. J. 2010. Strategic Marketing For Health Care Organizations. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Potterfield, T. A. 1999, The Business of Employee Empowerment: Democracy and Ideology in the Workplace. West Port, CT: The Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 45