It is time for U.S. companies to raise their service aspirations significantly and for U.S. executives to declare war on mediocre service and set their sights on consistently excellent service, say the authors. This goal is within reach if managers will provide the necessary leadership, remember that the sole judge of service quality is the customer, and implement what the authors call the “five service imperatives.”
1. “Where the Jobs Are Is Where the Skills Aren’t,” Business Week, 19 September 1988, pp. 104–108.
2. L.L. Berry, D.L. Bennett, and C.W Brown, Service Quality— A Profit Strategy for Financial Institutions (Homewood, Illinois: Dow Jones-Irwin, 1989), p. 51.
3. R.H. Waterman, Jr., The Renewal Factor (New York: Bantam Books, 1987), p. 73.
4. R.B. Reich, “Entrepreneurship Reconsidered: The Team as Hero,” Harvard Business Review, May–June 1987, pp. 77–83.
5. M. Lieber, “Managing for Service Excellence in a Turbulent Environment,” (Boston: Speech at an American Marketing Association conference, 25 February 1987).
6. A. Questrom (College Station, Texas: Presentation at Texas A&M University, 20 April 1989).
7. “Work Teams Can Rev Up Paper-Pushers, Too,” Business Week, 28 November 1988, pp. 64–72.
8. As quoted in “The Quest for Quality,” The Royal Bank Letter, November–December 1988.
9. J.A. Goodman, T. Marra, and L. Brigham, “Customer Service: Costly Nuisance or Low-Cost Profit Strategy?” Journal of Retail Banking, Fall 1986, pp. 7–16.
The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Marketing Science Institute.