Quality & Service

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You Can’t Afford to Please Everyone

While giving customers what they want — and as rapidly as possible — may be a worthy goal for service organizations, Amy R. Ward at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business notes that businesses can’t always afford to do this. Her research uses probability to understand how best to align resources with customer demand and improve operational efficiency on a day-to-day basis.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Customer Participation

Even though frontline employees are committed to advancing the objectives of the business, they sometimes see themselves as caught between representing the views of customers and what they think is reasonable. To preserve morale, businesses must keep employees engaged and confident that management has their backs.

Digital Success Requires Breaking Rules

  • Column

  • Column
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Developing new rules for the digital age is proving uncomfortable for people at every organizational level. Digitization (the transformation for operational excellence) requires top-down leadership principles with centralized accountabilities, while success with digital business (the transformation toward rapid innovation) requires local empowerment with distributed accountabilities. These are basically opposite approaches to accountability, but they’re both necessary.

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Planning for the Human-Digital Workforce

  • Video | Runtime: 1:03:22

Automation is a scary word for the average worker, but implemented correctly, it can have enormous benefits for companies, customers, and even the workforce. In this webinar, automation expert Mary Lacity explains how thoughtful adoption of bots and automated services can make the difference in the outcome for all stakeholders.

How Should Companies Talk to Customers Online?

Digital customer service is becoming more widely adopted, but one place it falls short is in the language and phrases it uses. Many digital service platforms use words that alienate customers rather than engage them; selecting customer-centric language for chatbots and service platforms can make a significant difference in customer satisfaction.

How Innovative Partnerships Are Changing Health Care Delivery

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 13 min 

Innovation is transforming the health care industry, with unlikely collaborators teaming up to provide higher-quality, lower-cost services. In this interview with MIT SMR, Harvard Business School professor Regina Herzlinger, an expert in health care delivery and innovation, discusses recent collaborations between retailers and insurers, such as CVS’s partnership with Aetna and Walmart’s with Humana, and explains why hospitals and other providers must be more innovative, too.

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Want the Best Results From AI? Ask a Human

Companies are adopting artificial intelligence at an accelerated pace — and learning that developing and deploying AI is not like implementing a standard software program. Before diving into AI systems, companies should consider three principles that can greatly improve the chances for a successful outcome. First, they need to recognize that humans and machines are in this together. Second, they need to teach the AI systems with a lot of data. And third, they need to continually test what the systems have learned.

Using Analytics to Improve Customer Engagement

The 2018 Data & Analytics Global Executive Study and Research Report by MIT Sloan Management Review finds that innovative, analytically mature organizations make use of data from multiple sources: customers, vendors, regulators, and even competitors. The report, based on MIT SMR’s eighth annual data and analytics global survey of over 1,900 business executives, managers, and analytics professionals, explores companies leading the way with analytics and customer engagement.

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Seizing Opportunity in Data Quality

Bad data is the norm. Every day, businesses send packages to customers, managers decide which candidate to hire, and executives make long-term plans based on data provided by others. When that data is incomplete, poorly defined, or wrong, there are immediate consequences: angry customers, wasted time, and added difficulties in the execution of strategy. Getting in front on data quality is crucial, and presents a terrific opportunity to improve business performance.

Digital Audits as a Tactical and Strategic Management Resource

  • Read Time: 6 min 

New factory audit processes help companies that outsource production to evaluate supplier performance in more depth, leading to more effective decision-making. Three key issues that hamper modern auditing — standardization, cost inflation, and fraud — are being mitigated by new systems that automate the inspection process while tailoring it to specific inputs. The result: analytical capabilities that go beyond the classic audit model.

Big Data and IT Talent Drive Improved Patient Outcomes at Schumacher Clinical Partners

Changing consumer expectations, new regulations, and an influx of patient data has created a perfect storm for health care organizations like Schumacher Clinical Partners to rethink how they leverage digital tools to better serve their patients and providers.

Cultivating a Culture of Cross-Functional Teaming and Learning at CarMax

The days when buying a used car meant “kicking the tires” and wading through a hard sales pitch are gone. With customer expectations evolving in a rapidly changing digital environment, digital dealership CarMax’s product development teams are “all about developing customer-facing and associate-enabling technologies,” says CIO Shamim Mohammad — but the focus is on the teamwork, not the tech.

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