Tag Archives: Service

If It Weren’t for Those Pesky Customers, Mr. Dell

In the NYT’s article this week about Dell’s recent decline, what struck me most was how far Dell had strayed from its original obsession with customers.  My sense had always been that Dell’s  low-cost fanaticism was in many ways similar …

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Unsolicited Advice for Michelle’s New Chief of Staff


Congratulations.  Figuring out how to spend her political capital sounds like the greatest job in the world right now. Approval is not the same thing as impact. Don’t hide the arms. They’re the reason I still make it to the …

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Feed Our Need for Control

Americans are shaken, some of us to the core. We thought we were rich, and now we’re poor. We thought the future was ours, and now we wonder, for the first time in decades. We thought our lives were capable …

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Better Service Without Higher Costs

Managers today are fighting for a smaller share of smaller wallets. Many are in a defensive crouch, focused on retention and looking for ways to deliver greater value to their customers. Some companies see possibility in the inevitable churn this …

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Unsolicited Advice for Starbucks

Starbucks’ early success was the result of a lot of very smart, new thinking, including creating a market for higher-end coffee drinks and tapping into consumers’ need for a “third place” outside of work and home.  For many years it …

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Customers for Hire

Embracing the humanity of your customers has another distinct advantage — customers can also help you run your business. Companies that recognize that their customers are thinking/feeling/doing human beings often learn to work effectively with them to operate and improve …

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Fix the Copier

This same type of “calcification,” as you call it, can also creep into attitudes towards employees. Early in my career I worked at a company where there was minimal trust between employees and managers. Someone low in the organizational hierarchy …

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The Customer is Always Human

Political systems are not the only complex systems that can harden themselves against the people they’re designed to serve. Companies, too, can become disconnected from the humanity of their customers, often without even realizing it. This makes service difficult to …

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Seeking Exceptional Service Providers

We are looking for examples of exceptional service providers, preferably those with innovative models and/or those that are unheralded in the press. If you have a suggestion, please post as a comment or email me directly ffrei@hbs.edu. Thank you!

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The Demise of Airline Service

In her NYT OpEd, Ann Hood described the declining level of service experienced in-flight. This likely resonates with everyone who has flown consistently over the last ten years. It is also emblematic of a larger decline in service as documented …

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