Dr. David Andrus
Themes Of My Presentation
Written Communications in a Service
Breakdowns in service delivery; service
does not meet customer expectations.
Planes are late, employees are rude or
inattentive, and maintenance of tangibles
surrounding service is imperfect.
Critical incidents: Moments of actual
interaction between customer and firm.
Categories of Service Failures
Employee responses to service failures
directly related to customer satisfaction.
Three categories of responses:
– Responses to service delivery system failures.
– Responses to customer needs and requests.
– Unprompted and unsolicited employee actions.
System and Delivery Failures
System failures: failures in core service
offering. Examples are spoiled food, warm
beer, unannounced change in flight
schedules, cold food, dirty plane.
Service delivery failure: employee response
to unavailable or unreasonably slow service,
and other core service failures.
Unavailable, Slow Service
Unavailable Service: Services normally
available are lacking or absent.
Unreasonably Slow Service: Services
customers perceive as being unreasonably
Customer Need/Request Failures
Customer Needs and Requests: employee
response to individual needs and special
Consumer needs can be implicit or explicit.
Implicit Needs: are not requested.
Explicit Needs: are overtly expected.
Special Needs, Preferences,
Employee responses to four types of
failures: special needs, customer
preferences, customer errors, and disruptive
Employee responses to special needs:
complying with requests based on a
customer’s special physiological,
sociological, or psychological difficulties.
Preparing a meal for a vegetarian would
fulfill a special request.
Employee response to customer
preferences require modification of service
delivery system to meet preferred customer
Customer request for substitution at
restaurant is typical customer preference.
Customer Error Service Failures
Employee response to customer error:
failure is initiated by an admitted customer
Examples of customer error are lost tickets,
lost hotel key, or forgot to tell waitress to
“hold the mustard.”
Disruptive Others Failure
Employee response to disruptive others
requires employee to settle disputes.
Requesting patrons to be quiet in movie
theaters or to smoke only in smoking
Too Much Attention Failure
Unprompted and unsolicited employee
actions: events and employee behaviors
that are totally unexpected by customers.
Employees can pay too much or too little
attention to customers.
Unusual action: reflects positive and
Domino’s employee sees family searching
through burnt-out remains of house during
delivery and gives free pizza.
Cultural Norms and Gestalt
Cultural norms: actions that reinforce
cultural norms such as equality, fairness,
and honesty, or violate cultural norms.
Violations include discriminatory behavior,
acts of dishonesty, and other activities
considered unfair by customers.
Gestalt subcategory: customer evaluations
made holistically:customers describe
service encounter as pleasant or terrible.
Adverse Condition Failures
Adverse conditions: positive and negative
employee actions under stressful conditions.
Employee takes effective control of
situation when others panic impressing
Outcome failure has to do with what you
actually receive in a service.
Company fails to fulfill basic need or
perform core service.
Customer doesn’t receive reserved hotel
room due to overbooking.
Process failure has to do with how you
receive a service.
Company provides service in a flawed or
Restaurant patron receives rude treatment
Dissatisfaction higher after process failure
than outcome failure.
Greatest impact on customer satisfaction
– An apology and a quick response for process
failures, such as inattentive service.
– Compensation for outcome failures, such as out
of stock conditions.
Well written prose can:
– Enhance telephone calls and professional sales
– help you contact many customers at once
– Let customers read sales correspondence at
– Enhance chances at promotion
– Enhance chances of getting an interview.
Write with a Customer Focus
Stress the benefits the customer will receive
and get their attention.
Customers respond well to people who
show an interest in them.
Highlight the reader’s needs, desires,
preferences, not your own.
Service Firm Correspondence
“You” words should outnumber “I,” “we,” and “my”
words by 4 to 1.
Your invoice is enclosed.
Begin the paragraph with a customer focus.
If you’re like most people, you will like this service.
Avoid negative phrases.
“Please call with your street address,” not that “you failed to give
us your address.”
Respond specifically to a request.
Thank you for your interest in our cellular telephone. The phone
has a 90 day warranty.
Service Firm Letters
Business letters inform, persuade, request
information, or express goodwill.
– The goal of the letter
– The points you want to cover
– Why the customer should read it
– What you want the customer to get out of it.
Service Firm Letters
Get right to the point.
Use action verbs such as “save, get, profit, and
Be clear, concise, and eliminate unnecessary
Write in the active voice and proofread for
grammar and spelling.
Describe the action the customer should take and
State your reason for the email in the first
Email is not private and 38.2% of firms
monitored employees’ email in 2000.
Write concisely and formally. Busy
customers do not have time to read
Avoid sarcasm and humor.
Do not type in all capital letters or all lower case
letters. It looks unprofessional.
Include your full name, phone number, and title in
Check your email at least twice a day and respond
within 24 hours.
Do not use emoticons such as in business
writing. They are unprofessional.
Focus on the customer’s needs, be cordial, and
proofread what you’ve written.