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Category >> Case Studies
Jul 02
2011

Delivery Problem Demonstrates Lack of Customer Perspective

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

Every day businesses make millions of deliveries to customers ranging from a pizza to $50,000.00+ items. In many ways, effective, on time deliveries are a hallmark of service.

One delivery issue, a small issue in the scheme of commerce, highlights how a business can fall short, and not understand the impact on customers.

A customer ordered 5 trees from a local nursery, and paid cash at time of purchase. The nursery agreed to deliver and plant the trees the following Wednesday morning. When the trees failed to show up, the customer called at 11:00 AM to follow up, and was told, “”We needed to have the crew that delivers the trees do other tasks at the nursery, we will be out in the afternoon.” No call was made to the customer explaining the delay earlier. One problem was, the customer kept the morning free, but had commitments in the afternoon and was unable to supervise the planting, asking the crew to plant as indicated by stakes.

Feb 26
2011

Case Study In Buying Cheep

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

Mark was looking at starting a well service business, drilling and servicing a large area in western Iowa. He believed the demand was great because the response time on repair calls was four to six days, and there was a waiting list of 90 days for new well drilling.

Mark determined that equipment would cost $225,000 and that he would need an additional $40,000 in operating funds before the business started generating cash. His wife, Martha, was uncomfortable because they only had $140,000 in savings and she didn’t want to go into debt.

Mark was unable to obtain a loan at the bank for the needed capital. Though he had an excellent reputation in the drilling business and he possessed the needed organizational skills to succeed, Martha was willing and able to conduct the bookkeeping and appointment scheduling, and there was an evident need in the market, he had key issues that he needed to address before moving forward:

Jan 31
2011

Case Study Auto Repair

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Herb specialized in rebuilding high-performance engines. He decided he wanted to be in business for himself, so he fired his boss and jumped into business ownership.

His first step, he decided, was to advertise wildly, but his money and effort did little to attract customers. He invested $65,000 for tools and equipment but only had 60 days of operating funds. Most of the work that came in was from customers with older cars that had blown engines and needed repair work to get back on the road. Unfortunately, most of these customers were looking for the cheapest price and weren’t willing to pay for Herb’s expertise. Business was slow and the margins were poor.

Jan 29
2011

Business Case Study Developing Better Procedures

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

Bill and Maureen owned three restaurants, Eggs & More, in a town of 125,000 people. The places opened at 5:50 AM, and closed at 8:00 PM, seven days a week. The couple each directly managed one place themselves, and they shared supervision of the third location.

Business was OK, but the third location was a drag. While some customers developed into regulars, the couple was disappointed in not developing repeat business. A review was conducted of each location. That uncovered the following results:

  • Customers were greeted differently, at times with a sign saying “seat yourself” while other times were asked to wait to be seated
  • At times the hostess immediately asked if the customer wanted water, coffee, or something to drink, and then filled that request
  • Other times the drink order was left for the waitress to fill
  • Recipes were the same, but different cooks adjusted ingredients to suit their tastes and ideas, resulting in some product variations between locations, and by shift resulting in customers receiving
  • Cooking standards were different, for example poached eggs ordered medium could be runny, or cooked through depending on the cook
  • Portions were inconstant depending on the kitchen staff causing some customers to feel shortchanged
  • A health department cited the third location for numerous health code violations   
  • In summary, the food was inconsistent especially when Bill or Maureen were on duty at a restaurant.

After the review, written standards were established and staff was trained to those standards. As a result, the health code problem was eliminated, customer satisfaction improved, and business grew 15% over the next year.    

Jan 15
2011

Case Study- a Bad Experience

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

“Metro Fitness” offered fitness programs. The business model was customers would sign up for a short term commitment, usually a series of training sessions priced between $250-$400.00.  The client would schedule times and one trainer would work with three clients at a time. The idea was to blend personal attention at a lower cost then using a personal trainer. A contract was signed, payment made in advance, and was non refundable.

“Tom” arrived for the first session. The place was busy and the receptionist said to jump on an open treadmill and someone would be with him shortly.  Tom was wearing progressive glasses that made looking down difficult. Unfortunately the treadmill he stepped on was going full tilt and within seconds he was flat on his face. The damage was some scrapes, a strained knee, stiff neck and a sore shoulder.  Fortunately the injuries were real, but not serious.  Tom departed and went home.  The next day, Tom informed Metro Fitness he would not be returning, and requested a refund.