Discussions about what kind of methods that operating manager could employ to improve customer satisfaction and operating performance It is known that the overall economic environment is tough to many firms and customers at these days. For many organizations within service sector, it is relatively more vulnerably to the recession or slightly economic growth rate. One of the most important reasons to explain is that many firms in service industry cannot provide enough differentiated products to customers, many have to survive through “price competition” so that capture more customers. However, these kinds of “cost advantage” are relatively simple, they are not based on production technology improvement or newly competitive management or marketing strategies, but thanks to cut off staff or decrease the service quality to customers. As a result, the operating performance might not be improved enough and the customer satisfaction could be decreased in many cases. It is critical to think about some methods that could be used to improve customer satisfaction and operating performance effectively and efficiently. In the first place, it is necessary to recognize that there is no universal principle available for any operating manager to employ. They have to identify what kind of business they are conducting or which kind of groups are the most valuable customers to them. The first question is straightforward to nearly all managers, but the latter question requires managers to collect sales data regularly and do enough statistical analysis. In addition, some of them might need to do some market investigation so that form a solid bridge between customer’s preferences with the characteristics of their products. For example, Porsche, as one of the most luxurious car brand in the world, any potential customers could make their own cars with many selective components from its official website, some of customers might make order immediately once they finish on- line choices (http://www.porsche.com/usa/). In fact, it is consistent with the balance between production capacity and consumer demand. Or, in other words, such brands like Porsche or BMW, they are not only satisfying customers’ current needs and wants, but creating wants or demands for customers in advance and maximize their satisfactions as well. Raymond et al. (2010) discussed a very special case, Apple Inc, which is the most valuable company in the world (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/apple-most-valuable-company), they follow production orientation that the operating philosophy based on simply delivering great products to customers. They do not really care what consumer wants, but they are absolutely confidential that consumers would love their products. However, this strategy is too unique to copy to others easily, but for those focus on R&D and have enough market power to beat other peers. At the same time, managers need to be very careful about the operating performance, sales and profits are always the most indicators about that. In this phase, it is time for managers to consider designing several incentives to their staff. Since no matter how great the strategy it is, employees are always the key part to deliver services to customers. Some retailing companies such as Amway or Mary Kay, which are highly concerned about marketing and sales person recruitment (http://www.amway.com & http://www.marykay.com). They usually are willing to transform their previous customers to their current sales force and make use of individual employee’s social network so that boost their sales and popularity as much as possible. At the same time, through handing out generous bonuses to sales persons, which form an effective interests relations between employees and company. At last, through the discussions above, which release at least one central message that operating managers need to do enough research and analysis works to know the customer base of their companies. Then, managers need to know how to connect their production capacities with customers’ current needs and wants, or more advanced level, create new wants for customers with firm’s current or future production technology and capacity. In terms of operating performance, managers have to know how to make suitable policies so that offer fair and reasonable incentives to their employees and achieve greater operating performance. References Porsche, 2012 retrieved from http://www.porsche.com/usa/ Amway, 2012 retrieved from http://www.amway.com Mary Kay, 2012 retrieved from http://www.marykay.com New York Times, 2011 retrieved from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/apple-most-valuable-company/ Tanner, J. & Raymond, M.A., Principles of Marketing, Flat World Knowledge 2010

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