Customer Focus for Strategic Advantage Assignment Solutions
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You are employed as Head of Telephone Sales at Crabtrees Ltd, a long-established company in a growing industry. The industry is attracting many new competitors who are offering cheaper products. Recently Crabtrees Ltd has lost some of its share of the market to the new competitors. The Senior Management Team (SMT) at Crabtrees Ltd has decided to implement a new strategy to try to regain its former share of the market. The new strategy involves offering the best customer service in the industry. Your manager, the Sales Director, has asked you to lead a project within the company to improve customer service. She has asked you to develop your understanding of customer focus for strategic advantage and to advise the SMT on this before you start your project.
Your manager has asked you to produce a written discussion paper for the next SMT meeting on the strategic customer service aims of organisations and the customer service values. She has asked that you look at other organisations, not your own, for this purpose, so that you can learn from best practice. The discussion paper must include:
- a critical analysis of the links between customer focus and organisational values, vision, mission and objectives
- an analysis of customer expectations and preferences in the context of an organisation’s service offer
- an explanation of the connections between customer service strategy and an organisation’s market positioning
- an analysis of how financial performance and business growth imperatives impact on customer service strategies
- a comparison of the importance of customer retention and one-off customer satisfaction when sustaining and developing competitive advantage.
AC 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5
Your paper led to a constructive debate at SMT and there was a specific request for more information on the contribution that a listening organisation makes to the achievement of a customer service vision. You have been asked to show your findings on this topic in a briefing paper for circulation to SMT members. The briefing paper must include:
- an examination of the concept of a listening organisation
- an explanation of the importance of customer and employee feedback in achieving a customer service vision
- a comparison of the benefits to organisations of different methods of listening to customers
- an evaluation of measures that can be used to analyse information collected about customer opinions and experiences.
AC 2.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3
Following the circulation of the paper one member of the SMT, the Head of Human Resources, has asked your manager if you could find out about the links between people development, empowerment and the implementation of customer service strategies and also about communication, recognition and reward actions that contribute to customer service strategies. Your manager has asked you to prepare a report on this for her and the Head of Human Resources. The report must be in two sections. The first section must include:
- a critical examination of approaches to people development in the context of customer service strategies
- an assessment of leadership actions which contribute to empowerment in customer service
- an analysis of the connections between people development, empowerment and customer service strategies
- an explanation of why empowerment is an important part of continuous improvement in customer service.
AC 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4
In the second section of the report you must:
- examine how managers use recognition and reward of staff to support customer service strategy
- explain how motivation and performance models and theories contribute to the achievement of customer service objectives
- evaluate the options available to communicate with key stakeholders about customer service strategies
- examine the reasons why it is important to present customer service strategies persuasively to stakeholders.
AC 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4
Your report led to a useful discussion between your manager and the Head of Human Resources. Your manager has now asked you to find out how customer service strategy and objectives contribute to the development of customer-driven processes. She has asked you to prepare a presentation and detailed notes for her to present at the next SMT meeting. The presentation and detailed notes must include:
- a consideration of how customer service strategy and objectives lead to the design of customer service processes
- a critical analysis of the contribution technology makes to the delivery of effective customer-driven processes
- an explanation of the importance of continuous improvement and service chains to organisations’ customer service processes.
AC 3.1, 3.2, 3.3
Your manager congratulated you on the preparation of the presentation which was well received by the SMT. One of the key challenges for the business is how to embed the continuous improvement processes in the organisation and for all managers and staff to understand their importance in sustaining competitive customer service advantage. You have been asked to work alongside the Head of Human Resources to produce a reference guide for managers to use with their staff. The guide must be divided into the following sections:
- A comparison of continuous improvement and service excellence approaches with financial and growth driven approaches to business development
- An evaluation of the roles of managers, team members and quality controllers in creating, implementing and promoting a continuous improvement programme
- A critical analysis of the challenges of maintaining customer focus and a continuous improvement programme
- A demonstration of how the feedback loop is essential to continuous improvement
- An analysis of the factors that determine the speed at which customer service improvements can be made.
AC 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5