Robust Services: People or Processes?

9 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2018 Last revised: 1 Mar 2019

See all articles by Rebecca Goldberg

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Elliott N. Weiss

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Service systems are inherently subject to variability, whether through customers, service providers, suppliers, or unexpected events. Yet customers demand excellence and consistency regardless of this variability. In general, there are two ways to handle this variability—through people or through processes. We use the concept of robustness to describe these two approaches, addressing when one or the other might be appropriate and discussing how and why one might transition from one approach to the other.

Excerpt

UVA-OM-1607

Rev. Feb. 25, 2019

Robust Services: People or Processes?

We spend a lot of time and resources on hiring robust people because our processes are weak right now. We are also spending a lot of time and energy strengthening our processes so we don't have to devote as many resources on finding robust people in the future.

—Dan FitzHenry, Director of Operations, Grit Coffee, Charlottesville, Virginia

Service systems are inherently subject to variability, whether through customers, service providers, suppliers, or unexpected events. Yet customers demand excellence and consistency regardless of this variability. In general, there are two ways to handle this variability—through people or through processes. We use the concept of robustness to describe these two approaches, addressing when one or the other might be appropriate and discussing how and why one might transition from one approach to the other.

. . .

Keywords: service management, robustness, service quality, service operations, service strategy

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, Rebecca and Weiss, Elliott N., Robust Services: People or Processes?. Darden Case No. UVA-OM-1607. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3291193

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Elliott N. Weiss (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/html/direc_detail.aspx?styleid=2&id=4375

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