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INTERNAL MARKETING

INTRODUCTION

The concept of internal marketing has its origins in conventional marketing theory and the marketing
concept itself. It is interesting to note that the internal marketing concept has been developed largely
within the context of services marketing, where it has long been recognized that high levels of
customer service depend heavily on the personnel who interact with customers.

The employees are in many senses an important part of the service product as has been stated in
previous chapters. They represent the fifth 'P' in the services marketing mix. Internal marketing
addresses employees - the internal market within an organisation - whose participation and role is
recognized as being critical to levels of service quality and delivery. However, internal marketing is
now being seen as more and more essential for all organisations in striving for marketing success.

Internal marketing is a means of involving staff at all levels in effective marketing programmes by
enabling them to understand their role within the marketing process. Internal marketing programmes
consist of training and staff development, effective internal communications and integration schemes,
designed to enhance knowledge and understanding of the overall marketing orientation within the
organisation.

Whilst the importance of internal marketing is widely recognized, criticism has arisen due to the
difficulties in implementing internal marketing, and the lack of planning tools available to managers
wishing to do so. This chapter reviews the internal marketing concept but also focuses closely on
implementation issues. A framework for implementing internal marketing is proposed and some
practical issues are addressed.

DEFINITION OF INTERNAL MARKETING

Internal marketing can be defined as follows:

Treating with equal importance the needs of the internal market - the employees - and the external,
market through proactive programmes and planning to bring about desired organizational objectives
by delivering both employee and customer satisfactions.

Internal marketing should also cover issues which are traditionally linked with other areas in
organisations, such as human resources management. This is highlighted by training needs which
should be thoroughly examined, and the implementation of training programmes designed to enhance:

 Knowledge of the firm's product/service mix.


 Pride in the firm itself, and individual jobs.
 Awareness of opportunities for new service and business development.
 Specific marketing skills.
It is clear, therefore, that internal marketing- is concerned with more than treating the employee as a
customer; ,it means that the organisation should constantly endeavour to develop programmes and
strategies for enhancing employee satisfaction in much the same way as external marketing plans
which are continuously updated and improved to meet external customer demands.

According to Gronross, “The internal marketing concept states that the internal market
of employees is best motivated for service-mindedness and customer-oriented performance by
an active marketing like approach, where a variety of activities are used internally in an active,
marketing like and coordinated way.”
OBJECTIVES:

Strategic and Tactical Objectives of Internal Marketing:

Gronrooss clarified that the basic objective of internal marketing is to develop motivated and
customer conscious employees. If this is the case, then it has strategic as well tactical implications.
His point of view has been summarized in the below Table 1

Table 1: Strategic and Tactical Objectives of Internal Marketing

Parsuraman and Berry suggested that a service company can only be as good as its people. A service
is a performance, and it is usually difficult to separate the performance from the people. If the people
don’t meet customers’ expectations, then neither does the service. Investing in people quality in a

service business means investing in product quality.

THE ROLE OF INTERNAL MARKETING:

Customer service is the critical element which internal marketing influences, whatever
business or industry the organisation operates in, and customer service is one of the most crucial
aspects of an organisation's competitive advantage.
Internal marketing is attracting increasing attention and growing recognition as an
implementation tool for adoption by all organisations. The most advanced systems for developing
marketing plans and strategies are worthless if the plan fails at the implementation stage.

There are a number of areas where internal marketing can play a key role:

Management of change, where internal marketing may be used to place, and gain acceptance of new
systems such as the introduction of information technology and new working practices, and other
changes.

Building corporate image, where internal marketing's role is to create awareness and appreciation of
the company's aims and strengths - as all employees are potential company ambassadors.

Strategic internal marketing which aims at reducing inter-departmental and inter-functional conflict
and developing the co-operation and commitment needed to make external marketing strategies work.

COMPONENTS OF INTERNAL MARKETING PROGRAMMES:

The four most important areas within the organisation's internal environment which are essential to an
internal marketing programme can be described as:

 Motivation
 Co-ordination
 Information
 Education
This set of ideas clearly interlinks with the perspectives of internal marketing discussed earlier, but
what steps can be taken to ensure these areas are rein forced? To formulate any programme an
analysis of the critical components must be undertaken. This may involve information gathering to
assess

 Employee knowledge
 Attitudes
 Behaviour.
Once this has been done, management action needs to cover:

 Selection
 Training
 Motivation
 Direction.
In this way, managers can help employees to make a more effective contribution to the organisation's
marketing objectives, providing overall guidance and support for the internal marketing programme.
Communication should reach all employees and include all messages about information and action in
order to achieve increased motivation and effectiveness.

ELEMENTS OF INTERNAL MARKETING:

To realize its potential in services marketing, a firm must realise its potential in internal marketing-the
attraction, development, motivation, and retention of qualified employees. Internal marketing paves
the way for external marketing of services. The companies that practice internal marketing most
effectively will:

1. Compete aggressively for talent market share;

2. offer a vision that brings purpose and meaning to the workplace;

3. equip people with the skills and knowledge to perform their service roles excellently;

4. bring people together to benefit from the fruits of team play;


5. leverage the freedom factor;

6. nurture achievement through measurement and rewards; and

7. base job-product design decisions on research.

The seven components of internal marketing practice, as indicated above lend us to an action
checklist, which is given in the below Table 2

Table 2: Action checklist on Internal Marketing

IMPORTANCE OF INTERNAL MARKETING IN ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS OR


FAILURE:

A successful service firm implies a significant level of internal marketing also. The employees of a
service firm have to share the same concern as the conceptualizer of the service. In fact, the service
has to be marketed first to the intermediate customers who are the employees of the firm, more
specifically, the front line employees or the contact persons. In such a case, a service strategy has to
be focused internally also. A complete strategic vision, when due importance is not given to caring of
employees, traps the service into a cycle of failure. Figure 1 and 2 show the cycles of failure and
success.
It is clear from these cycles that proper selection, training and the development of employees ensures
success (Schlesinger & Heskett, 1991).Implementation of such a strategy is fairly difficult task. It
requires a service orientation which is more of a software to excellence. For service industries,
personnel hold the key to success and the process needs sharing of values by every employee in the
organisation. An implementation process for a hospital for example could involve the following six
steps:

1. Overcome differences: CEOs need to create a compelling vision of the future for the board, medical
staff, management team and support staff.

2. Identifying key strategic initiatives like realising physician and hospital financial incentives:
Focusing on the complete range of health care, including prevention, diagnosis and recovery, making
the hospital campus more user-friendly and tailoring ambulatory care program to consumer needs.
3. Remove the barriers: Once the CEOs have a strategic plan, they need to tackle organisational
elements that will inhibit its success. For example, are there too many layers of management? Do
incentives and compensation plans mesh with the strategic goal?

4. Identify information needs for decision making: Make sure that information needs are met at all
levels of the hospital-from CEO to clerk.

5. Develop a process of continual improvement: Once you have translated your strategy into action,
constantly assess its performance and ways that performance can be improved.

6. Empower and motivate your staff: This is the only way that total quality management can be fully
integrated into every aspect of the hospital.

INTERNAL MARKETING PLANNING:

As internal marketing has been developed directly from conventional marketing theory, and the
marketing concept, it is argued that internal marketing planning is therefore made simple. There
should be no difficulty in taking conventional marketing planning tools and developing internal
marketing programmes along the same lines.

Adopting this method would mean that for every marketing mix decision, for example, which the
company took for its external marketing strategy, there would be a corresponding internal marketing
mix decision. This would, in turn, affect the outcome of the external marketing Strategy which may
lead to new marketing mix decisions being implemented both internally and externally.

The main criticism of this approach might be that it seems to assume that, for any organisation, the
internal and external markets (or customers) will behave in a similar fashion and can therefore be
treated in an almost identical manner. But this is not likely to be the case, for the following reasons:

 Changing external markets


 Internal market characteristics
Changing external markets Many firms operate in more than one market, and these markets can be
very different indeed. Even segments within the same market can have individual and distinctive
characteristics. This means that most firms will have external marketing plans, which are continuously
being monitored and 'fine-tuned' to changing market conditions, whilst the internal market n1ay be
changing either more slowly or at greater speed.

Internal market characteristics Organizational behaviour theory and research may suggest that
internal markets in firms of similar size and structure, regardless of what product or service they
provide, may be more closely aligned in terms of their behaviour and needs, than the internal markets
of all firms operating in one particular external-marketplace, which may be widely differing in all
aspects.

The answer could be to focus on the overall external strategy (sustained growth, total quality,
market development, etc.), and then find a way of developing the internal market so that it will
provide optimum levels of support and commitment to the success of the strategy. In order to do this
well, the internal market should be researched and approached as a special and unique entity, and
internal marketing programmes will reflect this without necessarily matching closely the external
plans and activities.

DEVELOPING INTERNAL MARKETING PROGRAMMES:

Internal marketing has an important role to play in the acceptance and subsequent
implementation of marketing plans. Recommended internal marketing methods and planning tools to
assist managers in their course of action are vitally important, and this whole area has been the focus
of a great deal of interest recently, both among academics and practitioners.
There is no single methodology to meet all internal marketing needs but it is possible to
develop a planning framework of internal marketing at this stage. A number of key components of
internal marketing programme formulation have been discussed. An action plan for implementing
internal marketing encompasses the following stages:

 Market definition
 Market research
 Market segmentation
 Marketing action
 Marketing communication
 Marketing orientation
The successful implementation of internal marketing within the organisation hinges on integration,
co-ordination and co-operation within the internal market. To achieve this, it is essential to study and
fully understand the characteristics of the organisation's internal markets. Accordingly, the action plan
starts at that point:

Market definition

The internal market should be clearly defined to ensure that providers and receivers of internal
services can identify with the concept of internal customers, whose needs require satisfaction. Each
player is participating in, and serving, a clearly defined market. This may be across the whole
organisation, or reflect inter- and intra-departmental relationships and activities. The structure of the
market is important, with attention being paid to both formal and informal lines of communication
and power.

Market research

Information should be continuously collected and analysed at all levels in the organisation. This
contributes to the identification of opportunities both internally and externally. It must be both
compatible with external research activities and contribute in the same manner to decision-making.
The internal market should itself be researched to explore issues which are likely to affect the
successful implementation of internal marketing programmes and individual roles and
responsibilities. Subjects for research may include:

 Employee attitudes towards the organisation and its mission


 Levels of job satisfaction
 Assessing skill and knowledge needs
 Needs and wants of employees
Market segmentation

This is necessary to ensure most effective, accurate and appropriate targeting of internal marketing
efforts. Bases for segmentation may be determined as a result of the market research but may include,
for example, level in organisation. The best route for segmenting the internal market may not be by
existing department/line management divisions as this can lead to a less unified approach. Internal
marketing should be viewed as a means of reducing potential communication problems or friction
between different functional areas.

Marketing action

This involves the selection and implementation of appropriate marketing activities to achieve
optimum internal marketing success. Better internal communications, teamwork and employee
empowerment are some of the aims of internal marketing. Practical initiatives to achieve these aims
need to be worked out and assigned to individuals and management teams. Customer care
programmes and staff training and development are some of the methods available.

Marketing communication
Accurate and timely spreading of marketing information should be undertaken, both internally and
externally. This process should be targeted to encourage participation in achievement of personal and
organizational goals. In-house magazines, regular team briefings and encouragement of better two-
way communications are the sorts of approaches which are helpful.

Marketing orientation

The overall aim should be to create an internal environment which is flexible and responsive, and
which nurtures common values and behaviour which reflect the organisation's goals. The
organisation's marketing objectives and mission must be made clear to all employees, and clearly
defined individual goals set down to enable personnel to see their own contribution to achieving the
organisation’s objectives.

IMPLEMENTING THE PLAN:

Implementing internal marketing programmes can be achieved through cooperation between


top management within the organisation and functional managers. It requires a flexible approach
which will lead to an internal environment which is both committed to organizational goals and
responsive to changing organizational needs. The changing needs of employees must also be taken
into account.

Marketing management should work with human resources management to develop a plan for
action, as they will have the specialized knowledge and insight necessary to operationalised the stages
outlined above. It should be emphasized, however, that responsibility for implementing the plan lies
with all managers and employees throughout the organisation. Taking a marketing planning
framework, the internal marketing plan can be viewed as follows:

Marketing audit Carry out a marketing audit of the internal market, paying particular attention to the
areas highlighted previously.

Marketing analysis Conduct an analysis of the internal market in terms of its Strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats.

Objectives setting Review the organisation's objectives in the light of internal marketing and develop
internal objectives '"

Strategy development Strategic options relating to the internal market need to be examined.
Enhanced customer service" may be attainable through better training or greater staff empowerment,
for example.

Designing action programmes This can be undertaken by managers to determine the most
appropriate courses of action and the likely costs and resources required. PR

managers may assist in developing a staff magazine, for example, while human resources
management can develop training programmes.

Assigning responsibility for their execution This is the area which needs to be looked at from a
company-wide perspective, and action plans should be broken down into their core components for
implementation by the most appropriate individuals.

Monitoring and controlling the plan Some measures need to be determined to establish the success
levels of internal marketing programmes. These must be established alongside the programme
objectives. Some aspects may be incorporated into staff performance evaluation and appraisal
schemes, for example, while others may be monitored according to -reduced levels of customer
complaints or better quality levels.
MANAGING DEMAND AND CAPACITY
INTRODUCTION
One of the important characteristics is perishablity which means that services cannot be saved
or stored. While marketers of physical goods hold inventories to buffer fluctuations in demand and
supply, it is difficult or impossible for services marketers to do so. Therefore, many service businesses
frequently find it difficult to match supply (capacity) and demand.
At times there may be too much of demand (movie halls or restaurants on weekend evenings)
and sometimes too little demand may exist (low weekend occupancies in business hotels). However, a
theater owner or a restaurant cannot take an empty seat from Thursday night and add it to the capacity
on Friday or Saturday night.
A low occupation for a business hotel on weekends is an irretrievable loss. Similarly a
hospital bed or an airline seat left vacant is a loss for ever. Inability to synchronize supply and demand
has a significant impact on the service organization’s bottom line through lost opportunity (when
demand is greater than capacity) and through high costs (when demand is low in relation to fixed
capacity resulting in under utilization of capacity)

UNDERSTANDING DEMAND PATTERNS


A service organization with a fixed capacity may be faced with one of the following four conditions:
1. Excess demand: The demand exceeds the maximum available capacity. This results in some
customers being turned away. Also, even for the customers receiving the service, the quality of service
may get affected (refer service delivery gap in the gaps model discussed in the previous unit).
This may happen because of overcrowding and/or overstretching of resources.
2. Demand exceeds the optimum capacity level: Optimum capacity refers to the best use of capacity
from the perspective of both, customers and the company. In most of the cases it is less than the
maximum capacity. For example, in the counseling session at your study centre, while the maximum
capacity of the rooms may be 60-70, the optimum capacity for conducting the session may be 30-40
only for ensuring proper interaction. In the situation when demand exceeds optimum capacity, while
no one is turned away, customers may perceive deterioration in the quality of service delivered.
3. Demand and supply are balanced at the optimum capacity: This is the ideal situation. No one is
turned away, no one is overworked in the staff and customers receives quality service.
4. Excess capacity : Demand is less than optimum capacity and therefore resources are underutilized.
In certain cases this may also pose the risk that customers may have doubts about the service provider.
All the above four possibilities have been given in Fig. 9.1. The capacity of the service organization
includes physical facilities, equipments and human resources. The first step in finding out ways to
manage demand and capacity is to understand the demand patterns and the factors which affect it.
Better knowledge of demand patterns leads to better managerial decision making. The demand
patterns may have a regular and predictable cycle or in some cases it may be largely random in nature
and difficult to predict.
a) Predictable Demand Variations:
 Many businesses are subject to periodic cycles.
 These cycles may be daily (variations by hour), weekly (variation by day), monthly, seasonal
and/or yearly.
 Try to identify services which may exhibit these types of predictable demand variations.
 For example, in case of a hotel there may be variation in demand on different days with
business travelers going back on weekends, thereby reducing the demand. A hotel may also
witness seasonal variation with high demand during a particular season due to large inflow of
tourists.
 A restaurant faces hourly variations with low demand during 3.00 – 7.00 pm. (happy hours
being offered by many restaurants during these times, with large price discounts).
 Amusement parks have greater demand during weekends as compared to weekdays and also
greater demand is witnessed during school vacations.
 The marketers have to find out if such predictable cycles exist in your business. If it is so,
then you must find out and analyze the causes of these cyclical demand variations.
 Do these happen because of seasonal change, employment schedule, salary dates, school
vacations, public or regional holidays etc?
 A proper analysis of these causes will help you in devising suitable strategy for managing the
demand fluctuations.
b) Random Demand Fluctuations:
 At times the demand pattern may appear to be random with no apparently predictable cycle.
 Some degree of random variation in demand is faced by virtually all service firms.
 Although such variations cannot be predicted, marketers should nevertheless understand the
underlying causes that typically cause them.
 For example bad weather may result in an unexpectedly low customer turnout at a movie hall
or an amusement park.
 A disaster like accident, floods etc. may result in higher demand for health services and
telecommunication services.
 A proper understanding of the underlying causes will prepare you to deal with such random
demand fluctuations.
 In order to understand the demand patterns and underlying causes, it may be useful to do a
segmentation analysis.
 Different segments of customers may reveal different patterns as well as causes. Such an
analysis will help you in pinpointing underlying causes of demand fluctuations and in
identifying certain peaks of specific customer categories.
 This may help you in identifying certain segments which could be easily diverted to off-peak
periods. You may also discourage segments that are not profitable or are inconsistent with the
service image, at least during peak periods. Once you properly understand the above issues
you can suitably device strategies for matching demand and capacity.

UNDERSTANDING CAPACITY CONSTRAINTS


As we see later in the chapter, there are some creative ways to expand and
contract ca-pacity in the short and long term, but at a given point in time we
can assume service capacity IS fixed. Depending on the type of service,
critical fixed-capacity factors can be time, labor, equipment, facilities, or (in
many cases) a combination of these.
Time, Labor, Equipment, Facilities
For some service businesses, the primary constraint on service production is
time. For example, a lawyer, a consultant, a hairdresser, and a psychological
counselor all primarily sell their time. If their time is not used productively,
profits are lost. If there is excess demand: time cannot be created to satisfy
it. From the point of view of the individual Service provider, time is the
constraint.
From the point of view of a firm that employs a large number of service
providers, labor or staffing levels can be the primary capacity constraint. A
law firm, a university department, a consulting firm, a tax accounting firm,
and a repair and maintenance contractor may all face the reality that at
certain times demand for their organizations' services cannot be met because
the staff is already operating at peak capacity. However, it doesn't always
make sense (nor may it be possible in a competitive labor market) to hire
additional service providers if low demand is a reality at other times.
In other cases, equipment may be the critical constraint. For trucking or air-
freight delivery services, the trucks or airplanes needed to service demand
may be the capacity limitation. During the Christmas holidays, UPS, Federal
Express, and other delivery service providers are faced with this issue. Health
clubs also deal with this limitation, particularly at certain times of the day
(before work, during lunch hours, after work) and in certain months of the
year. Telecommunication companies face equipment constraints when
everyone wants to use the telephone lines during prime hours on holidays.
Finally, many firms are faced with restrictions brought about by their limited
facilities. Hotels have only a certain number of rooms to sell, airlines are
limited by the number of seats on the aircraft, educational institutions are
constrained by the number of rooms and - the number of seats in each
classroom, and restaurant capacity is restricted to the number of tables and
seats available.
Understanding the primary capacity constraint, or the combination of factors
that restricts capacity, is a first step in designing strategies to deal with
supply and demand issues
(Table 14-2).
Optimal versus Maximal Use of Capacity
To fully understand capacity issues, it is important to know the difference
between op-timal and maximal use of capacity. As suggested earlier in Figure
14-1, optimum and maximum capacity may not be the same. Using capacity
at an optimum level means that resources are fully employed but not
overused and that customers are receiving quality service in a timely manner.
Maximum capacity, on the other hand, represents the absolute limit of
service availability. In the case of a football game, optimum and maximum
capacity may be the same. The entertainment value of the game is enhanced
for customers when every single seat is filled, and obviously the profitability
for the team is greatest under these circumstances (Figure 14-2). On the
other hand, in a university classroom it is usually not desirable for students or
faculty to have every seat filled. In this case, optimal use of capacity is less
than the maximum. In some cases, maximum use of capacity may result in
excessive waiting by customers, as in" a popular restaurant. From the
perspective- of customer satisfaction, optimum use of the restaurant's
capacity will again be less than maximum use.
In the case of equipment or facilities constraints, the maximum capacity at
any given time is obvious. There are only a certain number of weight
machines in the health drib, a certain number of seats in the airplane, and a
limited amount of space in a cargo carrier. In the case of a bottling plant,
when maximum capacity on the assembly line is exceeded, bottles begin to
break and the system shuts down. Thus, it is " relatively easy to observe the
effects of exceeding maximum equipment capacity:

TABLE 14 – 2 WHAT IS THE CONSTRAINT ON CAPACITY?

When the limitation is people's time or labor, maximum capacity is harder to


specify, since people are in a sense more flexible than facilities and
equipment. When an individual service provider's maximum capacity has
been exceeded, the result is likely to be decreased quality, customer
dissatisfaction, and employee burnout and turnover, but these outcomes may
not be immediately observable even to the employee herself. It is often easy
for a consulting firm to take on one more assignment, taxing its employees
beyond their maximum capacity, or for an HMO clinic to schedule a few more
appointments in a day, stretching its staff and physicians beyond their
maximum ca-pacity. Given the potential costs in terms of reduced quality and
customer and employee dissatisfaction, it is critical for the firm to understand
optimum and maximum human capacity limits.

[EXTRA]

MANAGING CUSTOMER WAITING


In the previous sections you have learnt about demand patterns and strategies to match demand and
capacity. However sometimes it is not possible to match demand and capacity and waiting by
customers become inevitable. Waiting is a common phenomenon at hospitals, restaurants, banks, hair
cutting saloons etc. In such situations waiting time becomes one of the key factors in consumer’s
evaluation of service. While reducing waiting time is important for marketers, it is equally if not
more, important to reduce the customer’s perceived waiting time. If a customers perceived waiting
time is less, he will be more satisfied with the service. Thus service waits can be controlled by two
broad techniques viz. Operations Management and Perception Management.
1) Operations Management : It involves reducing the amount of time customers have to wait. This
can be done in a number of ways. Firstly the firm should analyze its operational processes in order to
identify and remove inefficiencies or bottlenecks, if any. Secondly, in case waiting cannot be avoided,
a reservation system can be used. This will help in getting the customer out of a queue. Thirdly,
customers can be encouraged to use the facilities during non-peak hours. Fourthly, greater use of
information technology can be made wherein customers can use telephone, computers, etc to conduct
business. For example, banks can deploy ATMs, provide phone banking and internet banking to
reduce pressure at the branches.
Lastly, as marketers you can also differentiate waiting customers wherein some customers may wait
for more time while others receive a quicker service. The differentiation can be done on the basis of a
number of factors like importance of the customer, urgency of the job, duration of the service
transaction and payment of a premium price. In case queues cannot be avoided, the organization has
to decide on the type of queuing system to be adopted. There are number of possibilities in this
regard. Take for example the computerized railway reservation centres wherein there are
multiplequeues and the customer has the option to join whichever queue he wants to and can also
switch over to other queue if the wait appears to be shorter in that. Another option is to have a single
queue system wherein first cum first serve rule applies to everyone. A slight variation of single queue
system can be that each customer on arrival is given a number and waits at the reception area enabling
the customer to sit, relax and mix up with other customers.
Perception Management: Limited success of operations management in waiting line management
has led to increased interest in managing the perceptions of wait experience. If you cannot control the
actual wait duration, then control the customer’s perception of it. Maister has proposed following
eight principles that you can use as service marketers to influence customer’s perception of waits and
their satisfaction with waiting lines
� Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time.
� Preprocess waits feel longer than in-process waits.
� Anxiety makes waits seem longer.
� Uncertain waits are longer than known, finite waits.
� Unexplained waits are longer than explained waits.
� Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits
� The more valuable the service, the longer the people will wait.
� Solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.
Therefore, you should appreciate that though operations management techniques are important,
however, while developing strategies for waiting lines you should never overlook the effects of
perceptions management. The following suggestions can be used in order to make waiting fun or at
least tolerable.
1) Determine the acceptable waiting time for your customers.
2) Since unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, keep customers occupied by installing
distractions that entertain and physically involve them. For example, television sets can be installed in
the waiting areas, magazines or reading materials related to the service can be provided. Exhibit 9.2
provides an interesting illustration in this regard.
3) Provide ‘waiting duration information’ i.e. information about the expected length of a wait and/or
‘queuing information’ i.e. a consumer’s position in the queue, with continuous updates. Michael Hue
& David Tse suggest that in short waits, no information is needed. In case of intermediate waits,
waiting duration information appears to be a better choice than queuing information. However, in case
of long waits, waiting duration information may be less effective then queuing information. Also
providing queuing information is more important as compared to waiting duration information when
service organization has difficulty in accurately estimating the length of wait or when the waiting line
is not visible to customers.
4) If unexpected delays occur, explanation should be given to the customers. This helps in reducing
uncertainty and customer irritation. The key is to impress upon the customer that he has not been
forgotten. Simple things like providing a glass of water or a cup of tea to the waiting customer can
help.
5) Try to modify customer arrival behaviour.
6) Keep resources not serving customers out of sight. This can be done by keeping idle employees out
of view and conducting activities that do not involve customer interactions out of the customer’s
sight.
7) Try to reduce pre-service waiting by transferring some of the pre-service waiting to the service
encounter phase. For example, menu cards may be provided to the customers while waiting, to decide
on their orders, medical information may be collected from the patient prior to actually meeting the
doctor.
8) A smiling service person who knows his job well can be very helpful in overcoming many negative
effects of waiting. Therefore, training and incentives / rewards for providing good service should be