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World-class Service (2010)

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Explores the meaning of the term ‘world-class service’ (WCS), models to promote WCS within organisations and how to measure and maintain a WCS.

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By Richard Fairchild and Ian Crawford, School of Management, University of Bath

The concept of World-Class Service (WCS) has been discussed in all aspects of business since the mid-1980s, and yet there seems no real consensus on what it actually means. Some claim it is well-understood and that “world-class service organisations ‘wow’ their customers by providing a consistently outstanding customer experience in all channels”.

Others say the phrase has been repeated so many times from executive suite to the shopfloor that it no longer has much meaning, while yet others suggest it is a quantifiable notion, that organisations who say they are world-class generally are performing at the highest levels – particularly with respect to quality metrics.

However, within a global business environment of intense competition, rapid technological advances and product proliferation, and haunted by the spectres of declining market share and diminishing profits, managers constantly seek positive means to set their business above the rest. Since the seminal texts extolling the benefits of Japanese management techniques, a practical and achievable roadmap for excellence has been sought.


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