Effective Service Excellence through Technology

In addition to affecting the top line by increasing rev-enues, companies across the globe are taking a hard look at what they can to do make bottom-line improve-ments by enhancing productivity, making processes more efficient, and innovating systems. Among the approaches that are effective in bottom-line improve-ment are reducing waste in the service system, stan-dardizing service behaviors and actions, shifting the service boundary by having customers perform more of the service, and substituting technology for personal contact and human effort. We have discussed technol-ogy throughout this textbook, and in this spotlight we feature several ways that technology has been used to make service more efficient and therefore more profitable.
ROBOT-POWERED YOGURT KIOSKS Delivering frozen yogurt from a traditional retail store is a very expensive endeavor with a great deal of over-head to cover. The next stage. developed to save money and allow customization, were yogurt stores where you decide how much yogurt to buy and how you want to decorate it. However, you may not yet be aware of the latest in automated yogurt: the robot-powered kiosk. Allan Jones, the CEO of the frozen yogurt kiosk concept Robofusion. claims that the business potential for the automated yogurt market was the reason he quit his job at a chemical company to pursue a venture in robotically served yogurt. Robofusion’s kiosks dispense yogurt and ice cream with the help of a robotic arm that fills the cup. adds the toppings. and delivers the treat to the customer through a revolving platform. A touchscreen user inter-face allows the customer to select and customize the product, which sells for between $3 and $6. depending on the size. While the company only had 37 Robofusion kiosks deployed globally at the time of this writing, they are currently in Singapore. Brazil, Turkey. Australia. Dubai. and the United Arab Emirates, and there are plans to ship kiosks to Saudi Arabia and Mexico. A competitor to Robofusion is Reis & lrvy’s auto-mated frozen yogurt kiosk, which allows consumers
to create completely personalized creations. It can be installed in convenience stores, airports, schools. and even corporate offices. To use the machine, con-sumers simply choose their size and style of frozen yogurt. They can then choose from nine different flavor options and a wide variety of toppings. The machine will then create the custom order while the consumers pays. The process is hassle-free and energy efficient. using 90 percent less energy than a traditional frozen yogurt shop.
LOUISE THE TECHNOLOGY NURSE One of the highest costs in hospitals comes from preventable 30-day re-admissions, which can be as high as 4.4 million per year. Re-admissions are largely due to patient noncompliance with hospital instruc-tions about medication and home care. The highest rates are for heart attacks (19.9 percent), heart fail-ure (24.7 percent). pneumonia (18.3 percent). and cir-culatory system disorders (10.4 percent). One of the newest strategies to assure that patients understand posthospital instructions is a virtual nurse—patient advocate”—named Louise. Developed by Boston Uni-versity Medical Center. Louise is an animated charac-ter that explains medical instructions to patients on a computer screen, thereby carefully and fully commu-nicating home care. On a laptop, Louise is wheeled to the patient’s bedside and reviews the discharge packet while also looking at a paper copy. Patients can ask and re-ask questions using a touchscreen. Louise helped cut re-admissions by 30 percent in a 2008 study. Further, the virtual discharge system automates 30 minutes of time, for a savings in time for human nurses.
Sources: L. Landro. ‘Don’t Come Back. Hospitals Say: The Wall Street Journal. June 7. 2011: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2011. hospitalcompare.gov. accessed August 2011: N. Gagliardi. -Robot-Powered Kiosks Seek Yogurt Domination.” Kiosk Marketplace, February 26, 2014, httpJ/www . -yogurt-dorninationt K. Rendre& -This Machine Creates Custom Yogurt Creations on

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