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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An alternative measure for the employee-customer encounter, March 22, 2006
Gerard Kroese (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Manage Your Human Sigma (HBR OnPoint Enhanced Edition) (Digital)
John H. Fleming is Chief Scientist for customer engagement, Curt Coffman is a Global Practice Leader, and James K. Harter is the Chief Scientist for employee engagement at the Gallup Organization. This article was published in a special issue of the Harvard Business Review in July-August 2005, which focused on the high-performance organization.

The authors believe that "it is essential that organizations learn to measure and manage quality in all kinds of business settings." In order to address the problem of fit in the employee-customer encounter, with its volatile human dimensions, they have developed a quality improvement approach that they call Human Sigma. During the development of this approach, the authors arrived at several important core principles for measuring and managing interactions between customer and employees. The first principle is that "emotions inform both sides' judgments and behavior even more powerfully than rationality does." Second, "the employee-customer encounter must be measured and managed locally, because there are enormous variations in quality at the work-group and individual levels." Third, "a single measure for effectiveness for the employee-customer encounter; this measure has a high correlation with financial performance." Fourth and final, "organizations must conduct both short-term, transactional interventions and long-term, transformational ones." There are useful tables and sidebars to explain all of these principles. The authors conclude with three quick points for managing and reducing variability at the local level.

Yes, I do like this article. Its goal is to introduce an alternative to Six Sigma to measure the employee-customer encounter. The authors introduce quite a simple approach for this, which I believe most companies should be able to implement relatively quickly. It will obviously have some impact on existing processes and procedures, but this should be worth the benefits from this approach. Highly recommended.
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