A Measure of Delight : The persuit of quality at AT&T Universal Card Service

Essay by dionisisfUniversity, Master'sB+, July 2004

download word file, 6 pages 2.2


What are the strengths and weaknesses of UCS's measurement and compensation system?

Quality Measurement

AT&T's pursuit of quality included measurement methods on a number of levels. Quality measurement allowed the company to use this information in order to perform efficiently the following activities:

Customer feedback through surveys aimed in following through the company's blueprint in order to monitor before, during and after sales service quality. An external firm conducted a customer satisfier survey that obtained information as shown from competitors' and UCS customers regarding product, service and treatment perceptions.

Additionally, UCS's survey team administered 10-15 different surveys, depending on variables such as the reason, and manner that the customer had contacted the company, performed internal monitoring processes. These surveys were essentially being used for associate evaluation.

Clearly, the practices involved in managing service quality in this particular firm provided a competitive advantage by allowing shift and efficient response to market demand.

However, the sophisticated design of AT&T's quality measurement system eventually transformed its associates from a state of continuous improvement to obsession for excellence. Efficient and "real time" quality measurement expressed through live monitoring and other IT applications, increased performance expectations at an unbearable stressful point for associates.

Additionally, the company's quality measurement system failed to warn against raising expectations on behalf of managers and associates. This was probably due to improper internal HR and external monitoring of other industry key players. Of course, AT&T chose to lead the way by defining a new era of credit card services, but the measurement system should have foreseen the failure of increased expectations as those were expressed by further raising the quality objective.

Compensation system

Associates directly represented the company to its customers and thus service was to be dependent upon their capabilities and desires. AT&T linked performance to compensation...