A measure of Delight: the pursuit of Quality at AT&T Universal Card Service (A) - One page summary

Essay by wingsofsunUniversity, Bachelor'sB, February 2006

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This case focuses on total quality management analysis of the successful new initiatives of AT&T Universal Card Services. It describes the theory and operations of the AT&T Universal card, a credit card introduced successfully in 1990. Specifically, the case looks at UCS's methods of motivating and monitoring its frontline telephone associates, those who deal with individual customers and who, the firm hoped, would succeed in not just serving but "delighting" customers.

AT&T's has two main goals: 1. combine credit card and calling card 2. To regain the direct link to customers that it had lost in 1984's R-BOCs divestiture

AT&T UCS's core philosophy is that of 'Delighting the customer', and inline with this objective company created an innovative measurement and compensation system. In 1992, UCS won the Malcom Baldrige Quality award. At UCS, customers were referred to as "the center of the universe".

But fundamental change of measurement system was proposed due to the competitors move toward the number one position and the questioning of the basic concept of such measurement system.

AT&T has the vision of creating an organization where motivated and empowered employee would set new standards for quality in customer service. AT&T took number of steps: carefully selected telephone associates, benchmarking studies, conduct Baldridge-based quality assessment. The most unique thing was multifaceted measurement system, far beyond industry standards.

AT&T also collected 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.

Values which are based on the operating philosophy of AT&T, surely demonstrate issues which are associated with the customers come first, the quality achieved through people and processes, and...