ISCOM386 Phoenix Week 3 Service Management Case Studies Paper Resource: Service Management, Ch. 4Read case studies 4.1 and 4.2 in Ch. 4 of Service Manageme

ISCOM386 Phoenix Week 3 Service Management Case Studies Paper Resource: Service Management, Ch. 4Read case studies 4.1 and 4.2 in Ch. 4 of Service Management: Operations, Strategy, Information Technology (pp. 101-112).Answer the questions at the end of each case study using 100 words or more (600 or more words for all 6 questions).Format your paper according to APA guidelines. Amy’s Ice Cream14 CASE 4.1
Amy’s Ice Cream is a business that was founded in Austin, Texas, and now has 13 locations in Austin and
one each in Houston and San Antonio. When asked about the driving force behind it, Phil Clay, the
production manager, explained that “while the product is of excellent quality and does come in some
unique flavors, ultimately ice cream is ice cream. One can just as easily go to Swensen’s or the Marble
Slab to get great ice cream. Service is what differentiates Amy’s from other ice cream stores and keeps
customers coming back again and again.” And indeed, the service at Amy’s is unique.
Amy Miller, the owner and founder, got her start in the ice cream business when she worked for Steve’s
Ice Cream in Boston, a store whose gimmick was mashing toppings into ice cream. She recalls how
Harvard and M.I.T. students would work at the store—obviously for reasons other than the great salary
and fringe benefits. She quickly realized that this was a business that instantly made its customers
happy. Working in an ice cream store was a “feel-good” occupation, which lured such bright workers
who could easily make much more money working almost anywhere else.
When she opened the first Amy’s Ice Cream in October 1984, she had two philosophies: one that an
employee should enjoy what he or she does, and another that the service as well as the ice cream
should make the customer smile. These philosophies have provided the foundation for a business that
two decades later is firmly established and thriving.
In the beginning, theater majors and artists often were hired as servers, because the idea of enjoying
what they were doing was just as appealing to them as making money. These outgoing and creative
employees were very skilled at projecting their colorful personalities across the counter. They joked and
interacted with customers while filling their orders. Customers were drawn to the fun and variety of the
service, which might be described as “ice cream theater,” and once drawn, the customers returned
again and again for repeat performances.
How does Amy’s recruit employees who are up to “performing”? Originally, the employment application
form was rather casual, simply handwritten and mimeographed. Mr. Clay recalls, however, that one day
he was out of forms when a very large man asked for a copy. The man became somewhat belligerent at
being told none was available, so Mr. Clay whipped out a white paper bag—the only writing surface
under the counter—and offered it as an “alternate” form. The applicant was satisfied and carried away
his form to complete! When Mr. Clay relayed this story to Amy, she said the white paper bag would
work just fine, and it became the new “official” application form. In fact, it has proven to be a very good
indicator of whether an applicant is willing and able to express herself or himself both easily and
creatively. A person who uses the bag just to write down the usual biographical information (i.e., name,
address, Social Security number, and so on) probably will not be as entertaining a scooper as one who
makes it into a puppet or hot air balloon. Getting “the sack” at Amy’s takes on a whole new meaning.
Applicants who pass the sack test then are interviewed.
New employees go through an on-the-job training process. One part of this training concerns ice cream
procedures so that servers can deliver a consistent product. The other part teaches them to express
themselves from behind the counter, which includes recognizing which customers enjoy the revelry and
which just want to be left alone, as well as how far the kidding can be taken with different customers. In
general, employees are free to interact theatrically with those customers who want to do so.
In the early days Amy’s operated on an approximate 3 percent profit margin. Consequently, the servers
were minimum wage, and about 80 percent of them were part-time workers who received no additional
benefits. In fact, most managers made less than $15,000 per year, and there was a $30,000 cap for all
employees—including Amy. In view of the low remuneration that still exists, how is Amy’s Ice Cream
always able to recruit the high-quality help that translates into satisfied customers?
Well, they do get Amy’s Ice Cream T-shirts at cost and all the ice cream they can eat! Perhaps the major
reason, however, is that Amy’s is freedom-oriented rather than rules-oriented. The only “uniform” an
employee must wear is an apron, whose primary function is to project a sense of continuity behind the
counter. A hat also is de rigueur, but the employee is free to choose any hat as long as it effectively
restrains the hair. In addition, the employee may wear any clothing that suits his or her mood that day
as long as it is not soiled, political, or excessively revealing.
Employees can bring their own music, keeping in mind their type of clientele, to play in their stores. For
example, an Amy’s located in a downtown nightspot district draws a young, exuberant crowd that would
appreciate lively music, whereas an Amy’s located in an upscale shopping mall attracts a clientele whose
musical tastes might be a bit more quiet.
The design of each store and the artwork displayed there tend to be colorful and eclectic, but again, the
employees are free to make contributions. Amy’s employs a local artist to decorate all stores; still, the
individual managers have considerable say in what they feel is desirable for their own location. Often,
the artwork is an exhibition of local artists’ efforts.
Everyone does everything that needs to be done in the store. If the floor needs to be cleaned, the
manager is just as likely to do it as a scooper. There is a very strong sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
Employee meetings are usually held at 1 AM, after the last Amy’s Ice Cream has closed for the night.
Door prizes are offered to encourage attendance.
Apparently, it is a lifestyle choice to work for Amy’s. These employees are people who do not want a
“real job” in which they would have to wear certain clothes, work certain hours, and not have nearly as
much fun. Obviously, money is not the major motivation, and it might be that the lack of big money is
one of the unifying forces among employees.
Amy’s Ice Cream has created what is definitely a “nonmainstream environment,” which many feel is
responsible for the legions of happy customers who keep the business merrily dipping along.
Describe the service organization culture at Amy’s Ice Cream.
What are the personality attributes of the employees who are sought by Amy’s Ice Cream?
Design a personnel selection procedure for Amy’s Ice Cream using abstract questioning, a situational
vignette, and/or role playing.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car15 CASE 4.2
Enterprise Rent-A-Car (ERAC) maintains a unique selling proposition in the rental automobile industry,
describing its “greatest idea [as] personal service.” This proposition is built into every facet of ERAC’s
operations, from point-to-point car delivery to a 427,000 rental-vehicle fleet. This is clearly seen in
president Andy Taylor’s welcoming message on the company’s website (
They say the greatest ideas are the simplest ones. They’re right, and our greatest idea was personal
service. It was so easy because it simply required people to act like people. To treat people in a business
environment the way you’d treat them if they were your neighbors. You see, our business has been
shaped by this very concept. Treating our customers like good friends and neighbors has enabled us to
grow to a point where our automotive operations have annual revenues in the billions, a fleet of cars
and trucks numbering hundreds of thousands, and thousands of employees—each dedicated to
providing personal service.16
Enterprise Rent-A-Car began life in 1957 as a leasing company in St. Louis, Missouri, with a fleet of 17
cars. Founder Jack Taylor soon found that his customers needed short term rentals to cover times when
their leased vehicles were in for maintenance or repairs. Although it was a relatively successful
operation, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the business took off. That was when a court ruling held
casualty insurers liable for an insured motorist’s loss from being without a car. ERAC became a major
player almost overnight, and rapidly grew to a 10,000-vehicle fleet by 1977. By 1993, ERAC began
serving Canada and competing internationally. At this time ERAC had more than 200,000 units covering
1,500 locations. Overseas expansion continued in the United Kingdom a year later, bringing the total
operation to more than 300,000 rental units and 50,000 lease units in more than 2,500 locations. Today,
ERAC operates 7,000 offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany.
The company has a worldwide rental fleet of more than 1.2 million vehicles and annual revenues of
$14.1 billion.
Now that ERAC has become the industry leader in terms of fleet size and market presence, management
faces the challenge of maintaining its performance level as the company’s domestic markets approach
Andrew Taylor, the second CEO and son of the founder, said, “My father instilled his business
philosophy in me, and it’s very simple. When my father started the business, he said that you put
customers first because if they are satisfied, they’ll come back. Then come the employees. By making
sure they are happy, well informed, and part of a team atmosphere, they will provide the best service
possible. If you put the customers and the employees first, the bottom line will happen.”17
Enterprise claims to offer the perfect rental package, as symbolized by its now-famous wrapped car. The
focus is on three key benefits for the customer:
Extraordinary convenience in the form of nearby locations and picking up and dropping off customers at
their homes, offices, or repair shops free of charge.
Excellent rates made possible by the operating strategy.
Exceptional selection of vehicles with something for every occasion.
From the first days of the rental business, ERAC’s market focus has been on the local rental segment
rather than following the “suits & shorts” emphasis on the business and holiday segment of the
established players. This “hometown” rental market now includes the replacement segment (i.e.,
customers who need a car because of an accident, routine maintenance, or theft) and the discretionary
segment (i.e., short business and leisure trips and other special occasions). ERAC relied on the pickup
and drop-off components of its service to help set the company apart from the competition. This focus
on convenience is now facilitated by a network of offices located within 15 minutes of 90 percent of the
U.S. population.
Although ERAC has recently begun to take on the commercial market, the company maintains some
airport locations, especially through its acquired holdings of Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental.
Consistent with its original market focus, customers are picked up and taken back to the office to settle
the paperwork and take possession of the car. Still, according to Taylor, the focus is on the customer:
“After all, other companies rent, lease and sell pretty much the same cars as Enterprise. The difference
is, their business is cars and ours is people, which explains why so much of our energy goes into
recruiting, hiring, and training.”18
A combination of unusual hiring practices and relatively strict promotion-from-within drives the
company’s culture. Virtually every employee is a college graduate; Enterprise claims to be the top
recruiter of college graduates in the United States. This factor is out of sync with the labor-intensive car
rental industry that seeks to keep employee wages of a unionized workforce low.
The recruiting itself is rather nontraditional, also. “Brainy introverts need not apply,” says Donald L.
Ross, ERAC’s chief operating officer. “We hire from the half of the college class that makes the upper
half possible,” he adds wryly. “We want athletes, fraternity types—especially fraternity presidents and
social directors. People people.”19 The company finds that social directors make good salespeople
because they are more readily able to chat up service managers and to calm someone who has just been
in a car wreck.
The focus on athletes also has a noticeable impact on the company’s culture because it fosters a
competitive atmosphere to go along with the emphasis on teamwork. Starting pay varies around the
country, and ERAC’s reward system feeds this competitive drive as employees don’t receive regular pay
raises. They are compensated in part according to the profit earned at their particular location. Financial
results by location and region are made available for everyone to see, which further fuels the
The “bottom half of the class” also tends to bring a work ethic akin to the zeal of a reformed smoker,
because its alumni have been sobered by a scarcity of career opportunities. Jeffrey M. Brummett, vice
president for daily rental operations and a onetime semipro baseball player, comments, “Nobody ever
went to college planning to go into the car rental business [an often repeated comment among
Enterprise employees]. Then a time comes when that’s the opportunity that presents itself, and you
grab it.”20
New management trainees are welcomed by long, grueling hours, during which they spend most of their
time cleaning cars and shuttling vehicles to customers. Still, almost every employee, including top
executives, start this way. Conscious of the bond this creates, senior officers routinely get involved in
the dirty work, and even CEO Andy Taylor used a vacuum. “We were visiting an office in Berkeley and it
was mobbed, so I started cleaning cars,” he says. “As it was happening, I wondered if it was a good use
of my time, but the effect on morale was tremendous.”21 Still, many quit after just a few weeks.
At the corporate level, Taylor left many of the decisions to Donald L. Ross, senior executive VP and COO,
and to William F. Holekamp, executive VP. Ross and Holekamp served as role models for new recruits, as
both men started by washing cars and serving customers. In time, each decided to take the risk and
open an ERAC office in a new location, and their success with these operations proved that they could
help guide the company, according to the Taylor philosophy.
ERAC’s focus on the local market continues to pay off as it takes an increasingly larger share. While the
airport market has grown annually at about 3 to 5 percent, the local market has grown at 10 to 15
percent. According to Jon LeSage, managing editor of Auto Rental News, “The local car rental market is a
lot more significant than the public would assume. The real growth in this business is going to be in the
local market.”22
ERAC likely will continue to benefit from this growth, because the company has so many rental locations
spread around the country. CEO Taylor saw no sign of a slowdown. Moreover, the company has grown
at an annual rate of more than 20 percent for the past several years.
Two-income families also are helping to drive the market: when both partners of a couple work, each
depends on his or her car, and when one of the cars falls out, ERAC’s lower price makes it a natural
choice. Moreover, people are renting from ERAC even when the family car runs just fine. “We call it the
Virtual Car,” said Taylor. “Small-business people who have to pick up clients call us when they want
something better than their own car. So do people who have to take a long trip and don’t trust, or just
don’t want to use, the family car.”23
A new office is opened usually as soon as adjacent offices have reached a 100-vehicle inventory. After a
new office does open, employees move into the surrounding community to develop relationships with
the service managers of every good-size repair facility in the area. ERAC knows that the
recommendations of service managers carry a great deal of weight with repair customers who are busy
dealing with the confusion of the moment. It has become a national Wednesday ritual for ERAC
employees to bring pizza and doughnuts to workers at nearby garages. Indeed, a large portion of recent
growth has come from auto dealers who offer customers a free or cheap replacement while their cars
are in the shop. ERAC has agreements with many dealers to provide these replacement vehicles, but at
major accounts, ERAC staffs an office on the premises for several hours a day and keeps cars parked
outside. According to one Porsche, Audi, and Rover dealer in West Long Branch, New Jersey: “The
Enterprise people are practically part of my staff.”24
ERAC operations are separated along its two primary lines of business: rental vehicles and corporate
fleet management. Enterprise buys cars from a wide variety of American, Japanese, and European
automakers. To reduce costs, it keeps its cars on the road up to six months longer than do either Hertz
or Avis.
Rental Operations
ERAC’s 7,000 offices are connected via an exclusive 1-800 number that links customers to the world’s
most advanced and most convenient office locator system. It allows customers to contact any of the
North American offices via one simple number. This is supplemented by ARMS (automated rental
management system), which provides an electronic interface that allows major clients, such as
insurance companies, to manage bookings, billings, and payments in the most efficient manner possible.
ERAC’s service concepts are evident in the rental operations. Whether at home or at the repair shop,
ERAC delivers the vehicle to the customer. Despite this highly personalized service, ERAC offers rates
that are often 30 percent lower than those of its competitors. From Chevy Aveo to Lincoln Towncar,
from Ford Escape to Cadillac Escalade, ERAC provides a selection from more than 60 vehicles, including
electric/hybrid cars, to meet a wide range of customer needs. Variety is also a primary profit driver in
the replacement market. ERAC is betting that customers who are stuck for transportation won’t be in
the mood to quibble about prices. While the tiny GEO Metro is available for about $30 a day (i.e., the
amount many insurance policies pay for replacement rentals), about 90 percent of people pay more to
get a bigger car.
Fleet Management Operations
Its origin was leasing, but ERAC has expanded the scope of its fleet management services by providing
complete, end-to-end fleet management, which allows client companies to outsource their entire
vehicle departments. A dedicated, local Enterprise Account Services representative manages every
aspect of the client’s fleet including acquisition, insurance services, registration, after-market
equipment, financing, fuel management and reporting, full maintenance management, corporate rental
programs, and disposal.
ERAC faces competition from a variety of sources, most notable of which are the traditional airport car
rental companies such as Avis, Hertz, and Budget. Nevertheless, ERAC focuses on a different segment of
the rental car market than do these companies. Traditional companies are dedicated to short-term, onsite rental for travelers, but ERAC focuses on the “hometown” market. Consequently, its most direct
competition comes from the service loaner fleets of car dealerships. When a customer brings a car in for
service, many dealerships now provide a service loaner, which eliminates the opportunity for ERAC to
provide service.
The shape of the competitive field also is changing with a reviving auto industry and rising car prices.
Consolidation is ongoing, as the smaller players are finding themselves unable to withstand the higher
capital outlays. One of the biggest…
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