TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Sears and K-Mart

Re: Sears and K-Mart

Robert Bonomi (
Tue, 23 Nov 2004 06:13:11 +0000

In article <>,
Robert Bonomi <> wrote:

[[.. munch ..]]

> Beyond that, it is a matter of 'priorities'. Is 'cutting costs' more
> important than 'customer convenience', or not? Everybody comes down
> on a different side of that question on various things. Look at how
> few companies have a live person answering the main phone number any
> more, for one example. They figure that the cost savings of the d*mn
> 'auto attendant' are 'worth' the increase in customer aggravation, and
> wasted _customer_ time (after all *they* aren't paying for the
> customer's time :).

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Yet, they have the temerity to wonder
> 'why customers go postal' sometimes ... and your two reasons given for
> why there are no more (or very few) public offices available any longer
> does not explain how small independent telcos still manage to do it:

Yes, it *does*. Repeating from the above paragraph: "It is a matter of
'priorities'. The smaller telco has decided the additional cost _is_
worth it. The big telco has made a different decision.

> Making floor space available for chairs and the cost of rent is an
> equal problem for them. And I would suppose theoretically the problem
> of someone 'going postal' is also worth considering.

Actually, it is _not_ an 'equal' problem, as far as costs. Yes, it is
an expense, but the magnitude of the expense is _considerably_
different. Whether you look at it in absolute dollar cost per square
foot, -or- in terms of the price they sell their service for. It's
strange, but the cost of 'basic' service from a traditional telephone
company varies by only a factor of about 2, nation-wide. Rental
pricing for an 'equivalent' (in terms of customer accessibility --
locale, transportation, 'convenience', etc.) 'storefront' space
encompasses a range of more than 15:1.

> But why do you suppose the small, non-Bell telcos don't have those
> problems,

Who says they "don't" have those problems? The same issues exist.
The dollar-value of the costs may be significantly different. The
_perception_ by the company of maintaining the service may be that it
*is* =worth= a higher cost.

It's not that they "don't have" those problems, but they either do not
_have_them_to_the_same_degree_, or have 'valued' customer convenience

_What_ they use to make the decision, is a different matter from _why_
somebody comes down on a specific _side_ of a given issue. And "how"
they went about making that decision is yet another issue.

> and can continue to operate their public facilities?

The answer to that, as anyone with intelligence above that of an idiot
can plainly see, is: "Because they _choose_ do do so." They have made
a 'business decision' that the additional 'hard dollar' costs _are_
worth the 'intangible benefit' in "customer satisfaction". Other
companies have made a _different_ determination regarding the relative
benefits vs costs.

Maybe the costs are different. Maybe the perception of 'value' is
different. In one case they decided value outweighs costs. In the
other case, they decides that costs were higher than the value

The issue is not one of "can" vs. "can't". but "chose to" vs. "chose
not to".

The answer to _any_ question -- in the business world, at least --
that starts off "Why don't they ...", is *always* "Money". When two
businesses make a different decision on the same subject, it is
because either their 'costs' are different, or the *perceived* value
of the benefit to the company is different.

> Do you think if SBC were to outsource all its 'customer service'
> functions to China or India they would be able to get rid of all
> their pseudo problems with finding good, cheap real estate? PAT]

A question resting on a false assumption (i.e., that it is a 'pseudo
problem') has no meaningful answers.

That aside, one of the 'attractions' (to management) of 'off-shore'
outsourcing of *anything* IS that 'costs' are lower, Often
_dramatically_ lower. Many times enough lower to more than offset the
increased costs of having the job done in a 'remote' location. The
straight 'hard-dollar' economic-analysis makes such actions nearly
_irresistible_. Only when one factors in the (sometimes -major-)
negative impact on 'customer satisfaction' does _any_ question arise.

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