Background Note | HBS Case Collection | March 2006

Customer-Introduced Variability in Service Operations

by Frances X. Frei

Abstract

Presents a typology of customer-introduced variability and offers guidance on how to manage each type. Central to the ideas developed is how to mitigate the effects of the apparent trade-off between reducing variability and diminishing the service experience or accommodating variability and compromising operational efficiency.

Keywords: Customers; Six Sigma; Consumer Behavior; Service Operations; Performance Efficiency;

Citation:

Frei, Frances X. "Customer-Introduced Variability in Service Operations." Harvard Business School Background Note 606-063, March 2006.