Exercise | April 2008

Exercise: Customer-Operator Letter Writing

by Frances X. Frei

Abstract

The exercise involves having students write letters to an organization of their choice describing their operating experience at a detailed level. The companies' responses are paired with the students' letters and the entire collection is made available to the class. The collection can be compelling. Students are quick to sense which organizations value customer communications as meaningful operational input. They find highly instructive the frequency with which situations laboriously recounted by their "valued customers" elicit generic responses from companies, and replies to detailed letters of praise get the tone dramatically wrong. At HBS, it is incorporated in a second-year elective, taught in a module devoted to utilizing customer-operators to improve operations (HBS No. 608-135).

Keywords: Customer Relationship Management; Customer Satisfaction; Customer Value and Value Chain; Knowledge Sharing; Knowledge Use and Leverage; Performance Improvement;

Citation:

Frei, Frances X. "Exercise: Customer-Operator Letter Writing." Harvard Business School Exercise 608-126, April 2008.