ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition — September 2003

In This Issue

BRIDGES: Internal Consultants for Change and High Performing Work Cultures
In A Nutshell
Proven Strategies on Service and Life
Leading Wholeheartedly: A Quality Approach
Respectful Confrontation for Superior Results

Features

Articles in Brief
The Help Desk
News Bites
What’s Up?

Book Nook

September 2003 News for a Change—Home Page

NFC Index

AQP Home

News Bites
Information of interest from other publications related to quality, participation, change, and leadership

Customer Satisfaction Index Up; Travel Industry a Factor
Customer satisfaction rose a significant 1.2% in the last quarter, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). It now stands at 73.8 on a 100-point scale.

Improvement in the travel sector, including airlines and hotels, contributed greatly to this increase. Satisfaction with the former went to 67, up 1.5% since last year’s quarterly measurement of the sector. American Airlines saw the biggest increase—6.3% to a score of 67. Southwest Airlines topped the list of major carriers with a 75, just above the composite 74 for smaller airlines classified under “all others.”

“In view of the weakening demand and the financial woes facing most airlines, the improvement in passenger satisfaction may come as a surprise to some, but it is quite consistent with what one would expect,” said Claes Fornell, director of the University of Michigan Business School’s National Quality Research Center, which compiles and analyzes the ACSI data. “Companies confronted by falling revenues, and low job security for employees as a result, are compelled to try harder. Moreover, they have fewer remaining customers to service, and under such circumstances, customer satisfaction often improves.”

Hotel satisfaction rose 2.8% to 73 for the same period, with Starwood Hotels & Resorts seeing a 5.8% increase to a score of 73. Hyatt Corporation had the highest score—77—with its 2.7% increase.

In the beleaguered telecommunications sector, smaller carriers classified as “all others” saw their scores jump 11% to 81. They bested all the major carriers.

No overall sector scores except that for the U.S. Postal Service declined during the period. The post office score went down 1.4%, to 72, although its package delivery service went up 2.5% to 75. Cable’s dismal score was a main factor in the cable/satellite sector’s having the lowest ranking in the ACSI with a score of 61. Other sectors measured during the quarter were parcel delivery, local telecommunications, broadcasting-TV, energy utilities, gas and electric service, newspaper publishing, hospitals, and motion pictures.

Retired—to a New Job
Forget leisure. Retirement is increasingly regarded as a transition to another work life—although at a more relaxed pace. In 2000, 37% of men and 31% of women age 55 to 64 were employed full or part time while receiving pension income, according to investment giant TIAA-CREF. Those proportions are likely to go higher, and eight out of 10 baby boomers say they plan to work in retirement, according to the AARP, the lobbyist for the age 50 and over crowd.

The movement toward embracing work during the last third of life calls for a much broader definition of investing for retirement. The typical retirement worksheet deals with financial assets such as equities, bonds, cash, and real estate, but investing for the long term should also encompass education, training, and networking—what economists call human capital.

Economists estimate that human capital is the most important form of wealth in the United States, worth three to four times as much as all other assets, including stocks, bonds, and real estate. “Investing in human capital is an investment like any other, and you can make it at any stage in life,” says Zvi Bodie, professor of finance at Boston University.

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