Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #222
Raising the Bar, an OBM Approach to Customer Service
Sunday, May 28, 2006
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Heather M. McGee (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Heather M. McGee (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Customer service is becoming increasingly important to organizations, with more than half of the gross domestic product in the United States being accounted for in the service industry, according to the US Department of Commerce (1997). Competitive advantage for companies often exists in their ability to serve and satisfy their customers. In the emerging information-based economy, it is often the case that the same technology and materials are available to all; therefore, many organizations are looking for ways to improve human performance in the area of customer service. The Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) literature has demonstrated the effectiveness of many techniques for changing human performance that could be useful in the customer service setting. The following three studies focused on improving customer service in various settings: a large retail chain store, a medical clinic waiting room, and a hospital pharmacy. An analysis of the results and limitations of each study will be discussed, along with the implications of the use of OBM techniques in these settings and suggestions for future research.
The Effects of Graphic Feedback, Goal Setting, and Positive Reinforcement on Customer Service Behaviors.
SHANNON M. LOEWY (Western Michigan University), Jon S. Bailey (Florida State University)
Abstract: The current study utilized a multiple baseline design to investigate the effects of graphic feedback, goal setting, and positive reinforcement on customer service behaviors in a large retail setting. The study took place in two locations of a large home improvement warehouse, both in Tallahassee, FL. Direct observation techniques were used to gather data on the dependent variables of customer greeting, eye contact, and smiling. After baseline data was collected, the first intervention phase, consisting of graphic feedback, was implemented. The feedback graphs were posted twice each week in the employee break room. The next phase included goal setting and positive reinforcement. Goals were developed based on current performance and were posted on the graphs. Managers delivered immediate, verbal reinforcement to employees after going through a manager training session administered by the experimenters. Modest results were seen for both interventions across all behaviors in both stores. Further analysis of the results, along with the implications of these results, will be discussed.
The Use of a Package Intervention to Improve the Customer Service Behaviors of a Medical Clinic Staff.
KRYSTYNA ORIZONDO-KOROTKO (Western Michigan University), Jon S. Bailey (Florida State University)
Abstract: With the rise of an increasingly competitive business market, customer service is becoming more important to organizations. The purpose of this study was to improve the customer service behaviors of a medical clinic staff using a package intervention. The waiting rooms of two medical clinics, owned by the same company, served as the setting and the participants were all of the receptionists working at both locations. Overall customer service was the main concern for improvement, pinpointed into five specific behaviors: greeting, smiling, use of the patient’s name, patient check-in, and small talk. An ABC multiple baseline across settings design was utilized in order to display experimental control. The first intervention was a combination of task clarification, in the form of a memo, and graphic feedback, so the employees would know their performance level. The second intervention consisted of goal setting and positive reinforcement. The findings showed that the biggest improvements in all behaviors occurred during the first intervention phase. All behaviors increased during both interventions, with smiling increasing to the highest mean occurrence (83%). Limitations and suggestions for future research will be discussed.
Reducing Wait Times in a Hospital Pharmacy to Promote Customer Service.
JULIE M. SLOWIAK (Western Michigan University), Bradley E. Huitema (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: The quality of service received by a customer affects their satisfaction with the organization. To increase the probability that customers will return to an organization, it is critical that customers are satisfied with the organization's services. The amount of time customers spend waiting in line can affect their satisfaction with an organization's services (Gail & Lucey, 1997). This study examined the effects of a single intervention versus a combined intervention package to reduce wait times in a hospital's outpatient pharmacy. Customer satisfaction ratings were collected to determine the effect of a reduction in wait time on customer service satisfaction with wait time. An ABCB within-subjects design was used to assess both wait time and customers' levels of satisfaction with their wait time, where A = Baseline (no feedback and no goal setting), B = Customer Satisfaction Feedback, and C = Customer Satisfaction Feedback, Wait TimeFeedback, and Goal Setting for Wait Time Reduction. Results showed small to moderate reductions in wait time during intervention phases. Reduction in wait time had little effect on customers' levels of satisfaction with wait time. Limitations and suggestions for future research will be discussed,focusing on highly-variable environments.



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