I read the Harvard Business Review www.hbr.org as often as I can. We apply many of their concepts here at Lean. This recent article caught my eye. It ties in nicely to the approach we take with Hiring Managers regarding Service Level Agreements.
“Think Customers Hate Waiting?
How often have you found yourself staring at your computer screen as a progress bar tracks the machine’s fitful loading of an application or completion of a search and wondered, “What’s taking so long?” Good managers worry about wait time because a great deal of evidence (not to mention common sense) suggests that reducing it can increase customer satisfaction. Our research, however, demonstrates that a different approach — simply showing people what is taking so long — gets better results. Customers find waiting more tolerable when they can see the work being done on their behalf — and they tend to value the service more.
This holds true even when what’s shown is merely the appearance of effort. What we term the labor illusion — a demonstration of effort, whether literal or not, expended to meet the customer’s request — can be so effective, in fact, that many customers who endure waits but see a running tally of tasks end up happier than those who don’t have to wait at all. People even prefer waiting with the labor illusion to playing an interactive game of tic-tac-toe.
In one experiment we conducted, participants searched on a simulated travel Web site for a flight. Some watched the typical boring progress bar. Others could see each airline being canvassed. The second service received higher ratings, even when those using it were forced to wait for as long as a minute. In another experiment, each participant booked the same trip through two different sites and received identical results. One site delivered the results instantly but invisibly, whereas the other took either 30 or 60 seconds but showed the labor being done. A majority preferred the transparent — and slower — site.
Many of us have already experienced the labor illusion online: The travel Web site Kayak, for example, shows customers each airline it searches. We’ll increasingly encounter it in other environments as well. Apple recently augmented its automated voice response system with the prerecorded sound of typing, creating the impression that the digital operator is physically keying in the caller’s query. ATMs at the Spanish bank BBVA show an animation of bills being counted as customers wait for the machines to spit out their cash. The U.S. Postal Service has installed screens that show customers each step being taken by the postal worker who is helping them. Starbucks now requires that baristas steam milk for each drink individually — a process that increases wait time but allows customers to see what’s going on.
Transparency has long been heralded as a virtue in accounting and public relations. Our research suggests that operations can reap important bottom-line benefits from it as well.”
As we’ve discussed in our previous posts on Managing your Hiring Managers and Mission Health System’s Lean Journey using a Service Level Agreement can improve customer satisfaction by communicating a number of actions that are occurring during the recruiting life cycle.
Most relevant to Hiring Managers is communication about what is happening at each stage of the lifecycle and how much time each step usually takes. The Service Level Agreement will outline this to both parties. Hiring Managers will know, for instance, that in the first 10 days of a requisition being opened, Recruiting is sourcing and screening resumes to then forward along to them.
If Recruiting is using SLA’s often enough Hiring Managers become aware of what’s taking place, and by whom, at any given time in the process. The relationship between Hiring Manager and Recruiting immediately improves simply because they know there is effort taking place on their behalf, even if Hiring Managers cannot physically see it!
If you’d like to learn more about Service Level Agreements and how you can apply them to your organization please contact us.
Have a great week!