Midlands state university Faculty of commerce Department of business management

Name. Chapanda Kudakwashe Gracious Registration No. R0645087 Level 4.2 (PDP) Programme. Business Management

BM403 Assignment Question. Examine the problems that students are facing at the bursar’s office and how the system can be improved especially queue management.

Due date. 11 February 2010

Problems faced by students at bursar’s office
Long queues Queues at bursar’s office are ever long especially as the semester begins. Arriving students are met with long lines which makes them very uncomfortable to pay their school fees. Due registration deadlines students are forced to wait patiently in those long lines. Clearly nobody enjoys waiting in long lines. Just like in business, time is precious. Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (1998), defined a queue as a line of waiting customers who require service from one or more servers. Servers typically are considered to be individual stations where customers receive service. Experts suggest that no aspect of customer service is more important than the wait in the line to be served. A customer waiting in line is potentially a lost customer. Slow servers The employees at the bursar’s office are very slow and this makes the students in the queue uncertain of whether they are going to be served or not on the same day. It often happens that some of the students have to go back home without being served after a day long wait in the queue. From my observations I have discovered that a server may take more than ten minutes on one customers. In most cases the workers are busy making conversations without paying enough attention to their work. Duncan, (2005), noted that, in any service system a queue forms whenever current demand exceed the existing capacity to serve. This occurs when servers are so busy that arriving customers cannot receive immediate service. Such situation is bound to occur at varying times and service times also vary. According to Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (2004), fluctuations in demand for service are difficult to cope with because the consumption and production of services occur simultaneously. Customers typically arrive at random and place immediate demands on the available service. If the service capacity is fully utilized at the time of his or her

arrival, then the customer is expected to wait patiently in line. Varying arrival rates and service time requirements result in the formation of queues. People who skip the line Students are having so many problems with their fellow students who are very good at skipping the line. Goldman, (2009), suggested that, the moment a customer sees a later arrival being served first, however, anxiety about how long the wait will be is transformed into anger about the unfairness of it all. This can lead to a testy if not explosive situation, and the service provider is just as likely to be the target of the anger. Sometimes the security officers who will be trying to make order at the queuing students are the very same people who facilitate the skipping of lines. Take for example when a security officer meet someone he or she knows, its definite that they will allow him or her to be served first. The staff members The are so many people who come at the servers claiming that they are members of the staff so that they can served first. Of course the students will be quite about it since they feel that they are at the mercy of the servers who are uncaring about them. Confusion A new arrival may be confused of which line they should take because there so many lines at different windows. An ignorant student may think that all the queues are for paying school fees and wait in the wrong line. Many of the new students are not sure of where they should go after they have paid their fees. One would find many students standing idle not knowing where to go.

How the system can be improved
Goldman, (2009), pointed out that long customer queues can lead to dissatisfied customers and lost business. The management should take some measures to reduce the queues and improve operations. How well the management manage the queues in the service industry can have a tremendous impact on customer service. Opening additional teller windows According to Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (2004), management can vary the service capacity effectively by opening and closing service lines to meet changes in demand. The university can open additional teller windows when the length of queues becomes excessive. Cross training employees also adds to this flexibility. Knowing the peak periods Goldman, (2009), stated that managers must gather data on the nature of the demand and queues. By understanding when their queues form most often, they can create a staffing plan that meets this demand. The university may find out that most of the students will be paying their fees during the first days of the semester. During this period additional teller windows can be opened to cater for the demand. Improving employees working pace The behavior of service personnel toward customers is critical to the success of the organization. As noted by Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons , (2004), under the pressure of the long waiting lines, a server may speed up and spend less time with each customer. Unfortunately a gracious and leisurely manner then becomes curt and impersonal. Sustained pressure to hurry may increase the rate of customer processing, but it also sacrifices quality. Make the students occupied during the wait Just as “nature abhors vacuum,” people dislike empty time. Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (1998), pointed out that, empty or unoccupied time feels awful. It keeps us from other productive activities; frequently is physically uncomfortable; makes us feel

powerless and at the mercy of servers, who we may perceive as uncaring about us; and perhaps worst of all seems to last forever. As noted by Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (1998), services that consist of several stages can conceal waiting by asking people to walk between successive stages. There are innumerable other ways to fill the time: reading matter, television monitors, live entertainment, posters, artwork, toys and cookies and pots of coffee. The waiting period can be used to educate customers about a certain subject Make those in line feel the service has started Handing a procedural documents to the waiting students convey a sense that the service has started. In fact people can tolerate longer waits within reason, if they feel service has began better than they can tolerate such waits if service has not even started. According to Khanna, (2009), customers become dissatisfied more quickly with an initial wait subsequent waits after the service has begun. Alleviate waiting anxieties Whether rational or not, anxieties may be the single biggest factor influencing the waiting customer. Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (1998), pointed out that, managers must recognize these anxieties and develop strategies to alleviate them. In some cases this may be a simple matter of having an employee acknowledge the customer presence. Take-a-number arrangement According to Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (1998), a simple strategy for avoiding violations of the first-come first-served queuing policy is the take-a-number arrangement. The number currently being served may be displayed so that the new customer can see how long the wait will be. This will allow the customer to move around without any fear of loosing his or her position in line.

Use of a single queue Another strategy for fostering first-come first-served service when there are multiple servers is use of a single queue. A new arrival joins the back of the line; the first person in the line is served by the next available server. As noted by Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (2004), anxiety is relieved, because there is no fear that later arrivals will slip ahead of their rightful place. Often customers who have guaranteed their place in this way will relax and enjoy a few pleasantries with others in the line. Separate server for the staff members According to Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (1998), a management sensitive to the concerns of all its customers will take measures to avoid an image of obvious discrimination. One solution might be to conceal the preferential treatment by locating in an area that is separate from the regular service line. Give employees enough resources Goldman, (2009), noted that, standardizing employees work will help move the queue along as well. The management should make sure that they understand the nature of their work and take measures to provide the employees with everything possible that will make the work more productive. For example if there are few computers the management should make sure that enough computers are available. Make customers feel they are valued Casserley, (2009), stated that, when a queue forms, it is critical that people feel they have been treated fairly. A queue system that discourages “pushing in” eliminates many of the psychological issues that contribute to stress in the queue. Clear evidence that a queue is being managed by the service provider is important. If a system is not in place, those waiting will not be confident that the service provider values their time appropriately.

Provide progress feedback Khanna, (2009), the process must include positive feedback of progress. Clues that allow customers to estimate their own likely waiting time or at least understand that the queue is progressing provide reassurance that the wait is not an uncertain one. Start and end points must be visible Duncan, (2005), also suggested that, the process must be clearly identified; start and end points must be visible. Where more than one queue is in operation perhaps for different types of service or goods, it must be clear to consumers what the purpose of each queue is. Conclusion “A complete absence of waiting only would be possible in a situation where consumers are asked to arrive at fixed intervals and service times are deterministic,” Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (2004), page 283. thus as long as service time vary, delays can be encountered even when arrivals are scheduled by appointment. Therefore waiting is inevitable and service operations managers must consider how customers in a queue are to be treated. Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (1998), also cited that, the economic cost of waiting can be vied from two perspectives. For a firm, the of keeping an employee(internal customer) waiting may be measured by unproductive wages. For external customers the cost of waiting is the foregone alternative use of that time. Added to this are cost of boredom, anxiety and other psychological distresses While waiting can have number of economic interpretations its true cost is always difficult to determine. For this reason the trade off between the cost of waiting and the cost of providing service seldom is made explicit, yet service providers must consider the physical, behavioral, and economic aspects of the customer waiting experience in their decision making.

1. Fitzsimmons J and Fitzsimmons M, (1998), Service Management: operations, strategy and information technology, McGraw Hill, New York. 2. Fitzsimmons J and Fitzsimmons M, (2004), Service Management: operations, strategy and information technology, McGraw Hill, New York. 3. Casserley C, (2009), Queue Management System for the Tourism Sector, retrieved from http:/www.tiresias.org 08 February 2009. 4. Duncan D, (2005), Managing Real and Virtual Waits in Service Organizations, retrieved from www.entrepreneur.com/tradejournals.html 08 February 2009. 5. Goldman A, (2009), Managing Queues in the Service Industry, retrieved from www.gaebler.com 08 February 2009 6. Khanna S, (2009), Method of Managing Queue, retrieved from www.faqs.org 08 February 2009

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