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Quality Quiz:Professor Cleary
Another quiz from Professor Cleary

Will N. Werker is responsible for keeping costs down in his company, Worldwide Fresh Florist Delivery, which prides itself on on-time delivery of its products, as well as assurance of satisfaction with the floral products themselves. “Promises met” is a company mantra. His assistant, Flora N. Fawna, supports this mission by making sure that the company does not over-promise and under-deliver. “If we say same-day service, we have to be able to deliver on the same day,” she insists. Will agrees grudgingly, since sometimes the company has to use extraordinary measures to assure that a commitment to deliver is met—measures that may cost more than planned or that depend on sometimes unreliable local florists to deliver the products.

Flora is dealing with an irate customer who had ordered a floral arrangement for his mother-in-law, to be delivered on her birthday. The local florist responsible for the delivery had said he would make every effort to deliver on the promised day, but he had other customers’ demands to meet, including flowers for a large wedding, so he was not 100 percent certain that he could do this. Flora recommended to Will that the company engage a different local florist for the delivery, to assure an on-time gift, but Will knew that the second florist would be more expensive, so he advised Flora to “take a chance” on the original arrangement.

When the delivery was not in fact made, Flora’s inclination was to refund the customer’s money and make the delivery anyway, with apologies from the company for the delay. She advised delivering an even more lavish arrangement than the one ordered, to compensate for the delay.

Will, however, believes that the refund would be enough. “Why should we deliver free flowers, when our business success depends on providing products at reasonable prices?” He sent a terse email to the customer, saying simply “We will refund your money via the credit card you used for the purchase.”  Will himself basked in the success of avoiding an unnecessary expense on the part of the company.

Did Will in fact save the company money by taking this course of action, rather than acknowledging error and delivering an even better product to the customer?

a) Yes; saving money for the company is the foundation of successful management.

b) No; he will lose not only this customer, but potential customers to whom the customer will tell his story.


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