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Quality Problems at the

Tech Bookstore
Case 2.3
Toni Claerhout
• Tech Services is an incorporated university that operates one on-campus bookstore and one
off-campus bookstore
• The bookstores sell textbooks at low markups, but as a result all merchandise is higher
• Sales and profits have been satisfactory in the past few years
• A long standing policy of hiring Tech students exists in the bookstores
• List of problems have occurred at off campus bookstore regarding the student employees
Problems at the Tech
• Student employee arrested on drug possession
• Shouting match between employee and customer over locating a book
• Student employee rude to alum after not knowing the return policy
• Customer complaint about unmanned registers and social employees

• Board suggests to Mr. Watson (executive director) to assess quality at the

The Survey

Campus Store Noncampus Store

Student NonStudent Student NonStudent
Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes No
Were employees courteous and friendly? 572 93 286 147 341 114 172 156
Were employees knowledgable and helpful? 522 143 231 212 350 105 135 193
Was the overall service good? 569 96 278 165 322 133 180 148
Did you have to wait long for service? 74 591 200 243 51 404 150 178
Did you have to wait long to checkout? 81 584 203 240 72 383 147 181
Was the item you wanted available? 602 63 371 72 407 48 296 32
Was the cost of your purchase(s) reasonable? 385 280 398 45 275 180 301 27
Have you visted the store's website? 335 330 52 391 262 193 17 311

Question 1: Why did Mr. Watson organize the survey the way he did? What else
could he have done?
On Campus Results
Off Campus Results
Survey Overview
Question: Discuss the quality problems the
bookstore has?

Overall, the bookstore in both locations are

having problems with people not visiting the
website, their staff not being helpful and
generally poor service.
• How would you define quality at the bookstore?
• I would define quality at the bookstore by having quick response times, courtesy of
employees, credibility in the community and consistency of good service in order to
satisfy the needs of all customers.
• What are the bookstore’s costs of poor quality?
• Internal failure costs: cost of investigating the problems, delay in providing service to
customers, loss of sales due to lack of knowledge
• External failure costs: cost of handling customer complaints, cost of replacing returned
products, loss of reputation
• What actions or programs would you propose to improve quality at the
• Add more training programs for employees, incentives for visiting website, implement
security or camera systems, appoint a quality leader
• What obstacles might exist to hinder quality improvement?
• The bookstore uses all profits to fund student activities, always hiring student
employees, lack of motivation with employees and managers,
Benefits from Quality Improvement
• Improve morale of employees/customers
• Improve relationships between management and student employees
• Enhance efficiency and productivity
• Improving awareness of employees
• Include employees in decision making
• Higher quality service
• Increased customer satisfaction