Part D, the federal government’s prescription drug insurance program for Medicare enrollees, relies on competition between private insurers to create savings for consumers. This “managed competition” model offers consumers dozens of coverage options with the goal of enabling them to reduce unnecessary out of pocket expenses. Critics of the plan have argued that Part D is too complicated and confusing for its target audience of senior citizens, especially those with dementia. The issue created an opportunity for researcher Jonathan Ketcham, an associate professor in the marketing department of the W. P. Carey School of Business, to look at one of the deep questions in marketing, economics, psychology and public policy: can consumers make sound decisions, or would greater government restrictions make people better off?
Avnet's Steve Phillips: Selling to the C-suite
Steve Phillips is vice president and chief information officer for Avnet, Inc. In 2010, CIO Magazine named Avnet a recipient of the "CIO 100 Award." In 2011, Computer World named Phillips a "Premier 100 IT Leader." Recently, Phillips met with a group of students from the W. P. Carey School's professional sales initiative. He answered their questions about selling to the C-suite then shared the Avnet values philosophy. Driven to Love: Business Booms when Passion Meets Possessions
Social isolation in the U.S. has been on the rise for decades, according to research conducted in 2006 by sociologists. Yet, that sad news might not be bad news for business, if companies heed insights uncovered by John Lastovicka, a marketing professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business. His investigations indicate that loneliness is one route that leads people to fall in love with possessions, and where there's love, there's money. People who demonstrate what Lastovicka calls material-possession love spend significantly more time and money on the objects of their affections than others in the marketplace. Making Services a Science: New Study Finds Great Interest -- and Great Confusion
Companies like IBM, PetSmart and Marriott have been proving that enormous success, and enormous profits, can be found in services. Yet services have always been difficult to get your arms around -- difficult to understand. The Center for Services Leadership recently engaged upon a project that will help move services in the direction of a science. Earlier this year, the CSL surveyed more than 300 business executives and academics about the state of the services landscape. The survey results confirmed what CSL researchers had suspected -- that while there is enormous new interest in services, there remains great confusion, and tremendous opportunities, around how services should be designed and implemented. The study also identified 10 specific priority areas in which business executives and academics were most interested in finding real answers. Roll Out the Red Carpet: A Culture of Service Excellence
"There is no arrival at customer service excellence," said Terry Cain, vice president of operational excellence at Avnet, Inc. "It's a never-ending process." Companies in maturing industries have found that offering customers services is the competitive edge that counteracts declining margins, slower growth, and fundamental challenges to yesterday's value propositions. Delivering exceptional customer service is for many firms the first step toward developing a services business.Podcast: Warnings for 'Restrained' Eaters
One-third of U.S. adults are obese, and another third are overweight, according to data recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Marketing scholars Naomi Mandel, Andrea Morales and Steve Nowlis have been investigating what influences our decisions about diet. Knowledge@W. P. Carey spoke with Professor Morales recently about two of her studies. One investigated those tempting 100-calorie snack packs, and the other looked at whether your dining companions have any effect on your food selections. The results may surprise you. Podcast: "Your Call Is Not That Important To Us"
"Please hold -- your call is important to us." If you've ever heard that sentence then you know what it's like to be "on hold" for customer service. Journalist and author Emily Yellin found herself suspended in customer service no-man's-land when she tried to get her home warranty company to honor their commitments. The experience propelled her to explore the inner workings of the customer service industry, and to write a book about it entitled "Your Call Is (not that) Important to Us." Yellin was a featured speaker at the 20th Annual Compete Through Service Symposium, hosted by the Center for Services Leadership at the W. P. Carey School of Business. She talked with us about the state of customer service today, and how companies might improve. Symposium podcast coverage was sponsored by IBM. Podcast: James Champy Talks About Outsmarting Your Competition
James Champy is the author of "Outsmart! How to Do What Your Competitors Can't." Champy profiles eight highly-successful firms as he develops his thesis that the key to outsmarting the competition is to focus on the external environment -- including the customers. Be ready to respond when opportunities appear. Sometimes that means changing your business model, or, as he says, "starting with a new sheet of paper." Knowledge@W. P. Carey caught up with Champy at a conference sponsored by the Center for Services Leadership. Champy talked about the distinguishing characteristics of the companies he writes about, including the quality of their ambitions, their culture of innovation and the level of engagement at all levels. Podcast coverage of the "Compete Through Service" symposium is sponsored by IBM. Welcome to the Future: Smart Services Improve Quality, Lower Cost, Foster Innovation, and Help the Environment Too
At the 20th Annual Compete Through Service Symposium, hosted by the Center for Services Leadership at the W. P. Carey School of Business, business leaders from all industries gathered to discuss (in part) how technology can help companies differentiate themselves in the market. In one panel discussion, four business leaders at the cutting edge of the services evolution demonstrated how technology-enabled or technology-delivered services -- often referred to as "smart" services -- can help an organization improve its customer service, reduce its cost to service, make more money through new innovations, and even reduce its environmental impact in the process. Avnet's Roy Vallee on Leadership
Thirty-seven years ago Roy Vallee was stocking shelves at a small electronics distribution company in Los Angeles. That small firm has grown up to become Avnet, Inc., a Fortune 500 firm located in Phoenix, Arizona. Avnet is one of the largest distributors of electronic parts, enterprise computing and storage products, and embedded subsystems in the world. And Roy Vallee is the CEO and chairman of the board. One morning recently, marketing professor Anthony Peloso sat down with Mr. Vallee to talk about Avnet, his leadership style, and how to motivate employees -- even in a far-flung global operation. Professor Peloso leads the Marketing Professional Sales and Relationship Management Initiative, which fosters strong relationships between students who are headed for careers in sales, marketing faculty members and corporate partners. The goal is to build professional sales capabilities and advance the profile and status of the sales function. And now let's hear what Mr. Vallee has to say about one the toughest jobs of leadership: motivating employees.