Microsoft a company founded by Bill Gates in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen envisioned a world that every office desktop and home would contain a personal computer. Microsoft has continually improved, advanced and developed software making it easier for all people to use personal computers. (Bill Gates) This business was chosen as a company providing excellent customer service because of their commitment to make a product available that has world wide appeal while offering personal service to every customer.
Microsoft’s commitment to service is reflected in their mission statement of “At Microsoft, our mission and values are to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential”. (2009 Microsoft Corporation ) Not only does Microsoft stand behind their product in regards to reliability but their mission statement goes beyond their product with the full intent of improving people’s lives and their businesses. The company is interested in how to make their customer’s lives easier while proactively integrating their product. Microsoft’s dedication to the implementation of creating software for the betterment of humanity as a whole is reflected in their investment of 7.1 billion dollars of research and development in the fiscal year ending 2007 alone. (Bill Gates) Microsoft addresses customer service related issues with their products and information technology (IT) request with service management functions by:
· Recording and determining the nature of a customer request.
· Resolving requests for information, for existing and new features, and for changes.
· Resolving incidents.
· Ensuring good customer service. (Microsoft Corporation )
Microsoft Corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington reported on July 23rd of 2009 that their fourth quarter earnings of 13.10 billion dollars for the fourth quarter ending June 30th of 2009. (Microsoft Corporation 2009) Although their tremendous financial success is commendable their reasons for success are not measured in dollar amounts. Microsoft’s element of success can be attributed to their commitment to customer service more importantly recognizing the value of their customers. Their allegiance to serving their customers is demonstrated in their statement of commitment of “At Microsoft, we’re motivated and inspired every day by how our customers use our software to find creative solutions to business problems, develop breakthrough ideas, and stay connected to what’s most important to them” (Microsoft Corporation) which falls in line with their main mission statement of helping their customers realize their full potential.
Microsoft was not immune to the adverse economic conditions which affected the global PC and server markets but they overcame this barrier by focusing on delivering customer satisfaction and solutions to save customers money. New product innovations such as Windows 7 and Bing a new search engine designed to help people make better decisions helped to elevate Microsoft in maintaining its service to customers. (Microsoft Corporation 2009) Being a world-wide corporation Microsoft has confronted barriers and obstacles relating to growth but transcended this by incorporating their commitment to values and ethics in regards to serving their customers. Since they are world renown, Microsoft accepts the responsibility of setting the standard for community engagement and innovation. Their company manages their business “to meet or exceed legal, regulatory, and ethical standards” and their high sense of values is met with honesty and integrity. (2009 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved)
Microsoft’s customer service plan and strategies are broken down into their internal and external customers who consist of:
· Clients: who include the Windows product family
· Server and Tools: Software server product users
· Online Services Business: Online advertising platforms
· Microsoft Business Division: Unified communications business solutions
· Entertainment and Devices Division: Xbox, Zune and entertainment (Microsoft Corporation)
Implementing a customer service plan and strategies is accomplished through their internal and external customers by applying a Customer Service Management Function (SMF) protocol which is initiated by users who need to inquire about Information Technology questions and concerns. The primary goal of the SMF protocol is to resolve issues with information technology related services and by providing a positive experience by meeting the needs of the customer. Increasing business productivity, adding value to the information technology services provided by Microsoft and improving business efficiency is the desired outcome of the customer service plan. The ultimate objective is to ensure good customer service. This is validated by providing the customer with follow up feedback opportunities via e-mail or phone call. Quality of the product is enhanced by customer feedback and suggestion for improvement is encouraged in all correspondence. Responsible product development is consistent with Microsoft’s culture of accountability and integrity.
Microsoft’s chairman and founder William H. Gates leads by example to promote success, values and ethics. Gates has written bestselling books written in 25 languages and made available in 60 countries where all proceeds have gone to non-profit organizations to promote education and the spread of technology. In January of 2005 Gates started a foundation called the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where he has contributed 3.6 billion dollars to support global health and learning. Through his foundation public libraries in low income areas of the United States and Canada have been the recipients of more than 2 billion dollars in the form of internet access and training. (Bill Gates) Bill Gates is a visionary and through his elements of success he places his values and ethics of his company in high regards towards achieving his goal of providing his world customers the benefits and opportunities of technological advancement. Creating a better life for all people through the works of Microsoft’s culture extends to all its employees and the company’s strive for excellence is readily apparent. Microsoft also holds its “partners and vendors accountable for responsible business and financial practices” as well as hiring, managing and promoting people of integrity within their own organization. (2009 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved)
Bill Gates philosophy of empowering his employees has shown his ability to multiply his effectiveness through the efforts of others. (Manning-Curtis) In his writings Gates instructs his readers to “Develop your people to do their jobs better than you can. Transfer your skills to them” Gates believes that “Smart managers like to see their employees increase their responsibilities because it frees the mangers to tackle new or undone tasks”. (B.Gates) Microsoft’s goal is to empower their employees with “the resources, incentives, and flexibility you need to enjoy success on the job and to live a healthy, balanced life”. (Microsoft Corporation 2009 All Rights Reserved) The company encourages its employees to continue their education with their tuition assistance for undergraduate or graduate work. Internal training programs available online or in classrooms around the globe help to fortify employees with knowledge necessary to be successful at Microsoft. The company supports their employees in their culture infrastructure in their thirst for knowledge through mentoring and employee groups which helps workers in their career development goals. Employees are empowered by feeling that their work life is a compliment to a rich and fulfilling experience enhanced by taking charge of their own lives by participating in the outlets available to them at Microsoft.
The customer service systems that Microsoft has in place include customer support via email and phones twenty four hours a day. Employees are not only motivated by the empowerment that they possess in being able to help their customers because of the knowledge that they have accrued through company procedures, policies and training but by company benefits. The company benefits include a comprehensive health care plan, adoption pay assistance, maternity leave, discounts on child care services, employee financial education program, a 401(k) plan that matches dollar for dollar and an employee discounted stock purchase plan. Microsoft also matches your charitable contributions up to 12 thousand dollars a year. Microsoft rewards its employees with competitive pay, bonuses and stock awards based on performance. (Microsoft Corporation 2009 All Rights Reserved) Microsoft also rewards behavior “that demonstrates Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to ensuring a culture of accountability and business integrity at all levels of the organization.” (2009 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved) The company addresses the morale of the company by hiring, managing and promoting people with integrity. This encourages employees to sustain high levels of competence with incentives to increase performance.
Microsoft’s customer retention program consists of offering support for the life of the product free of charge enhancing product reliability and worthiness. The company offers assistance to their internal customers and vendors who sell Microsoft products in the development of a customer retention program by means of their consulting services and suggestions for programs that can be implemented. Only 25 per cent of Microsoft’s licensing products are acquired through transactional sales volume discounts which are a form of retention because of the incentive for a discount on volume purchases. Microsoft’s commitment to its customers as a lifelong service provider is an incentive for them to stay with the company. There are not many other options available to the products that Microsoft offers so their retention efforts are geared towards maintaining a high level of customer service satisfaction. Microsoft supports the products that they sell by continually updating information technology software with an option to download the updates automatically. Microsoft customer support is easily reached by telephone or e-mail and their support is usually free of charge. The available of their customer support is paramount in retaining its existing customers.
The key to Microsoft’s success is the vision and foresight that Bill Gates has in the realm of personal computing software and business operating systems. The ability of Bill Gates to allow his employees to administer his personal passion and quest for knowledge of creating a better life for people throughout the world ensures the viability of Microsoft to survive long after the company’s founder will be gone. Bill Gates has allowed his company to take on the enormous responsibility of providing a personal desktop environment for all the people of the world and not just the business entities that formerly were the only sector of society that could afford a computer prior to Microsoft’s formation. The Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and other charitable contributions that Microsoft has contributed to are making that dream a reality.
The rapid pace of technology in the past 30 years has caused many changes and updates to Microsoft’s operating systems. If a suggestion would be made to improve Microsoft’s customer service it would be to ensure that all new operating systems would be compatible with all existing operating systems that are in place of all computers. That sounds like an insurmountable task and it probably is. A more realistic approach would be to ensure a smooth transition to any new operating systems to comply with the previous operating system. For example, the new Windows 7 should be compatible with the previous version of Windows Vista. There have been some versions of Office that are incompatible with updated versions. This has made it difficult especially in the education environment. The Office systems versions are also currently being updated and an Office 2010 version will be coming out soon, while the previous versions of Office 2007 have been just recently installed in many school systems and personal computer environments. The demand for newer innovations and products to increase profits should be managed more closely if the customer satisfaction index of the company is to maintain at a high level to be compliant with performance systems. Although consumer anxiety to rapid change is always present customer confidence in Microsoft’s product reliability could be in jeopardy if an alternate company would produce a more reliable and consistent operating system for personal and business computers.
As a student in the Business Administration field I would welcome the opportunity to work for Microsoft Corporation. Upon completion of my studies I feel I would be well suited for the Business Services and Administration Division of Microsoft or the Customer Services and Support Division. The commitment to helping people achieve their goals and making a better life for people in general appeals to me and I feel that Microsoft is dedicated to that mission. The incentive and rewards systems that the company maintains are invigorating. The ongoing research and development that Microsoft invests in appeals to my sense of security knowing that the company is interesting being a part of the future. Solving business and technical problems and making customers lives easier by using Microsoft’s products is a win-win situation. I would feel very comfortable working in that type of environment.
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