Business students to pump gas, learn about customer service


For Immediate Release
September 13, 1999

Dr. Rick Lytle, acting dean of Abilene Christian University's College of Business Administration, says service in today's consumer environment has diminished throughout the past several years, so he is trying to reintroduce the concept to students through first-hand experiences.

Lytle's Consumer Behavior class will learn about customer service from a first-hand perspective Sept. 16 and 17 as they pump gas, clean windshields, check oil and provide other customer services for gasoline purchasers at Allsup's Convenience Stores at 301 N. Judge Ely Blvd. and 1741 Hwy. 351 E.

Students will be teamed in groups of three to four to work one-hour shifts at the two Allsup's store from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

"We are trying to teach the students how to deliver some small level of service we used to have in our economy 20, 30 years ago," Lytle said.

"Plus, it's a customer research project that will allow students the opportunity to try to understand why or what consumers feel about service and if service makes a difference," he said. "We might also discover consumers have changed, and they like to pump the gas themselves. Now, there may be no competitive advantage for offering service."

The research aspect of this project has been a continual endeavor for Lytle and others at ACU's College of Business Administration.

An upcoming spring 2000 article in the "European Journal of Marketing" will highlight research Lytle and Dr. Monty Lynn, professor of management sciences, conducted concerning the relationship between a service-oriented company and its profitability.

The Allsup's Convenience Stores project will help students identify the value of customer service.

"The students are in this class trying to study why consumers behave the way they do and what impacts them, so I want them to see if service makes a difference," Lytle said.

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Last update: Sept. 13, 1999
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