Don’t miss this week’s must-read field service management stories.

Ritz-Carlton’s employees are encouraged to spend $2,000 to make customers happy — but throwing heaps of money at a problem isn’t always the best solution. Two Ritz employees show that thoughtful, creative gestures can go a long way. How? They heard that a guest’s young son lost his beloved Thomas the Tank Engine toy at the hotel. Unable to find the toy, they bought a replica and mailed it to the family with a story about Thomas’ “vacation” while on the lam. A little creativity (and $50) created loyal customers for life.

Read more at Forbes

Is Airline Service ‘Calculated Misery’?

These days, flying is a necessary evil — not a glamorous experience. But are airlines or customers to blame for the torment? Some argue airlines are nickel-and-diming passengers with fees for services; others say people are getting exactly what they want: cheap flights versus quality service. There’s a lesson in there for field service leaders.

Follow the debate at The Economist

Same-Day Delivery a Boon for Fleets

Shipping and delivery companies must adjust as people flock to cities and increasingly demand rapid delivery. But the switch to “last-mile” service could be good for business – and good for drivers.

Read more at FleetOwner

Tips for Handling Hard Conversations with Tact

Managers are faced with uncomfortable, potentially confrontational, situations. Whether it’s a review with an underperforming employee or a call to deliver bad news to a customer, these situations are part of the job. Don’t avoid them. Here are some tips to ease the pain.

Read more at Harvard Business Review

Death, Taxes … and Bad Service

Business owners who have tax questions might want to ask their CPA, not the IRS. A new report says the agency’s customer service will hit a 14-year low this year. The culprits? Budget cuts, a smaller staff and more returns.

Read more at Fortune