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Service Management Essay

1811 words - 8 pages

In modern business, it is more important than ever for companies to provide quality customer service if they wish to remain competitive. Instilling a culture of service through a mission statement to guide the business is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this. This essay will present and analyse a scenario where customers experience poor service to demonstrate the quality gaps that result from a company that lacks a service culture. In addition, it will draw from a variety of sources to affirm the need for companies to create a service culture. Finally it will recommend changes that a company may implement to improve their own service culture.

The following scenario takes ...view middle of the document...

The companion’s meal arrived soon after; which was attractively presented, however there was an interval of 30 minutes before the customer was served. Respecting courtesy the companion waited until the customer’s meal had arrived before eating, but during the waiting period, the companion’s meal had cooled. However, the meals were artistically and arranged and pronounced ‘delicious’ by both customers. While consuming the meal, the customer’s glass of complimentary tap-water was not refilled unless she specifically requested it. After the meal was consumed both customers went to pay at the counter where they discovered that the hot chocolate, despite not having been ordered or consumed, had been added on the total of the bill. After some dissent, the hot chocolate was removed from the bill, but it served to cast a pall over the experience as a whole.

The SERVQUAL model created by Valarie A. Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman and Leonard L. Berry in 1988 will be used to analyse the scenario to identify service failures. This model has long been used to determine the difference between and organisation’s service performance and customer service quality needs (Fedoroff, P. N.D.) The five quality gaps are: Management Perception gap (Gap 1), Marketing gap (Gap 2), Service Quality Specification gap (Gap 3), Service Performance gap (Gap 4) and Consumer Expectation gap (Gap 5).

The naïve expert customer entered the restaurant based on personal needs and expected a certain level of service from past experiences dining in other restaurants. The customer experienced Gap 5 of the SERVQUAL model; described to be the difference between customer expectations and service provider’s perceptions of service rendered, Fitzsimmon & Fitzsimmon (2001). This gap seemed to have been largely contributed to by a service performance gap because actual delivery of service did not seem to meet specifications set by management (Gap 3).

An analysis of service using RATER principles from the customer’s perspective to determine why Gap 3 contributed to Gap 5 reveals that the waitress did not assure the customers of her competence. The actions of the waitress, serving a non-requested beverage and charging for it even when it was not consumed, indicates that the waitress did not know how to use the system to cancel the beverage. This in turn suggests that the organization did not provide sufficient training to its employees so that they could competently meet and exceed the expectations of their customers.

In addition to this, during the calculation of the bill, the she did not show empathy for her customers and attempted to argue the need for the customer to pay for the non-requested beverage. Ultimately the manager did not pursue the issue but as a whole, it left a poor final impression on the customer contributing significantly to Gap 5. This falls under Gap 2, management’s inability to formulate target levels of service quality to meet perceptions of customer expectations...

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