Service Marketing – Individual Report – Assignment Sample

Services Marketing – Individual Report

Name

Institution

 


Table of Contents

Table of Contents 2

Introduction 3

Approaches for Evaluating Service Quality 3

The Service Quality Model 3

Post-Service Model 7

Follow-up Survey Model 9

Recommendations 9

References 12

 

 

Question One: Study of Quality of Service to Customers

Introduction

Marketing is a constant, chronological process used by organisational management for planning, conducting research, implementation of policies, adopting controls, and assessment of events intended to meet the needs of customers, along with accomplishment of the organisation’s goals. In keeping with Morrison (2010), services marketing is described as “a concept based on a recognition of the uniqueness of all services; it is a branch of marketing that specifically applies to the service industries” (p. 767). Therefore, this report discusses a development of a study focussing on different approaches that can be used to evaluate service quality and the potential implications for managers wishing to increase quality. It further gives recommendations for a luxury hotel chain on the best system that the hotel should use to monitor and manage service quality. For purposes of demonstration, this study report would be developed considering Premier Inn, a British hotel chain and the UK’s largest hotel brand, to explore the possible evaluation approaches.

Approaches for Evaluating Service Quality

Different approaches can be used to evaluate service quality offered by Premier Inn hotel chain, including service quality gap model, post-service rating and follow up survey. These approaches are suitable for managers wishing to increase quality of service, however, the report discusses their comparative benefits leading to recommendations that Premier Inn hotel chain should use to monitor and manage service quality within the hospitality industry.

The Service Quality Model

The Service Quality Model (commonly known as SERVQUAL Model) was developed and applied by the American marketing experts as a multi-dimensional research instrument. It was mainly established to capture consumer expectations and views of a service following five dimensions that are assumed to characterise service quality. Calabtese and Scoglio (2012) acknowledge that the most extensively used tool for evaluating service quality is the SERVQUAL. This model is the most common method for measuring the subjective components of service quality. Using a survey, the management of Premier Inn hotel chain can ask customers to rate the delivered service in relation to their expectations. According to Sayareh, Iranshahi and Golfakhrabadi (2016), SERVQUAL is an advanced model for evaluating service quality and is grounded on the original GAP model. However, the formerly 10 dimensions of evaluating service quality were collapsed into five dimensions counting tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. The model further contains a 22-item SERVQUAL scale used for evaluating service quality.

SERVQUAL scale assesses service quality by ascertaining the gaps existing between customers’ expectations of the service and their views of the real performance of the service rendered. The approach is deemed to be an appropriate tool for evaluating the service quality, ascertaining and assessing existing gaps between service expectations and views. Its questions used in a scale contain what SERVQUAL model portends are the five elements of service quality. It can be easily remembered by the acronym ‘RATER’, which implies ‘Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy and Responsiveness, respectively as shown in the figure below. Reliability is described as the capacity to provide the assured service in a consistent and accurate way. Arlen (2008) explains that the reliability aspect defines the ability to execute the promised service unfailingly and perfectly to the consumers. Managers at Premier Inn should focus on reliability of their services to customers as the element accounts for 32% of service quality as illustrated by the figure below. The hotel chain’s management should not make promises unless they WILL keep them in accordance with the objectives of the organisation and customers’ expectations. Reliability is one of the secrets to any respectable association, and noble customer service is no exception. The mangers need to think well before giving any promises to hotel’s consumers to avoid customer dissatisfaction.

 

Figure 1: The five elements of service quality in SERVQUAL with % importance

Secondly, the next element is assurance, which takes up to 19%of service quality in an organisation. Yarimoglu (2014) defines assurance as “courtesy knowledge, ability of employees to inspire trust and confidence” (p. 85). The hotel customers should be in a position to trust employees within the hotel chain and the customers should feel secure when performing their transactions with these hotels’ staff. The management at Premier Inn should educate their staff on the importance of maintaining high quality of service delivery as an instrument for achieving assurance in quality service delivery. The employees should be polite as they need to obtain enough support to perform their jobs appropriately. Assurance is described as the knowledge level and courtesy of the personnel engaged in an organisation and to what degree they build trust and confidence among customers. Morgan (2018) adds that brand managers need to spare no costs to guarantee that quality assurance is a priority to safeguard the tangible and intangible features of their marketed brands. Premier Inn hotel chain managers should make sure that the hotel’s human resource management department hires the most suitable staff who have the experience of the job, as well as good manners such as politeness for good customer relations. It largely concerns the knowledge and courtesy of employees along with their capacity to transfer trust and confidence to consumers.

Thirdly, tangibles dimension is an element that describes the appearance; for example, it describes the appearance of the Premier Inn hotel building, website, equipment, and employees. Yarimoglu (2014) support that the tangibles dimension encompasses physical evidence and representations of the service, together with other customers in the service facility. It largely builds on the appearance of physical facilities, equipment, workforces, and communication tools used to foster relationships between the staff and consumers. Since the tangibles dimension pertains to the physical facilities, equipment, and appearance of employees, the managers at Premier Inn hotel chain should ensure that all of their hotel branches have up-to-date equipment to be used during service delivery to consumers. At the same time, the physical facilities like the buildings, guest rooms, among others should be visually appealing to customers and this will make them feel satisfied with the quality of service delivered by the hotels. In relation to the appearance of the personnel, the employees at Premier Inn should be properly and neatly dressed to match the standards of the appearance of physical facilities that are maintained in relation to the type of services offered.

In addition, the SERVQUAL approach operates on the dimension of empathy, which describes the extent to which the employees care and provide individual attention to customers. This treats service as a process where the customers’ expectations are evaluated at every stage so as to provide services that meet and potentially surpass their expectations (Crick and Spencer, 2011). As it explains the caring and individualized attention the hotel gives its customers, the managers should be ready to inculcate the element of empathy among its workforces. The staff need to be service-oriented and this should be able to improve the quality of service delivery in the hotel business, hence, marketing the hotel for higher profitability.

Lastly, the model involves the element of responsiveness describing how willing the employees are to provide a speedy service. In any business, there is a need for willingness from the business owner to render services willingly. Being responsive explains the willingness to help customers and offer prompt service that will lead to positive feedbacks and high satisfaction rates following the services rendered.

Post-Service Model

The post-service model is defined as a practice of asking customers to rate the service right just after it has been rendered. The modern day’s consumers are complicated, well informed and have high expectations of the services they want to receive from organisations (Cook, 2008). These consumers need better choice, fast service, convenience and will not be vulnerable to manipulation. The author acknowledges some prevailing disadvantages of the model, including quality, accuracy and timeliness of the list of customers that Premier Inn is working from. There is also a challenge that the post-mail surveys may appear to be impersonal, calling for the hotel management to consider making incentives for completion to increase customer response rates. Organisations that do not confront and address these changes will lose market share and that implies a decline in production and overall success in business. It is aimed at knowing whether the customers are satisfied or dissatisfied from the completed transaction. For instance, having application software like Userlike live chat, an organisation can evaluate service quality using a chat window that is set to change into a service rating view the moment the chat session is over and the window closes. Chaffey, D., & Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2019) claim that comments mentioned in social media can be added together with customer feedback and support forums. Userlike and FreshworksTM facilitate an innovative messaging system that can be used by companies to enhance live chat for improve target marketing.

The software allows customers to make their rating, possibly share some descriptive response, and finish up the conversation. In addition, the evaluation model does in-phone support whenever a call is placed to customer service desk and the required service is delivered. The customer service representative at Premier Inn would ask whether the customer is satisfied with their service delivery, or in case the customer asked would like to stay on the line in order to complete an automatic survey. The customers have the opportunity to respond to the service quality queries by typing numbers representing the level of satisfaction. Different scales can be used in the assessment of the post service rating to customer service and several companies exploit a number rating from 1 – 10. At the same time, there is a possible vagueness in this context, since various cultures differ in the manner in which they rate their service experiences.

Individuals from distinctive cultures, for instance, appear to select the extreme points of the scale in comparison to those with collectivistic backgrounds. According to stereotypes, Americans have a higher likelihood to rate a service as either “amazing” or “terrible,” whereas the Japanese will barely ever surpass the “fine” response in the items of scale.  It is imperative to be conscious about when the company has an international audience. Other scales are designed in a simpler manner and are more strong to cultural variations and more appropriate for evaluating service quality. Customers do not commonly make a complex approximation of service quality. In light of these variations, Userlike software exploits a 5-start chat rating that helps business organisations in capturing feedbacks from their customers so as to know about the effectiveness of their service delivery. The government of the United States exploits four smileys counting ‘angry, disappointed, fine and great’ as was of responding to their service delivery and that sounds easy.

Follow-up Survey Model

The follow-up survey model allows organisations to ask their customers to rate the service quality using an email survey, which is commonly given in the nature of web forms. An illustration of this is in Hilton Hotels that seem to be exemplary in following up after every survey (Sharma, 2019). For instance, Premier Inn may request a customer to use Google Forms in responding to help desk service. It has a number of benefits over the post-service rating described above. Firstly, the model gives the customer the time and space for more comprehensive responses that explains the reaction in detail. The responses are not as limited as in the case of post-service model where the customers have to choose from a list of options. Within this model, the hotel can send a SERVQUAL kind of survey containing multiple questions rather than one, which can be horribly frustrating in a post-service model rating.

Secondly, the follow-up survey model offers a more holistic summary of the hotel’s service delivery. Rather than having a case-by-case evaluation procedure, the model evaluates the customers’ general views of its service delivery. It is also a beneficial method in the event that the hotel does not have the post-service rating model put in place, and there is an urgent need for a fast overview of the state of its service quality to customers. With a follow-up survey model in place, the customer service experience dates back to previous transaction and the customers might have forgotten about it completely or may relate to a new survey experience. The challenge with this model include the junking of mail boxes and the need to know email addresses of all customers so as to send them a reply.

Recommendations

Knowing the customers is a fundamental aspect of success for managers wishing to increase quality in their organisational business. It is key to a successful customer service as the impression is to develop, provide and communicate greater value. The products and services offer need to meet to the needs and demands of customers as these stakeholders are the most vital people for any organisation, making up resources that constitute organisational success. Having a good understanding of customers is important both for their impact on marketing decisions and for influencing the whole company through their practices. Customers are the main reason why hotels exist and should be evaluated adequately in order to make the right and informed decisions. As a result, the best system that Premier Inn should use to monitor and manage service quality is the SERVQUAL model

The hotel manager should consider making incentives for completion to increase customer response rates since there is a challenge that the post-mail surveys may appear to be impersonal. Service quality is connected to the theory of perceptions and expectations in which customers evaluate service quality through comparing their expectations to the actual performance of the service provider. Using a survey, the management of Premier Inn hotel chain can ask customers to rate the delivered service in relation to their expectations. The discussion has highlighted that SERVQUAL scale assesses service quality by ascertaining the gaps existing between customers’ expectations of the service and their views of the real performance of the service rendered. Similarly, the approach is deemed to be an appropriate tool for evaluating the service quality, ascertaining and assessing existing gaps between service expectations and views. The hotel management could use this model to question customers in a scale containing what SERVQUAL model portends to be the five elements of service quality. Hence, service quality can be explained as the difference between customers’ expectations of service and their view of actual service performance of the hotel. It officially takes the degree and course of discrepancy between customers’ service views and prospects.

Adopting the SERVQUAL model in customer service quality evaluation and assessment of customer perception and expectation of service can lead to higher customer retention rates, increased customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth feedbacks. These would lead to an increasing opportunity for Premier Inn in cross-selling, employee benefits, enhanced hotel image, increase in profits and general economic performance. Occasionally, evaluating customers too regularly might possibly lead to customers losing their inspiration to respond appropriately to surveys. With the element of assurance, Premier Inn hotel chain managers can ensure that the hotel’s human resource management department hires the most suitable staff who have the experience of the job. The experience should entail good manners such as politeness for good customer relations to show courtesy when serving the hotel customers within the hospitality industry.

 

 

 

 


References

Arlen, C. (2008, October 24). The 5 service dimensions all customers care about. Retrieved from http://www.serviceperformance.com/the-5-service-dimensions-all-customers-care-about/

Calabtese, A., & Scoglio, F. (2012). Reframing the past: a new approach in service quality assessment [Abstract]. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 23(11-12), 1329-1343. https://doi.org/10.1080/14783363.2012.733259

Chaffey, D., & Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2019). Digital marketing. Harlow, England New York Pearson.

Cook, S. (2008). Customer care excellence: How to create an effective customer focus. London: Kogan Page.

Crick, A. P., & Spencer, A. (2011). Hospitality quality: new directions and new challenges. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 23(4), 463-478. https://doi.org/10.1108/09596111111129986

Morgan, K. (2018). “An empirical study in the U.S. hotel industry: how quality assurance, customer satisfaction, brand signalling, and guest loyalty impact revenue.” Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2018. https://scholarworks.gsu.edu/bus_admin_diss/94

Morrison, A. M. (2010). Hospitality & travel marketing (4th ed., international ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.

Sayareh, J., Iranshahi, S., & Golfakhrabadi, N. (2016). Service quality evaluation and ranking of container terminal operators. The Asian Journal of Shipping and Logistics, 32(4), 203-212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajsl.2016.12.003

Sharma, R. (2019, January 18). 16 excellent customer satisfaction survey example. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-satisfaction-survey-examples

Yarimoglu, E. K. (2014). A review on dimensions of service quality models. Journal of Marketing Management, 2(2), 79-93