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Customer Satisfaction Argumentative

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  1. Pub and Bar Staff
    • Definition, Classification, and Evolution of Pub

Though not an ambiguous term, the word pub connotes more than one definition. In fact, the term itself underwent a sort of evolution. The old definition of the word alone has been associated with several meanings, not to mention that it has also transcended towards more modern definitions. The etymology of the word pub came from public house, which was originally defined in 1574 as “any building open to the public (Harper, 2001).” The word “pub” is also short for public place (Spitzer, 2005). This old definition was then refined in 1669 as “an inn that provides food and is licensed to sell ale, wine, and spirits (Harper, 2001).” In 1768, the British slang “pub” was termed synonymous to “tavern” (also a British term), which is a building that is comprised of a bar and public rooms that usually serve light meals (University, 2005).

Currently, however, a pub is more commonly known or defined as “a place of business where alcoholic beverages are sold and drunk (Mifflin, 2000).” Aside from public house, pub is also considered synonymous to saloon, pothouse, gin mill, and taphouse (University, 2005).

As public houses have been popular in the United Kingdom since the 1500s, pubs today possess a rather historic connotation. This nuance also applies to the different types of historic pubs known in the modern age.

Ale houses are historic pubs which were originally enterprises of ale brewers themselves that they manage in their homes. This tradition was promoted by the Danes and the Saxons when they came to Britain after the Romans. The houses which manufacture the best ale supplied ale to their friends and to other neighboring houses. When a new batch is brewed, a garland of evergreens is displayed on a pole by the window, to signify that ale is being sold. Thus the tradition of ale houses began, and they used to be a spot for social gatherings, where peasants and tradesmen were the usual customers (Spitzer, 2005).

Although considered as a historic pub, inns, on the other hand, were more inclined to accommodations rather than food and drink. Being good brewers, it was monks who established inns and hostelries near grounds for worship, as they provided accommodations for wool and fur traders as well as pilgrims (British Embassy, 2005). It was for this reason that inns used to be closely associated with the Church.

As ale houses and inns housed peasants and traders, taverns were used to be frequented by the upper class. Taverns served food and drink, unlike ale houses which only served drinks, and inns which served meals and drinks and also provided accommodation. Taverns were a custom brought by the Romans, and were originally visited by the upper class in order to be seen, for it was a kind of status symbol then (Spitzer, 2005).

Like ale houses and inns, coaching inns also catered to travelers. Coaching inns were visited by travelers for it is a place where they can rest their horses (Spitzer, 2005). The Turnpike Acts of 1663 brought good paved roads and also encouraged the construction of large coaching inns along all the main routes throughout the country (British Embassy, 2005).

The Romans were among the first ones who introduced the pub tradition in Britain. Their first taverns thus displayed vine leaves to publicize sale of wine in the establishment (Louisiana, 2004). However, as vine leaves were unheard of in Britain, the first taverns used the bush as a substitute. Quite ironically, the notion was derived from the old proverb, “good wine needs no bush.”

            It is indeed known that the Romans were the first to introduce the idea of taverns, but it is not known exactly when this took place. What is only known is that since then, Britain has seen more than a thousand years of brewing tradition. There appears to be no exact clue as to when and which pub first opened for business. Most probably, it could have just been any of the ale houses which began selling their merchandise in their own homes.

 British pubs underwent quite outlandish events as well as some predicaments during the years of old. In 965, King Edgar decreed that there must be only one ale house per village, when he decided that there were already too many establishments in the country (Louisiana, 2004). Two centuries later, British pubs were enforced a beer tax, called the Saladin Tithe, which was even raised by King Henry II during that time. In the 13th century, country ale houses became popular because of another tax that was Scot-imposed on ale purchased in towns. Thus, drinkers went to outside towns to enjoy ‘Scot-free’ drinks (British Embassy, 2005).

During the Middle Ages, pilgrimages to religious grounds were quite popular thus monasteries became a sort of guest houses that provide lodging, just as wayside inns were constructed around religious sites to accommodate the pilgrims. It was not unusual even then for monks or brothers in the monasteries to indulge in drinking bouts with their visitors, thus these sorts of inns were included in the historic pub tradition.

The pub name The Red Lion became truly popular in the 17th century, when King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England. He decreed that the red lion of Scotland be displayed in all essential establishments, including taverns. The succeeding centuries exhibited the growth of Britain alongside the developments in the pub industry. During the 18th century, coaching inns were at their prime. The 19th century was the age of railways, when many pubs were constructed near railway stations, to accommodate more travelers. The pub industry also helped house construction during this century, for the business gave rise to funds that enabled developers to build rows of adjoining houses, thus leading to the “angle plot” or “T-junction” pubs that have survived until the present day (Channel, 2004).

  • Bar Staff and Training

1.2.1. Bar Staff

As an establishment, pubs, also popularly known as bars, need a staff. Bar staff are more commonly known as bartenders. Aside from pubs, bartenders are also hired in clubs, wine bars, cafés, and hotels (LearnDirect, 2007). Their job description mainly include serving drinks and other beverages (sometimes even food, but finger foods and snacks usually), mixing cocktails, collecting payments, and sometimes providing entertainment through flaring bottles. Like any other establishment, however, bars need to be maintained in terms of sanitation and stocks.

Thus, bartenders may also be required to do the basic stuff such as washing glasses and other bar equipment and/or utensil, emptying and cleaning ashtrays, managing storage of empty bottles, as well as clearing tables and the bar counter regularly (LearnDirect, 2007). These jobs must be accomplished daily; before, during, and after operation. Bartenders must also be capable of engaging in conversation with customers, and giving off an aura that is both welcoming and friendly, despite the long hours and the physical fatigue. Bar staff must also be prepared and adept in handling trouble and disputes with or among customers, if they cannot really be prevented, since alcohol usually triggers bold behavior.

The bar staff is usually comprised by a head bartender, bartenders, and barbacks. Other personnel include the cashier, cooks, waiters, dishwashers, and sometimes even security personnel. Some bars even have flare bartenders, who are trained in flaring bottles and mixing cocktails to entertain customers. The head bartender takes care of the bar needs before and after shift, as well as the management of stocks. The other bartenders assist him in entertaining customers, service, and mixing drinks during operation. Barbacks serve as backup, and they are the ones who usually gather supplies from the storage room during operation, when the bar stocks have almost run out. The bar staff, during operation, take and serve orders, deliver bills and collect payments, buss tables and the bar counter, and even mix cocktails and supply the customers’ other needs. After shift, they also clean up the premises and replace the stocks.

The working hours of bar staff can be long and are usually during the evenings onwards. Evenings, especially during weekends, are particularly demanding. Hence, bar staff are required to combat drowsiness, if not get used to the working hours, and be of keen stamina. Full-time employees usually work in shifts, although many bar employees work only part-time. During late 2005, more flexible working hours were introduced. Hence, establishments were provided the possibility of a 24/7 hour opening, thus adjusting the shifts or working hours of the staff (LearnDirect, 2007).

It is also an advantage, if not required, for bar people to possess several special skills (LearnDirect, 2007). As it is inevitable for bartenders to engage in small talk with customers to maintain the friendly and welcoming aura of the establishment, good communication skills are a plus. An outgoing and fun personality is also an advantage, being that a pub or bar is supposedly a place for leisure, fun, relaxation, and social interaction.

Also, like any establishment, bars usually require their staff to be smart and neat in appearance, for crews must look nice in order to promote a good image of the establishment, if not attract more customers. Bars, in the same way with other establishments with more or less the same merchandise and service, deal with difficult customers every once in a while. The bar staff must be tactful and diplomatic in dealing with such situations, to maintain order within the establishment and prevent trouble that might result to bigger problems such as damages and loss of regular customers.

The bar staff must also be physically fit, for the work includes long hours and sustained energy, as the job is also physically and even mentally, if not also emotionally, straining in some cases. A good memory is also an advantage, since bar staff takes and delivers orders (LearnDirect, 2007). This is especially applicable in situations wherein several customers have special requests. A good memory will help a bar crew deliver or comply to the requests immediately. Skills in numbers are also an advantage when it comes to collecting payments (LearnDirect, 2007).

Generally, as with any employee in any establishment, bar employees must be honest, cooperative and works well in a team, and flexible and capable of adapting to special circumstances.

1.2.2. Training

Employers usually train new entrants. There are relevant qualifications in this area, such as certificates in food and drink service (NVQ/SVQ in Food and Drink Service), hospitality (NVQ/SVQ in Hospitality), and Edexcel (BTEC) Certificate in Food and Beverage Service (LearnDirect, 2007). The NVQ/SVQ certificates have different levels, such as the NVQ/SVQ Level 3 in Hospitality Supervision that defines advanced skills in management and supervision (LearnDirect, 2007).

For training specifics in the field of bartending, the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) offers courses and gives awards in several areas of specialization in the field such as customer and drinks service, beer and cellar quality, responsible alcohol retailing, Professional Barperson’s Qualification, and conflict management (LearnDirect, 2007). Head bartenders, as they are also assigned supervisory responsibilities, may obtain a Personal Licence Holders qualification from the BII.

Alcohol Focus Scotland offers a rather quick training. It offers a ServeWise On-Licence course, a six-hour course split into two units namely, Licensing Law and Introduction to Alcohol, and Alcohol and People Skills (LearnDirect, 2007).

In England, apprenticeships are also split into levels, and are available to job seekers under 24 years of age. Apprenticeships are offered in level 2 and advanced apprenticeships, level 3. Apprenticeships also vary among different areas (LearnDirect, 2007).

Job opportunities for aspiring bartenders are available not only in pubs or bars, but also in clubs, hotels, restaurants, casinos, and other leisure-catering establishments. Theatre bars, holiday centres, sports clubs, airport terminals, as well as ships, trains and aircrafts may also hire bar staff (LearnDirect, 2007).

Promotions are also feasible for bar employees, especially those with excellent skills and hard workers. Bar crews who are truly experienced and well-trained can be promoted to become supervisors, deputy or assistant bar managers, and finally bar managers (LearnDirect, 2007).

Salary figures vary greatly among bar employees, depending on the establishment they are working for, as well as the location, type, and popularity of the pub or bar. Full-time employees usually receive a starting salary of about £9,000 annually. Bartenders with experience, on the other hand, can earn up to £16,000. Of course, the regular salary excludes tips (LearnDirect, 2007).

  1.       Customer Satisfaction

            When we talk about public places that offer service to the people, we always associate it with how well we have received service from them, whether they are approachable, friendly and such. We set standards that should be met in order for us to receive a value for our money. This is the underlying concern that we should always consider. Giving the people what they have paid for. Thus, we measure this value for the money with the satisfaction they receive, whether or not the like the service, or the merchandise that we offer.

2.1. The Definition of Customer Satisfaction

            Costumer Satisfaction is one of the most critical and most important aspects to consider when it comes to the concept of costumer service. It the level of service should be permanently maintained and should be kept high so that you can be assured that the costumers are pleased with what you give them. You should also meet their demands, not only by your standards, but by their needs. You should be able to give excellent service and assurance that they can rely on you whenever the need be.

            Considering the meaning of satisfaction, we could put it in line with the concept of gratification. Gratification is defined as the positive emotional response because of the fulfillment of a certain desire. In the context of pubs, we are considering the concept of the fulfillment of the desire with the immediate need to interact with people, to eat, drink or unwind. In our present time, most of us are living in a fast-paced lifestyle, wherein we always think of work all throughout. We don’t have time for ourselves when we are working, because we are looking towards earning or reaching a goal. But after a few days of tedious work, we always end up wanting to unwind and relax. We often think of rewarding ourselves, and this is where the pubs come in. It offers a place of comfort and relaxation, a recreation area for the tired working class.

2.2.    The Measurement of Customer Satisfaction

            There are also other factors how to achieve the satisfaction of the costumers or the pub-goers.  It will be dependent on the quality of the services they provide, the size of the venue, etc.  By then, various pubs and bars are classified and ranked based on some grading schemes and characteristics basis.  More likely, Human Resource Management makes way for the bar or a pub area to be competent.  And competitive success is on their hands.

The pubs do such activities that will, and practically had been successful, some events on the hotel itself to attract costumers.  Some of these are features wherein family gatherings, get-togethers, parties and many more can be held at the hotel’s lobby.  Other hotels do such promotions as discounts and other seasonal promos.  In this way, they can pull more costumers to the pubs, or sometimes the can get patrons or pub mainstays.  There are a lot of ways to do promotion that these pubs do to be competent within this continuous emergence of hotels that promotes global competition.

            Basically, measurement of Costumer relies on what these pubs and bars have to offer. The standards are set among them, depending on what they have to offer, like the food, the drinks, and the bar’s personnel. They will be measured depending on the reaction of the costumers, since they are the ones who are being examined here. It is their interests and welfare that is on the line that is why when you measure costumer satisfaction, you need to have costumer involvement. This may be through surveys that they get to fill up after coming to the place once or twice. It could be in the form of questionnaires that they have to fill in regarding on the improvements of the bar or pub, and more.

2.3.    The Importance of Customer Satisfaction

            Costumer satisfaction is an important goal no only for pubs but also for many business institutions. This promotes more costumer turnouts, increasing their recent consumptions of the goods or services that is being offered. This is necessary to promote costumer loyalty among the people availing of their services.

            Srinivasana considers some researchers’ viewpoints in her discussion of loyalty. She cited Assael’s definition (1992) of brand loyalty, “a favorable attitude toward a brand resulting in consistent purchase of the brand over time.” On the other hand, she mentioned the four categories of loyalty according to Brown (1952), (1) undivided loyalty, (2) divided loyalty, (3) unstable loyalty, and (4) no loyalty, based on the purchase patterns of consumers. Lastly, she cited that Engel & Blackwell (1982) defined brand loyalty as “the preferential, attitudinal and behavioral response toward one or more brands in a product category expressed over a period of time by a consumer.

            However, Brian Woolf, a global leader in loyalty marketing said that there is no universally accepted definition of loyalty only given theories. This is the great challenge the practitioners have to address, he added. According to him, a measurable and understandable definition of customer loyalty will promote harmony on the marketing industry.

            Based on a study conducted from 600 individual customers who belong to different customer levels, researchers found out that corporate image have an effect on customer loyalty while customer satisfactions have not. This finding challenges the common notion that customer satisfaction is the proof of customer loyalty   

2.4.    Leisure Satisfaction

2.4.1.       The Definition of Leisure Satisfaction

2.4.2.       Leisure Satisfaction Scale (LSS)

 

3.1 Customer Centrality

            The centrality of customers in any business holds to be the crucial foundation of the development of the business establishment not only in the immediate timeframe but in the expansion of the business venture in the long run. It is not only the fact that customers are the ultimate outlet of products from which the sales of the goods and services are to traced but also the fact that customers who avail of the products of any business establishment eventually shape its general public image which contributes all the more to the internal and external strength of the establishment. Thus, the core of the business mechanisms found in every industry or corporation is shared or must be shared upon by the perceived role of the customers.

            In all these aspects it is inevitable that customers, to a certain level, have to be taken cared of in the sense that the welfare of the customer prior to, upon, and even after purchasing either the services or products being offered should be viewed with a critical share of the attention of the entrepreneur.

Prior to the purchase of the products or services being offered, customer centrality can be clearly observed from the treatment given to the customer through an extensive presentation of the background information available, imparting the relative importance of the offered products and expounding on the way in which the goods being offered can address the needs and expectations of the customer. Upon purchase of the item, it is expected that customer centrality is taken to a higher level since the very purchase of the item or service entitles the customer to additional business privileges. The commencement of the transaction and up to the post-transaction gives way to a higher degree of liability on the part of the entrepreneur depending on the tenure of agreement.

            Among the firms themselves, internal operations reflect the significance of the customer. The delivery of the products and services to the customer is firmly rooted on the systems integration of the company as the main problem-solving capacity of the firm in addressing the possible demands and the imminent needs of the customers. Careful research and planning is maintained in order to meet an in-depth knowledge implicitly required in eventually fulfilling the satisfaction of customers (Davis 2003). Thus, the very internal mechanisms of the companies are not only seen to be designed in such a way that they guarantee the strength of the company in general but are also configured according to the perceived expectations of the customer hence the primacy of the centrality of customers.

 

3.1.1 Customer Expectations

It is of crucial importance to primarily consider the needs of the customer as well as their likes and dislikes in terms of services and goods to have a better grasp of customer first theory. In essence, having an in-depth knowledge of what it is that the customers are looking for and are capable of purchasing, along with their relative expectations on services, provides the necessary background for a comprehensive understanding of the core value of placing customers first above everything else. Since the very life of any company strongly depends on the marketability of the goods and services they offer, it is therefore necessary for these firms to put premium emphasis on what attracts customers and what pushes them off from purchasing items.

Based on the market survey conducted by Janye Mee in late 2001, customer expectations for a pub could be determined from the following six “moments of truth”: Arrival(e.g. the pub’s appearance and the greeting from bar staff), Order(e.g. Does the bar staff have enough product knowledge and information?), Delivery(e.g. Is the product served in clean glasses or plates at the appropriate temperature? ), Payment (e.g. Is the bar staff swift and efficient? ), Toilets and Facilities(e.g. Are they clean, tidy, and in good order? ), and Departure(e.g. Does the bar staff say thank-you and good-bye to customers? ).(Morning Advertiser 2001) For the most part, the first two “moments of truth” reflects the pub’s preliminary approach towards meeting the consequent responses of the customer. That is, these two are anticipatory remarks which cater the perceived initial and consequent responses of the customers prior to ordering items or services inasmuch as these two initial moments build an immediate image of the pub with regards to the customer’s expectations.

The delivery of the ordered and purchased items brings into context the primary reason as to why the customer purchased such items in the sense that the products are in essence what the customer seeks in the pub quite apart from other additional services rendered. Moreover, the manner in which the item is delivered reflects as well the quality of the pub’s service which elicits, in one way or another, certain responses from the customer. These responses may either be favourable or unfavourable on the part of the pub which, in any of these cases, highly defines the business establishment in general. On the other hand, the manner in which the pub collects payments from the customers also has a bearing on the overall satisfaction of the customers. The bar staff has to greatly consider the precise timing and right situation in collecting payments, otherwise the customer, though required to pay for the cost of the purchased items, will tend to reflect hesitance towards the collection of payment.

Inasmuch as timing is crucial, the swift and efficient handing of change for payments are of equal significance as well for the reason that it builds a certain short-term relationship between the customer and the staff of the establishment which creates a corresponding image to the pub as a whole. Lastly, both Toilets and Facilities and Departure address the factors which eventually seal the business transaction between the customer and the pub. While a good maintenance of the former helps in assuring that the immediate health concerns of the customers are taken into consideration, the latter does not only help in guaranteeing that the course of the customer’s stay in the pub is without undue circumstances but also assures to a certain degree that the departure of the customer is a sort of a sign for a possible return of the customer.

In particular, the importance of general cleanliness including both of product delivery and toilet maintenance was highlighted in other researches (CAMRA Press 2004; Harrison 2001; Jones and Howard 1998). It must be noted that the cleanliness of toilets highlights the crucial fact that an unpleasant toilet will most likely provide discomfort on the part of the customer and can be an appalling reason for the customer to either leave the pub in utter discomfort or to never return again for reasons that may have a direct effect on the health of the customer. In such a case, standards of sanitation of sanitary practices have to be looked upon by the bar staff in meeting the expectations of the customers.

Equally significant is the cleanliness of the product delivered. Unclean products served to customers will elicit negative responses and will greatly affect future clients from purchasing items from the pub. Further, the necessity of the professional product knowledge of the bar staff should nevertheless be stressed (Halstead 2002).  In order to have a staff armed with the sufficient knowledge on the alternative choices the customers may wish to look upon, the staff should have the needed background of information with regards to the products they offer in the pub. By acquiring such sufficient knowledge, the bar staff will not have a difficult time addressing the needs of the customers and the efficiency of the staff in providing what it is exactly that the customers are looking for in the pub.

Once this is established, it creates as well a friendly atmosphere between the customer and the bar staff in the sense that the fluid identification of the orders of the customer creates a pleasant picture between the staff and the customer. Thus, it is also important that a thorough knowledge of the bar staff with regards to the products the bar offers should nonetheless be treated as one factor in meeting customer’s expectations. Far more importantly, the friendliness of a pub as manifested in a very “welcoming” bar staff (CAMRA Press 2004; Leech 1995; The Publican 2003; Zeithaml et al. 1998) is of great use in creating a comfortable and warm drinking ambience for customers.

 

3.1.2 Customer Response

            The effect of customer response can be identified with the capability of the establishment to provide the necessary supply for the available demands from the customer (Gonçalves 2006). Given an increase in the demand from the customers for the supply of products affects the capability of the establishment to fill-in and meet the total quantity of orders through a consequent limit of the establishment’s capacity to supply products for the increase in demand. Thus, the establishment can merely meet orders which exact the amount of available supplies.

The possible consequence of this failure to catch-up with the increase in demand is the decrease in the number of customers because of the inability of the establishment to retain customers by supplying all of the demands. A possible effect of this is that customers will look toward the other establishments who still have the available supply of products. Consequently, with the lowering of the demand, the establishment can then be able to readily provide the supply of products to the customer according to the availability of products. With this in mind, costumers acquire a prompt delivery of their demands which eventually boosts the attractiveness of the establishment to these customers and to other possible customers which brings a renewed rise in the level of demand.

            Furthermore, even if the establishment holds the most renowned products in the world or in a given geographical area, it does not give further assurance with regards to the preference of the customers. Rather, by having a strong sense of response to the immediate and long-term needs of the customer—depending on what product is being offered by the establishment—customer satisfaction is almost guaranteed and that the longevity of the establishment in the marketplace is seen with higher chances of survival. If the bar staff makes the customers wait before their orders are taken, or if they place customers secondary or subordinate to the rest of the concerns of the bar the result will be that of an establishment having the best products yet lacking the customers to purchase them because of the lack of immediate response given to costumers. It may be the case that the pub offers the best drinks available in the market yet an unsatisfactory customer response pre-empts the customers from eventually taking their orders.

            Steve Dorris offers at least five steps as guidelines for the success of the establishment in terms of an efficient customer response bar staff. First of these steps is to “develop a customer response policy”. This initial step is equivalent to a blueprint or outline for the attainment of customer satisfaction. By starting with a mission statement and continuing with the outlining of objectives, procedures and goals and eventually building these aspects customer service experience will be primarily enhanced. Second, it is required to “develop a customer response centre” for it serves as the office or edifice for bringing into actuality the policies formulated in the first step. Further, it functions as the control centre for all the dealings involved within the customer service department. The relative size of this infrastructure may widely vary depending on several factors such as the size of the operations of the establishment and the number of workers and perceived customers.

Nevertheless, what is important is that the infrastructure should be essentially patterned according to the needs of the customers and the capability of the establishment in meeting these needs. Moreover, to “develop a customer response service team” is another step to consider. The very components of this team are the primary measure in determining the satisfaction of the customers such that the team is subdivided according to specialties and skills so that every possible customer query is properly met. The next step is to “build or buy a customer response application” which may range from a simple piece of spreadsheet or a relatively small document posted on a bulletin board to complex software which records a database of history of customer responses and client information with regards to the purchases and demands of products.

Last but not the least, developing a “customer response reward program” is also a crucial step in building an effective customer response. The core principle behind this step is to keep customers coming back to the establishment and prompt them to continue purchasing the product or other products being offered. The loyalty of the customers—or the so-called “regular” customers—can be maintained and even increased by providing discounts as well as incentives to these loyal consumers and through a pro-active approach to the needs of these people (Dorris 2003).

            Far more importantly, customer response management is essentially about the effective and efficient communication between the bar staff and the costumers so as to bridge the demand of the costumer from the capabilities and supplies of the establishment along with the services attached to it (Richard 2003). From the ability of the bar staff to address the increase in the demand of the costumers to the capacity of the customer response team to assure the possible return of the costumers in the future, customer response indeed holds not only a peripheral role in the survival and expansion of pubs but also a main position in the assurance of the customer’s loyalty to the establishment.

3.1.3 The Establishment and Development of Customer Relationship

            Customer relationship which exists between the customer and the business is a factor which maximizes interaction to costumers aimed at generating not only an increase in costumer loyalty but also positive impressions on the business establishment. It essentially entails an awareness of the needs of the costumers and the act of reacting to these needs effectively and efficiently inasmuch as it also helps anticipate and, therefore, understand better and more consistently the demands of the costumer.

The result will be a receptive staff capable of effectively responding to these needs (Sharp 2002). The enhancement of customer relationship can also be met through the collection, analysis and use of customer-related information in order to address customers individually at the very least, maximize the satisfaction of customers and, far more importantly, uphold the loyalty of the customers to the company. The very use of these related figures and facts is generally aimed at establishing a refined costumer process in terms of communications and at enabling focused analysis on significant costumers. In order to meet this task, customer-related data are gathered and grouped systematically allowing the company a more refined approach towards meeting costumer demands in specified working contexts (Peppers 2001).

            In essence, customer relationship is at the very core of each and every business establishment or company for the reason that, since the customers are the prime payer of the wages of the company, they fuel the primary resources into the business. Thus, the roles of the customers are to be treated with utmost significance.

3.2 Service Quality

Service quality, in brief, refers to the difference between ‘customer expectations as to what they want to obtain’ and ‘the real received service or products’ (Skinner 2005; Woodside and Daly 1989). This perception on service quality has been further propelled by a 1985 multi-sector study conducted by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (PZB) which gave attention to twelve customer focus group interviews in analyzing the service quality through the responses of the customers, thus leading to PZB’s definition of service quality as the degree and direction o discrepancy between customer’s service perceptions and expectations (Zeithaml 2004).

From a deeper angle, for service quality to be classified as such there ought to be first the conditions which will bring about the demarcations in service quality. Customer expectations have to be identified first prior to anything else. A premium consideration of the expectations of the customers helps in identifying the necessary steps or course of actions that the company will have to follow in order to address these expectations. Having a definitive knowledge on what it is that the customers desire to obtain in products and services greatly aids the company in creating a blueprint of business transactions they would want to pursue in connection to these expectations. As Zeithaml points out:

            …customers use more than just the service outcome or “core” in assessing service quality. Customer assessments are also influenced by the service process and the “peripherals” associated with the service…both outcome and process dimensions influence customer’s evaluation of service quality. In addition, focus group response patterns revealed 10 general evaluative criteria that customers might use, regardless of service sector. These criteria were consistent with previously outlined service constructs, yet constituted a more comprehensive set of dimensions. (Zeithaml 2004)

                What can be generally observed from these claims is that the close association between the expectations of the customers and the actual products they are able to receive in the end construes the quality of service that the company is able to create in the process.

3.2.1 Service Design and Delivery

 

3.2.1.1 Langeard and Eiglier’s Servuction System Model (1999)

The Servuction Model illustrates the participation of customers is always an integral part of service process no matter in a passive or active way. It used to demonstrate factors that influence service experience, including those that invisible or visible to customers. Invisible part refers to organization and system. Visible part contains three items: inanimate environment, contact personnel, and other customers.

  • Inanimate environment: All nonliving features display during service encounter.
  • Contact personnel: Employees other than primary providers who interact with consumers. Service provider: primary provider of core service.
  • Other customers: in the below chart, it refers to Customer B who is not directly benefited through the service but considered as a part of customer A’ experience.

(Bateson and Hoffman 1999)

3.2.1.2 Bitner’s Physical Evidence and the Servicescape (1992)

Bitner (1992) proposed that the physical surroundings within which the service takes place can also influence customer perceptions, so that it can lead to a source of competitive strengths or a possible opportunity to come out top in the trades for those service providers who can obviously differentiate their servicescape from other competitors with an effective management. According to her definition, servicescape is a ‘visual metaphor’ for intangible service, critical in shaping initial impressions through the outward appearance of the service organization.

(Bitner 1992)

3.2.2 The Measurement of Service Quality

3.2.2.1 The SERVQUAL Model (the Gap Analysis Model) (1998)

This model, first noting customer expectations of the service encounter are likely to be drawn from mixing their past experience, word of mouth and personal needs, identifies five gaps between what customer wants and what they think they really get.

Gap1 is created where service managers’ perceptions of consumer expectations do not match the service consumers actually expect to receive.

Gap2 happens when management perceptions of consumer expectations are not translated into adequate service quality specifications.

Gap3 is the difference between designed service specifications and actual delivered service.

Gap4 occurs where the delivered service varies from the service communicated to consumers.

Gap5 is a variance between what customers expect and what they actually get.

(Parasuraman et al. 1988)

 

3.2.2.2 Brady and Cronin’s three-dimensional Service Quality Model (2001)

  1. Service Environment quality: means the tangible or physical element of the organization.
  2. Interaction quality: includes the employees’ attitudes, behaviour, and expertise.
  3. Outcome quality: refers to the fulfilment of a customer’s expectations after having used the service. (Brady and Cronin 2001)

3.3 Service Management

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