Service Quality and Satisfaction

It is also necessary to explain the difference between service quality and customer satisfaction (Gabbott and Hogg, 1997; Johnston and Clark, 2005; Zeithaml et al, 2006). ‘Satisfaction is the customer’s evaluation of a product or service in terms of whether that product or service has met the customer’s needs and expectations’ (Zeithaml et al, 2006, p. 110). Furthermore, according to Zeithaml et al (2006) and Johnston and Clark (2005), customer expectations are influenced by different factors such as price, customer’s mood, word-of-mouth, company marketing, past experience as well as personal needs.

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Nevertheless, service quality is an element of the customer satisfaction. When customers judge the quality of service they look at five different dimensions (Zeithaml et al, 2006). According to Kunst and Lemmink (1997), Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry classified ten dimensions in 1985 and, in 1988 they cut down to five: tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy (Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, 2008). In addition, service quality and customer satisfaction are not measured in the same way.

As the report noticed above, the customer satisfaction is the difference between what the customer expects and what the customer perceives. When this difference is compared, three levels of expectation are identified: exceptional quality or positive disconfirmation, satisfactory quality or simple confirmation and finally, unacceptable quality or negative disconfirmation. Exceptional quality means that expectations are exceeded; satisfactory quality signifies that expectations are confirmed and unacceptable quality means that expectations are not met (Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, 2008; Williams and Buswell, 2003).

Nevertheless, other methods can be used to measure customer service quality. These methods can be classified into two categories: qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative research methods are more difficult to measure; it is the collection of data that result to a personal opinion, whereas qualitative research methods are much simpler; that will contain numerical data (Hollins et al, 2006; Williams and Buswell, 2003). Here are some qualitative methods: focus group, complaint analysis, as well as customer advisory panel. The SERVQUAL gap analysis model is a quantitative method.

Some methods can be both quantitative and qualitative, such as customer or user survey, mystery shoppers as well as internet and e-mail survey. Mystery shoppers and internet and e-mail survey methods were used in the service quality workshop of the three tourist boards. However, measuring service quality can be difficult. As noticed above, qualitative methods are more difficult to measure than quantitative. This is not the only issue. Surveys are expensive, take times, have sometimes a limited coverage or may not be representative.

Moreover, customer’s needs change all the time; this is means that evaluation has to be done more often (Johnston and Clark, 2005). As Johnston and Clark (2005, p. 126) noticed, ‘a lot of customer satisfaction assessment is a waste of time and effort’. Service Mystery shopping: In order to co-relate the service industry with the manufacture industry, mystery shopping is used as a base to benchmark service quality. As service is manufactured in front of customers, McDonald’s fast food retail outlet is being used to alleviate service operations.

Introduction: McDonalds is the fastest growing fast food chain around the globe, and as the increasing competition and consumer preference for healthier food, selling hamburgers, French fries, chicken fries, sandwiches, cola’s etc. it was founded in 1940 by dick and mac McDonald. The brand logo ‘M’ shows a great significance showing the two golden arches. The brand have a great impact in the market even a small kid can identify the slogan ‘I m lovin’ it. The reason McDonalds was chosen as they are world largest fast food franchising company. It is far more ahead then its competitors like burger king and Wendy’s.

They have adapt a unique style of fast food industry. (http://www. mcdonalds. co. uk). 1. Service Encounter: It is more or less ‘moment of truth’ where the customer directly interacts with the staff. During this period of time the customer asses the service quality of the service provider. In context to McDonalds when the customer enters the outlet, they stand in a huge queue where sometime the front line staff is missing. The counter person employee uses two selling techniques. The ‘up selling’ i. e. the employee suggested a larger portion or an additional item, such as a drink.

The other is ‘suggestive selling’ where he suggest to a customer a nearest extra value meal as an alternative, which is little higher in cost but it give greater value. The counter person punches the order into the till, as the customer orders the items i. e. veg. burger, place a tray on counter, walk over to French fries and fill container. The customer are kept waited for few minutes as the food gets ready and packed, the tray is made ready and items are placed and money is taken, but when the customer opens the pack food item it was veg. sandwich.

Customer Service: Generally, it means identifying the customer wants and needs and providing them as best as possible. The waiting period after giving the order and receiving the food was 4 minutes. Aesthetic factors the customized service may attract customers or discourage them from frequenting or returning to the restaurant. When the credit card was not functioning the staff helped, and showed the actual procedure to insert the card. A hostess was cleaning the floor and table continuously.

It is a customized service where the customer participates in the service e. g. while taking the drinks. 3. Strategies used to alleviate the problems associated with service characteristics: keeping in mind the five characteristic of schmenner, the following strategies McDonalds should look upon are: The marketing strategy i. e. not only to attract the kids and youngster but also the families and old persons. They should start a new strategy by delivering food items at home (pizza hut). As, it is a kind of intangibility service. The uniforms of the staffs are casual, which suits their fast food standards.

The physical surrounding should be kept on mind, usage of eco friendly wrapping materials, the staff recruiting department should look upon the managing the employee when to promote them. As a part of intangibility service the staff should ask the customer frequently how is the meal experience. As it is a fast food outlet, there are chances of perishability of the food item. The purchasing and indenting would be such that none of the item is wasted as it carries value for money. A dissatisfied customer may also leads toward the perishability of the customer.

There are chances for the outlet where their product varies from day to day. Strategies should be made to hire professional staff who can give service everyday and the taste of food remains the same. The inseparability occurs during encounter of service where sometime the customer gets a negative response from the staff Complexity arises due to overcrowding of staff, the strategies should be made where the queuing of the customer is small, and time take to attend a guest is of short period but of high quality.

Indicators of service quality: describing the service indicators used in the outlet were the Menu was displayed along with the ingredients used so that the customer can know about the meal, there was a separate refrigerator where all the ready made salad and the condiments were kept, the proper hygienic standards were maintained where a hostess was continuously cleaning the floor, the music and ambience was suiting the youngsters desire, the staff communication with the customer was hospitable, where he assessed the customer needs, the uniforms of the staff was clean and standardized.

The service experience: the customer service experience is the only thing, where McDonalds varies its competitors. The customer expects a good product quality and speed of service at a reasonable price. The customer ordered Veg. Burger and a Coke, the front line staff handed the bag and the coke. The customer asked for a straw, the girl handed one and then snatched it back out of my hand and raised her voice “you already have one”, it was inside the bag and the customer didn’t see it.

As McDonald’s markets towards kids, so by introducing new marketing strategies they can attract the youngsters and the families. 6. Evidence of customer satisfaction: there was no customer feedback form given to fill up. So, whether the customer is satisfied or dissatisfied, the experience perceived by the customer was not known. It is important to retain the customer who frequently visits the outlet, rather then attracting new one. The feedback needs to be reviewed to identify areas where McDonalds needs some require improvement.

Only the current Christmas offer leaflet was given. Conclusion: Businesses generally focus and aims to satisfy their customers need, in order to generate profit. Customers needs depict a state where an individual has a perceived lack of something desirable or requisite. The nature of needs depends on person to person; it can be similar to a group or can be different. Ought to be recognized or felt, and they may be satisfied simultaneously by a single product. In context of this essay, relation of service and manufacturing is highly important.

After elaborating the characteristics a conclusion can be given on the service concepts, one can get what actually service means. The comprehensive review of competitive strategies, and skills in the hospitality sector. The service industry will play an increasingly important role in economies of developing countries. Increasing of hospitality industry, the service sector has grown internationally. A key point to note which is often overlooked is the extent to which customers judge a service on its tangible aspects.


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